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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Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Great North Woods Committee for the Arts enriches north country life by bringing authentic music and culture to local venues. Quebec native, Alice Carlson, grew up listening to traditional folklore music. “My husband and I have been traveling these past ten years, and we are always curious about the folklore [of the northeast].” Carlson was thrilled to hear of concerts in Berlin. “We started going and got hooked. Then we found out that it was starting in Colebrook , and when we went the...

Therapy Dog, "Angel," Lives Up To Her Name

Dec 21, 2013
Courtesy Sarah Kirsch

Sarah Kirsch rescued her dog, Angel, from the Concord-Merrimack County SPCA , and enrolled Angel in a program to become a therapy dog through that organization. Now certified, Angel makes regular visits to nursing homes. The presence of a therapy dog can have a significant impact on the residents. Kirsch and Angel were directed to one resident, Pearl. Though she seemed to be unresponsive, her roommate informed Kirsch that she liked dogs. “So, I brought Angel over to her,” Kirsch said. “All of...

Courtesy of The Webster House

The Webster House is a children's home in Manchester that has been in operation since 1884, caring for youth who are unable to live at home. Gabrielle Dante came to The Webster House when she was in her mid-teens. She had been experiencing problems at home and at school, and was struggling to overcome an eating disorder. "It was just so much easier to push everyone away, and I did not give that up for a very long time," Dante says. She attributes her eventual turnaround to the Webster House...

Courtesy of The Raymond Coalition

The Raymond Coalition for Youth is committed to helping kids make healthy choices and form positive habits. Through its "Youth Action" program, the Coalition empowers teenagers, like Kirsten Roman, to involve themselves in community outreach. "I was really interested in helping out the community more, and to help my peers make good choices," says Roman. "We focus on positive choice: not doing drugs or alcohol; eating healthy and exercising." The Raymond Police Department and RCY brought...

epSos.de / Flickr/Creative Commons

Serenity Place is a substance abuse recovery center in Manchester, offering detox programs and education to those struggling to overcome addiction. For Stephanie, Serenity Place provided a solid foundation for her recovery from drug and alcohol problems. "My life was in shambles. I had lost my job, my daughter, my family. I was homeless," she says. Stephanie had participated in other detox and rehabilitation programs, but was ultimately unsuccessful, because, she says, she was only doing it...

Aldo Tapia / Flickr

MoCo Arts wants to change people's lives through creative expression and exposure to the arts. One of its students, Peter Fedrizzi, started dancing when he was 13, after a friend suggested he might have a natural ability for it. "We were lying around one afternoon and I was stretching my feet, and she looked at them and said, 'Peter, people will kill for your feet in dance. You should try ballet.'"

Now, Fedrizzi takes seven to eight classes at MoCo every week—a commitment of as...

Creative Common/Flickr audiolucistore

Professionals who dream of changing careers and becoming teachers have been doing so with the help of the Upper Valley Educators Institute since 1969. Jennifer Thompson had been interested in becoming a teacher for more than a decade. During her undergraduate studies, she worked with other students as a teaching assistant. "I was thinking it would be a good profession for me, but it would've taken a long time to earn my teaching certification," she says. So she instead become an editor, and...

Harbor Homes Supports Homeless Vets

Nov 9, 2013
Courtesy of Harbor Homes

When Matt Milbourn, a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, found himself unexpectedly made homeless, Harbor Homes was there for him. In addition to operating a homeless shelter, Harbor Homes also manages a reintegration program, offering services, healthcare, and education to homeless veterans and their families. Matt earned his CphT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) through the program, and now teaches computer education and life skills classes at Harbor Homes. "The people at Harbor Homes...

NHPR, Cheryl Senter

The Tuttle Farm in Dover is the oldest family farm in the United States. When Bill Tuttle and his family, the 11th generation to farm this land, decided to conserve it, they turned to the Strafford Rivers Conservancy. Tuttle: The farm at some point became a viable enterprise that grew products for sale and this was sometime in the early 1800's. My sister, Lucy, and I are the two principles in the business, and we're both thinking about retirement. And it doesn't appear that any of our...

NHPR

Big Brothers/Big Sisters Alliance of New Hampshire matches kids with caring mentors. Lexi was matched with her "big sister" Sarah Danforth, and the two regularly spend time together. Lexi’s three sisters each have "big sisters," too. Sometimes, all eight of them get together--for a swim, for a cookout, for a game night. Danforth joined the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program because she wanted to enable her match to see and do things she may not have an opportunity to otherwise. "I have two...

Milestone Management / Flickr

The Granite United Way s 2-1-1 New Hampshire service is a directory assistance of services available in the state. It puts those in need in touch with the services that can help. Cassie called 2-1-1 for help with disability rights when she ran into trouble with her housing arrangement. Her landlord had issued an eviction notice after she acquired a dog, because her lease forbids pets from the building. But Cassies dog isnt a pet; shes a psychiatric service dog that provided therapeutic...

Some years ago, Maria Dichtelmiller found herself unable to buy food and living in a shelter. She went to The Community Kitchen in Keene, a local food pantry. While standing in line at the pantry, Maria noticed a chayote (a type of squash) had been sorted in with boxes of fruits. After pointing this out and explaining what a chayote was to the staff, they hired her as a volunteer. She now works at the Kitchens grain station and educates others on the value of food they might be unfamiliar...

Sheryl Rich-Kern / NHPR

Symphony NH, the granite states oldest professional orchestra, invited 16-year-old harpist Crystal Napoli to solo at two of their performances; an opportunity that is the stuff of dreams for young classical musicians. The symphonys music director, Jonathan McPhee, extended the invitation to Crystal after seeing her performance as the 2011 winner of the concerto competition at the Manchester Community Music School.

I was immediately taken by Crystals confidence and her...

hepingting / Flickr

Lakes Region Community Services helps children with autism and their families through their early intervention program and autism center. Christian Lapierre was 15 months old when his mom, Denise, realized something was wrong and called Lakes Region Community Services. Denise: He was in his crib for a nap, standing up, holding the rail, and he would shake his head from left to right as fast as possible. He wasnt in distress, but he wasnt looking at me, he was looking past me. I remember...

Scala

3S Artspace is a Portsmouth nonprofit working on renovating a large building into studio space for artists, a farm-to-table restaurant, performance space and a gallery. For Catherine Scala, finding studio space here gave her the boost to continue her career as an artist. Scalas been painting and drawing for over 20 years, which hasnt been easy while she simultaneously juggles a family, and wrestles with trying to cobble together lots of different jobs. This was compounded by the fact that her...

AMC Trains The Future Workforce

Sep 21, 2013
NHPR/MacNameeKing

The Appalachian Mountain Club works with Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), providing summer work opportunities to North Country students. Students learn about trail stewardship and conservation, and gain practical job skills. Cory Arsenault and Samantha Roux were part of a crew doing trail work. Roux says the trail work is intensive and demanding, “building rock staircases, bridges. We clean the trail off for people.” Maintaining clean and useable trails is as much about keeping hikers safe...

NH Boat Museum

The New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro is a showplace for antique boats and New Hampshire’s boating history. The museum also runs summer boat-building workshops for kids. The two week program offers area youth the chance to build a canoe, a kayak or a skiff. David Ives is a volunteer at the Boat Museum and has been organizing the program for six years. He and a small team of volunteers create the boat kits. "We cut out all the parts and assemble the ribs and transom. By making the kits,...

Empowering Girls With Power Tools

Sep 7, 2013
Cheryl Senter

Girls at Work empowers girls by putting power tools in their hands, and teaching them how to use those tools. The girls build tables, sheds and bookshelves, but learn bigger lessons along the way. Hollie Brenton, 18, has worked with the program for ten years and says it has changed her life. Power tools can be intimidating, especially to eight year olds. Brenton remembers herself at that age, "Before Girls at Work, I didn't have nearly as much confidence. I didn't know what I could do." But...

Home destroyed by Hurricane Irene.
Jim Greenhill / Flickr

When Hurricane Irene struck the Upper Valley in 2011, The Upper Valley Haven , an emergency shelter in White River Junction, was there to help those who had lost their homes. Al Carbonneau and his family were among those displaced. "The flood waters were ankle deep in my driveway. My wife decided to pack up the animals and head out." Carbonneau had been volunteering at The Haven before the hurricane, and never expected to be in a position where he would need to use its services. When they...

Kids Culinary Arts Equips Children With Life-Skill

Aug 24, 2013
Cheryl Senter

Kids Culinary Art s teaches kids cooking and nutrition during after school programs, vacations and summer camps. The organization works in school districts and towns to get kids cooking and eating healthy foods. Matthew and Nicole Heiter, 11 and nine years old, have become experienced hands in the kitchen. Their mother, Lauren credits Kids Culinary Arts. "I am so thankful that [Kids Culinary Arts] has been here and has really been championing the whole cause of not only learning how to cook,...

The Fight For Frisky Hill

Aug 17, 2013
Gilmanton Land Trust

On her commute from Laconia to Pittsfield six days a week, Tobi Gray Chassie often stops at scenic spot in Gilmanton called Frisky Hill. When Chassie saw a sign telling of plans to develop the land, she felt that it was her duty to support the Gilmanton Land Trust in their protection of the land which meant so much to her. In her letter to the Gilmanton Land Trust, Chassie said that people often ask her how she tolerated the commute across Route 107 between Laconia and Pittsfield. "The answer...

Acting Gets Upstaged At Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Aug 10, 2013
Cheryl Senter

When Kat Morris's eldest daughter asked to try out for a play at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse , she could not have guessed the effect community theater would have on her entire family. Morris' 12-year-old son, Shilo, has a congenital brain anomaly which "presents itself as a high-functioning Asperger's and autism," Morris said. The anomaly has impacted her son's social skills, causing him to have a social anxiety disorder and selective mutism. However, Morris said that her family's...

Children Learn To Be Good Stewards Of The Great Bay

Aug 3, 2013
Cheryl Senter

The Great Bay Stewards work to preserve and protect the Great Bay estuary through education, land protection and research. Sharon Musselman, one of the educators, is recently a retired teacher who often brought her own classes here to explore this ecosystem. "I'm excited to be here at Great Bay Discover center," Musselman said. "I brought my first grade class to Great Bay for 15 years because it is such a great experience for first graders." The children not only get to learn more about the...

Food Pantry Provides What Food Stamps Can't

Jul 27, 2013
Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The Seacoast Family Food Pantry began as the Ladies Humane Society in 1816 to assist families of fishermen. Now, it is still serving those in the community who need help. The pantry aids many families with children—and many elders. Jane is a widow living on a fixed income. “There are a lot of things you can’t buy with food stamps, but down at the pantry, they cover just about everything that you would need in your household,” Jane said. According to Jane, many seniors are finding that social...

Journey Song Shares Gift Of Music With Hospice Patients

Jul 20, 2013
Journey Song

Journey Song , a group of singers based in the New Hampshire Seacoast, brings the solace of music to hospice patients and their families. Ed Brown remembers how the group sang for his wife, Judith Whipple Brown. “When they came in the room, my wife had a great big smile. You could see the glow. They asked if she had a favorite song, and she said it was ‘Amazing Grace.’ They came four times all together, and they always sang that song,” Brown said. “They would also sing her ‘Songs of Angels,’...

Cornucopia Project Filling Kids' Cups

Jul 13, 2013
Ellingwood

The Cornucopia Project teaches kids to grow food -- and to make a lifetime of healthy eating choices. Susan Ellingwood and her third-graders in Dublin are old hands in their school garden -- which was established with help from the Cornucopia Project. It's a busy classroom in the Dublin Consolidated School in the spring. Mrs. Ellingwood is wrapping up a spelling lesson when a much anticipated visitor enters the room. The dozen or so third-graders are eager to greet her, but Ellingwood holds...

Portsmouth African Burying Ground Commemorates Past

Jul 6, 2013
African Burying Ground NH

During the 1700's, many Portsmouth residents were of African descent– some slave, some free— and were buried in a segregated cemetery. That cemetery was built over, its boundaries obscured. A public works crew rediscovered the site and now the restoration of its dignity has begun. Kelvin Edwards is working on the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial . “I think people will feel an overall sense of community and get a nice historical perspective [from the memorial],” Edwards said. “They...

North Country Natives Celebrate Culture Through Music

Jun 29, 2013
Chris Jensen/NHPR

The Great North Woods Committee for the Arts enriches north country life by bringing authentic music and culture to local venues. Quebec native, Alice Carlson, grew up listening to traditional folklore music. “My husband and I have been traveling these past ten years, and we are always curious about the folklore [of the northeast].” Carlson was thrilled to hear of concerts in Berlin. “We started going and got hooked. Then we found out that it was starting in Colebrook , and when we went the...

Therapy Dog, "Angel," Lives Up To Her Name

Jun 22, 2013
Courtesy Sarah Kirsch

Sarah Kirsch rescued her dog, Angel, from the Concord-Merrimack County SPCA , and enrolled Angel in a program to become a therapy dog through that organization. Now certified, Angel makes regular visits to nursing homes. The presence of a therapy dog can have a significant impact on the residents. Kirsch and Angel were directed to one resident, Pearl. Though she seemed to be unresponsive, her roommate informed Kirsch that she really did like dogs. “So, I brought Angel over to her,” Kirsch...

For Struggling Youth, The Webster House A Second Home

Jun 15, 2013
Courtesy of The Webster House

The Webster House is a children's home in Manchester that has been in operation since 1884, caring for youth who are unable to live at home.

Gabrielle Dante came to The Webster House when she was in her mid-teens. She had been experiencing problems at home and at school, and was struggling to overcome an eating disorder. "It was just so much easier to push everyone away, and I did not give that up for a very long time," Dante says. She attributes her eventual turnaround to the...

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