Giving Matters

The work of non-profit organizations throughout New Hampshire is significant and ongoing. So each Saturday morning, at 8:35, we take two-minutes to examine the benefits generated by this work. We share the stories of people from all walks of life who have improved their lives with the help of these organizations.

This joint production of NHPR and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is hosted by Deborah Schacter, and produced by Andrew Parrella and Lois Shea.

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The Pittsfield Youth Workshop is about empowering kids through skill building, relationship building, and community building.  A variety of activities, field trips, homework help, and mentoring encourages kids to thrive.  Heather Cole, 17, loves spending time here.

Sharon Morrow

Phoenix House is the only residential substance abuse treatment center for adolescents in New Hampshire. Orion is sober and in recovery with help from Phoenix House.

Rich-Kern; NHPR

St. Joseph Community Services provides Meals on Wheels to residents in need in Hillsboro County. David Gilmour is a retired physician who has been delivering meals for more than a decade.

It started in third grade. Nora Rogers was having problems. “It’s not like she couldn’t read – it’s just she wasn’t progressing as fast as her peers.” Nora’s mom Erica said the reading circle was causing Nora anxiety. “When it gets around to her turn, she felt like she was holding things up because it was taking longer. And that was starting to hurt her confidence.”

Courtesy Squam Lake Natural Science Center

At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, visitors learn about New Hampshire’s environment up-close: observing otters, black bear and moose as the walk the center’s trails. Eric Kelsey and his daughter Sophie are regular visitors, and Sophie attended the center’s Blue Heron School, a nature-based early learning center.

Advice to the Players

Advice to the Players is a theatre company that brings high school students together with professional actors and community members to mount Shakespearean and other classical productions. Lee Stockman joined when he was in high school. Now a full time carpenter, he’s been with the company for a decade. We spoke with him during a break from rehearsals for “Romeo and Juliet.”

The Frost Place

In 1915, Robert Frost and moved his family to Franconia, New Hampshire, where he wrote many of his best-known works in the farmhouse overlooking Mt. Lafayette. That house is now the Frost Place, and is open as a non-profit museum and poetry center. Visitors can tour Frost’s home and walk nature trails, as well as attend conferences and seminars hosted by the Frost Place. Ruth Harlow, a retired elementary school teacher, used Frost’s poems with her students.

The North Country Health Consortium’s offers a Youth Leadership Through Adventure program, serving kids in Coos and Grafton County. The program helps middle and high schools to create a healthy culture, develop leadership skills and avoid alcohol and other drugs. Tony Bolash is a student at Gorham High School, where students named the group “Inspire.”

“When I got my hands on clay, I said, ‘this is what I want to do.’ ” And Andy Hampton has been throwing pottery since 1969. The term sounds far more cavalier than is the craft he practices. But after throwing the clay onto his potter’s wheel, he then molds and shapes the stuff into plates, bowls, vases and mugs among other items.

Alexis Brophy is a college student, and already working in real estate. But she struggled to finish high school because of health issues, due to an auto-immune disease. Her disease “made it very hard to get through the traditional high school day. I have extreme fatigue, joint-swelling and pain. Everyday I wake up different.”

The Community Alliance Family Services is a Newport-based non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals and families in maintaining their independence. The organization’s Juvenile Court Diversion Program gives young people the opportunity to learn from, and make reparations for, their mistakes. By attending the program a juvenile offender avoids having the crime added to his/her permanent record. 

Courtesy Miracles in Motion

Bethany had a tough start, at just four days old she was diagnosed with Group B streptococcal meningitis. “We weren’t sure she was going to make it,” said her mother, Michelle.  Not long after, Bethany was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. “Doctors weren’t sure what other difficulties she’d have, but they would be revealed as she grew.”

The SEE Science Center offers scientific explorations for all ages. Barnstead teacher Annie Bourque makes an annual trip with her 6th grade class to take advantage of the chemistry lab there. 

Bridges Domestic and Sexual Violence Support provides free services to victims of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, harassment and stalking. Emily called Bridges when she and her daughter Brianna needed help.  

“A few years back I found out that my children were being sexually assaulted by my husband at the time.” Emily was stunned, “as a mom you feel so guilty, how could I not know, I brought this man into their lives, I thought he was a good person and now I find out all this.”



Bear-Paw Regional Greenways is a land trust that protects important wildlife habitat in southern New Hampshire. Its work in Hooksett has helped to double the amount of conserved land in that town, including ponds, trails, and rare species habitat.

Courtesy Merri via Flickr/Creative Commons. (

Brenda Bouchard’s mother already had Alzheimer’s when her husband was also diagnosed with the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association has provided Brenda with a constant source of support and guidance.

Minnesota Historical Society

New Hampshire was the last state in the union to officially celebrate a holiday honoring Martin Luther King by name. It took 20 years of trying, but proponents of the King holiday finally won out. 

Courtesy DDA604 via Flickr/Creative Commons. (

The Ossipee Children’s Fund was not created by a municipality. It is an NGO, started by caring people in the community who saw a need. The grassroots organization helps to pay for child care, education, recreation and enrichment programs for children from low-income families in Ossipee and surrounding communities. 

Courtesy Jonathan Moreau via Vlickr (

Nicole Jordan was a stay at home mom, looking after her daughter when her husband was laid off. She turned to the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, “that was the first time I encountered them. And we got fuel assistance back then because we still had some savings.” It helped the Jordans bridge the gap while he looked for a new job. 

The Community Action Partnership of Strafford County is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that helps people with basic needs while promoting self-sufficiency. 

Opera North brings classical music theatre to school groups and local theaters. Its summer festival has a wide following, and its outreach program brings free live opera to school groups. Lindsey Anderson sang the role of the Julia Child in Bon Appetit! which the company brought to Upper Valley schools. 

When doctors in this country work with patients originally from other countries, it can feel like a bit of a telephone game. This feeling is compounded when there’s a translator in the room passing messages back and forth. 

NHPR, Sheryl Rich-Kern

The Players’ Ring Theatre maintains a black box theatre space, owned by the city of Portsmouth. Free of charge, it allows local production companies to use the space to produce their works. When Todd Hunter was a senior at UNH, one of his scripts landed in the hands of Players Ring founder Gary Newton.

Flikr Creative Commons / Mike Willis

“Adolescent years are always the most difficult and I was right in the middle of that.” Sarah Gingras was a freshman at Concord High School when she started slipping through the cracks. “I wasn’t doing any homework, started skipping classes a lot and my grades went down significantly.” At the end of freshman year, one of her teachers recommended Second Start to her. 

Bob Logan’s grandson, Devin, was born on Christmas Day, 2004. Devin’s parents weren’t living together, so he spent the following Father’s Day weekend with his father. In early the morning hours of Father’s Day, Devin woke up crying, his father’s efforts did not soothe the baby. So, as Bob puts it, “in an effort to get the baby to stop crying, he shook him.” Devin stopped crying. 

Joan Cross/NHPR

On Belay uses adventure-based recreation as a platform to build community for kids whose families have been affected by cancer. The Kontarinis are one such family. After Angelo passed away from kidney cancer in October, 2010, His wife Melissa and their three children (aged eight, five and three) faced the daunting task of “getting on” with their lives. 

istock photo

When Lorraine Sevigny moved to New Hampshire, she still had health insurance through COBRA from her previous job but had to stay in her HMO network. “I became ill about a month or two after I came up and I did end up going down to Massachusetts to see my doctor,” so that her insurance would cover the cost. 

WOW stands for Winnipesaukee Opechee Winnisquam, but the rail trail that winds across Laconia might just as well be named for the exclamation of its patrons as they marvel over the views on offer. Plans in the works will have the trail’s running nine miles, connecting Meredith with Franklin.

Though unfinished, Laconia police chief Chris Adams sees the trail as a positive addition to the city. “One of the things I love doing when I’m driving around is looking down the trail head to see families and couples and children riding bikes or walking.”


Courtesy Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center

The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center offers year-round programs for all ages. Its “Wildquest” camps help connect kids with nature and their local landscapes. 

Prescott Farm has always been a landmark for Gretchen O’Neill. “We’re very grateful that our daughter, Gabriella, can come here to attend the camp, or that we can come up and explore it and walk the trails.

Chris Jensen, NHPR

The Hand-in-Hand program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities connects youth volunteers in the North Country with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners who need help with home maintenance. The youth volunteers spend a week in the summer pruning, painting, swinging hammers. 

Judy O’Leary, along with her husband Bob, coordinates a team of youth volunteers. She describes it as a a win-win situation. “It keeps our youth busy, and it helps our elderly who are really in need of help as they get older.”


Mary Jill LaRocca is an elementary school health teacher in Manchester. She helps students navigate the barrage of unhealthy messages that kids are exposed to. She turns to Media Power Youth’s Media Smart curriculum to help her students think critically about messages that promote violence, alcohol use, junk food and more, so they can be wise media consumers.