A big thank you to NH State Senator Kevin Avard for having Friends Program Development Director Laura Scott as a guest on your cable show - Speaking with the Seantor - in late February.  We always love to share the good work our volunteers are invovled in across the state.

Kaitlin Cook and Frank Pickering arrived at our program in January of 2018. Kaitlin was past her due date and was expecting the couple’s first child at any time. They were coming from what most would consider a rough way of living. These adults had been living in a tent in homeless camps in Concord through all seasons for the last two and a half years. There, the couple faced loss of possessions from fire and theft. They dealt with brutal cold, food insecurity and incessant drug activity. The impending birth of their child hardened their resolve to improve their lives and make significant changes. This is the couple as they arrived to our program; determined and ready.

Nine days after their arrival they welcomed Fraynklin, their darling little boy (and spitting image of his father) into the world. Without taking a breather, just weeks after Fraynklin’s birth the family incorporated Kaitlin’s daughter from a prior relationship, Wyllow, into the family. What was going to start as visitation quickly became full time care, and the family never missed a beat, growing and learning together as an intact family unit. They had the support needed here and with other organizations like the Community Action Program, but it took their resolve to follow through and make the most of the help being offered.

Life at Friends Emergency Housing provided the family with a structured and stable “home-base” from which they could grow and problem-solve. They are a textbook example of how our shelter can be utilized; as a transition from one way of life to another more positive one. Staff here provided the opportunity and encouragement to develop life-skills at the same time they dealt with case management and obtaining sustainable housing. The family showed great promise and progress with organization, communication and the “can-do” spirit. The family dealt bravely with legal matters, family challenges, their own recovery and budgeting on a “shoe-string”. They developed into positive role-models for other residents, and complied with our program rules and expectations with a rare grace. Kaitlin, the ebullient one, was always on hand to share from her personal experience and support others with their struggles. Frank, and his characteristic calmness, helped willingly and ably with projects around the house. The family is excitedly anticipating a new start as an intact family, moving into their new apartment in March of 2018.

Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters
Make a difference in the life of a Merrimack County young person. Be a mentor. The first step is coming to one of our monthly orientations that will introduce you our program and outline what's involved. Step up and step in to help a needy child. Call 228-0108 today to get started.

Wednesday, May 30th
Tuesday, June 26th 1:00-3:30pm (Teens Only)
Wednesday, July 18th
Thursday, August 9th


Janet and Asli graduation2

The Friends Program, 202 North State Street, Concord, NH
4:30-7:00pm unless otherwise noted
Interested?  Have questions?  Want more information? Call 228-0108 to speak with a Youth Mentoring Coordinator.

Serve, Encourage, Inspire
Do you - or someone you know - enjoy helping children learn?
100 0646You or a fellow senior can make a big difference in the lives of N.H. youngsters. 
Foster Grandparents are retired folks, 55 and up, who take great pride and satisfaction in helping kids reach their potential.
As a volunteer, you'll serve in a school or childcare center close to home. Also, Friends Foster Grandparents choose the age level of the children they work with. Foster Grandparents work one-on-one or in small groups of kids to help them achieve. The children will be thankful for the support - and you'll feel good knowing that you're helping kids grow and reach their potential. 
Also, through a federal grant the Friends Program has secured, income-eligible seniors receive a tax-free stipend to offset expenses related to their service; this stipend does not affect Social Security or housing benefits. 
Why should you volunteer? One of our volunteers said it best:
"Being a Foster Grandparent has brought me nothing but joy, and a good feeling of being able to help some of these beautiful children, in our schools. They need our help and love."
Call 228-0141 to learn more about this wonderful opportunity. Get involved. Help children in your community.

7 BEST Bruce Dawson Shelley Huntoon Nancee Dawson Fran Howland Rodney Huntoon 8 12May is a month when we celebrate older Americans who spring into action to work for positive social change, help their fellow seniors, and take ownership of their own health and well-being.

Since 1963, communities across America have shown their gratitude to seniors' contributions by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. The theme of this year's celebration is "Get into the Act" to focus on how older adults are taking charge of their health, engaging with their communities, and making a positive impact on the lives of others. The theme also reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, which Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law in 1965. Since that time, the Act has provided funding and a nationwide aging services network to help older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible. These services include caregiver support, community-based assistance, and preventive health and wellness services. The creation of the Foster Grandparent Program and RSVP were part of this larger effort.
May is also Osteoporosis Awareness Month. 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass, putting them at risk for breaks and fractures. Bone Builders classes, offered free through Friends RSVP, feature low-impact exercises that yield high-impact results. These senior strength sessions improve bone and muscle strength, balance, circulation, and general health. Classes are held twice a week, year-round at local senior centers, senior housing buildings, and other locales. Friends RSVP-trained volunteers lead classes at 22 locations in Merrimack, Rockingham and Belknap counties. Over 2,000 classes are taught annually. To get involved, call the Friends Program at 228-1193.