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Nonprofits to Benefit From AmeriCorps



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2018

Lebanon — Some nonprofits with Upper Valley ties — including Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Wise — are benefiting from $4.08 million coming into New Hampshire to support AmeriCorps members this year, according to a news release issued on Thursday.

This funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which will support 298 AmeriCorps members, is up from $2.9 million the state received in AmeriCorps funding last year, according to the release, which was issued by Democratic U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.

“With the expanded funding this year, we look to offer more programming, with members serving to assist individuals and families impacted by the opioid crisis and youth in foster care,” Executive Director of Volunteer NH Gretchen Berger said in the release. Volunteer NH is a Concord-based organization that promotes volunteerism and administers the AmeriCorps grants in the Granite State.

Of the $4 million, D-H’s Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital will receive about $316,000 to help support AmeriCorps members, according to a funding breakdown provided by Ricki Eshman, a member of Hassan’s staff.

This Community Resource Corps helps to support people struggling with addiction and other mental health issues. They work with patients to identify barriers in their daily life and help them find services to address challenges such as homelessness, hunger, transportation, child care and financial needs, according to an online job description.

They also support care coordination between nurses, doctors and social workers in a variety of settings, including primary care clinics, behavioral health centers and other social service organizations.

D-H has provided training and support to eight AmeriCorps members, who now are working to help people throughout the state, D-H Vice President of Population Health Sally Kraft said in a phone interview on Thursday.

In the Upper Valley, two AmeriCorps members are working at TLC Family Resource Center in Claremont — one in the Center for Recovery and the other with parent educators — another is working at Headrest in Lebanon and one is working with West Central Behavioral Health in Lebanon.

Though the program is new this year, Kraft said, it aims to help provide people with the support they need when they are no longer receiving inpatient treatment but still need help.

“It’s an exciting program,” she said. “I think it’s really filling a hole in the system.”

The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, of which the Lebanon-based nonprofit Wise is a member, is set to receive $472,000 of the funding to support members of the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program.

Wise has one AmeriCorps member through this program, Executive Director Peggy O’Neil said in a phone interview on Thursday. The employee adds to Wise’s staff, helping the organization to support victims, she said. In addition, the AmeriCorps members have opportunities to learn and network with each other.

“It’s a really wonderful program,” she said.

The Student Conservation Association, which has an office in Charlestown, is set to receive $553,000 to help support about 30 members in its New Hampshire Corps.

Those members maintain New Hampshire state parks, including trails and campgrounds, according to an email from Kevin Hamilton, the organization’s vice president for communications.

The members also provide interpretive and environmental education services to park visitors and environmental education to fourth-graders in greater Manchester public schools, he said.

“The corps members — young adults from all over the country who devote up to 10 months of their lives to advancing one of New Hampshire’s key economic engines and fostering stewardship in the next generation of state citizens — provide extraordinary value to New Hampshire and all those who enjoy its parks, waters, and other recreational resources,” Hamilton said. “AmeriCorps also provides SCA members with generous education awards that members may apply to past school loans or future tuition. This is the very definition of win-win.”

Other organizations set to benefit from the funds include:

City Year New Hampshire, which will receive $901,000 for its members who provide one-on-one support in eight elementary schools in the city of Manchester.

The Campus Compact for New Hampshire, which will receive $377,000 for its members who work to increase civic responsibility in higher education.

The Holderness-based Squam Lakes Association, which will get $358,000 to support members who remove invasive species, maintain trail networks, lead volunteer crews, educate the public and write reports on conservation initiatives.

The Nashua-based Harbor Homes — which offers affordable housing, employment assistance, behavioral and primary health care and supportive services to people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or living with disabilities — will get nearly $417,000.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com.