Health

Blood Drive, Jan. 19, at AVH

BERLIN — Androscoggin Valley Hospital is sponsoring an American Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the AVH Mt. Success Meeting Room. To make an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call James Patry, public relations and marketing director, at (603) 326-5606.
The American Red Cross encourages eligible blood donors to donate blood this winter to ensure a sufficient supply for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.
Donated blood is perishable and must constantly be replenished to keep up with hospital patients needs. Red blood cells are the blood component most frequently transfused by hospitals and must be used within 42 days of donation.
Eligible donors can give red blood cells through either a regular whole blood donation or a double red cell donation, where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor. Double red cell donors must meet additional eligibility criteria, which will be determined at the donation appointment.
Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O, A negative and B negative. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, up to six times a year, and double red cells may be donated every 112 days, up to three times per year.
To make an appointment to give blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Needs Reading: Local group of volunteers are planning trip to Rwanda

By Kirstan Knowlton

BERLIN — A group of local volunteers are dedicating time and resources to help support people and families in Rwanda, a small country in southern Africa. Efforts are underway to raise funds for the trip, which is scheduled for the end of the month.

Sue McGinnes, a neuroscientist with the Neurological Development Institute of New Hampshire, which has offices in Berlin, and a church member of the Harvest Christian Fellowship, coordinated the trip to Rwanda with Sarah Barnes Papamichel, the company’s business development specialist.

The institute plays an important role with in the community and will be opening a new mental health facility in the Dream Center, which offers health care to local residents.

During their time in Rwanda, volunteers will be conducting Hope Visits, which consist of bringing necessity items to the family, spending time with them and praying.

Group members from Berlin traveling to Rwanda to take part in the experience include Pastors Robert and Wendy Haynes of the Harvest Christian Fellowship, Peter and Sue McGinnes with The Neurodevelopmental Institute of NH, Julie Vitko and her grandson Jamison Vitko who at the age of 12 is the youngest member going.

Five other group members will be traveling with them from southern New Hampshire and Maine.

Volunteers from the group began raising money for this trip over the summer and found creative solutions to get others involved like hosting paint nights and offering a photo shoot.

The money raised will cover all the expenses for their flight and housing, and the rest will go towards helping as many families as possible. The group hopes to provide financial support for meals, medical and educational expenses.

To feed an average size family in Rwanda is roughly $50 a month. To sponsor a child to be in school is $39 a month, and monthly insurance for a child is $5.

Each person travelling to Rwanda will also have an extra suitcase with them full of donated items such as hygiene products and diapers.

The group is still looking to raise money for the trip and still needs close to $2,300. They will be selling starter bricks through Friday, Jan. 20. Bricks are on sale for $2 each or four for $5.

A GoFundMe page has also been created as a way for people to make donations. The fundraising page can be found by searching Rwanda Missions Trip in the Berlin, NH area.

Harvest Christian Fellowship is located at 219 Willow Street in Berlin. For more information about the trip or to make a donation call (603) 752-5374. You can also visit their website www.berlinharvest.org and find them on Facebook.

Rwanda 2Volunteers visited Rwanda in August of 2015. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Rwanda 1Children of Rwanda. (COURTESY PHOTO)

NH Charitable Foundation invests In the future of Coos County

Northern Human Services announced that the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation has renewed its significant commitment to investing in early childhood in Coos County, by awarding $210,000 to the NHS Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Program for CY 2017.

Charlie Cotton, licensed clinical social worker and area director for Northern Human Services-Berlin/Gorham noted that “Research has established that a child’s future, and actual brain structure/chemistry is built in the first few years of life. We know how to support caregivers and the community to change lives. The foundation of our future in Coos County is being built now, one child at a time, thanks to the NHCF.”

The Tillotson Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation has worked with NHS for the past 11 years and supplied funding since 2009 to provide Coos County with mental health supports and services for young children and their families, who have suffered trauma, social emotional difficulties, behavioral challenges and difficulty being successful in preschool and community settings. This support has strengthened families and helped build community capacity, as a part of a sustained, countywide, multi-agency initiative.

In 2009, Northern Human Services served fewer than 10 children under the age of six in Coos County. Northern now serves well over one hundred forty young children and their families annually. Kassie Eafrati, director Early Childhood Mental Health Services noted that “Most children entering the program show improved developmental outcomes over the course of their involvement with NHS supports and services.”

Key aspects of the program include promoting parent-child attachment, use of research-based interventions/screenings, promoting positive family and caregiver mental health/ interactions, and collaboration with child care agencies and local preschools through the Tillotson-funded (NHCF) Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families (CCYCF). NHCF support has facilitated intensive treatment and community supports throughout Coos County, with local teams based in Berlin/Gorham, Colebrook/Groveton and Lancaster/Whitefield. Most importantly it has built community capacity and partnerships with parents and other community providers.

The NHS Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health program is focused on developing needs in Coos County. Current initiatives include the integration of mental health and developmental services for young children and families, imbedding substance abuse services in the early childhood program, and strengthening local consultations in support of children, child care programs, and preschools. Northern Human Services is committed to working collaboratively to help Coos County to be the best place in New Hampshire to raise a child.

Northern Human Services has provided quality mental health, substance abuse treatment/prevention, and developmental services to the residents of Northern New Hampshire for almost a half century, serving 4,000 individuals annually in 45 percent of the State of N.H. The mission of Northern Human Servcies is to assist and advocate for people affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities and related disorders in living meaningful lives (see www.northernhs.org).

They have learned, and research has proven, that the most effective treatment is prevention. Coos County struggles with high rates of poverty, substance abuse, child maltreatment, school failure, etc. Fortunately, they also know that the people of the North Country are committed and capable of doing whatever is needed to build a brighter future. The NHS, IMH program was developed based on research showing that positive early experiences and relationships shape the architecture of the developing brain, providing a sturdy foundation for all the learning and development to follow. A child’s brain develops rapidly during infancy and the early preschool years. Most thinking, reasoning and language skills are hardwired into our brains by the time they are three to five years old. The ability of the families and communities to build a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for young children is critical for a child’s future. Fortunately, treatment for mental illness is effective throughout their life times. It is estimated that 70 percent of individuals who engage in treatment report reduced symptoms. Despite this, prevention is still the most effective treatment and research has proven that infancy is the best time to intervene.

The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation has provided continued, strong support of early childhood issues, Coos County generally, and in particular the Northern Human Servcies Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Program, and its collaborative work with the Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families. Learn more at www.investincooskids.com.

NHCF Award Charlie Cotton (right), licensed clinical social worker and area director for Northern Human Services – Berlin Region with Kassie Eafrati, MA, director of NHS, Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health program, holding $210,000 check from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Blood Drive being held at AVH on Jan. 19

BERLIN — Androscoggin Valley Hospital is sponsoring an American Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the AVH Mt. Success Meeting Room. To make an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call James Patry, public relations and marketing director, at (603) 326-5606.
The American Red Cross encourages eligible blood donors to donate blood this winter to ensure a sufficient supply for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.
Donated blood is perishable and must constantly be replenished to keep up with hospital patients needs. Red blood cells are the blood component most frequently transfused by hospitals and must be used within 42 days of donation.
Eligible donors can give red blood cells through either a regular whole blood donation or a double red cell donation, where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor. Double red cell donors must meet additional eligibility criteria, which will be determined at the donation appointment.
Donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O, A negative and B negative. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, up to six times a year, and double red cells may be donated every 112 days, up to three times per year.
To make an appointment to give blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Medicare Counseling available on Jan. 11

BERLIN — A ServiceLink representative will be in Androscoggin Valley Hospital’s Mount Adams Room to offer free and confidential Medicare counseling to beneficiaries on Wednesday, Jan. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Common questions about Medicare include how early retirement might impact eligibility for Medicare benefits, enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan and spousal coverage for insurance.
Walk-ins are welcome and no appointment is required. Medicare counseling is held on the second Wednesday of every month. For more information call Gisele McKenzie, Androscoggin Valley Hospital customer service manager at (603) 326-5660 or Paul Robitaille of ServiceLink at (603) 752-6407.