Northern New Hampshire Corrections Facility contributes valuable creations to a great cause

BERLIN — Recreation Supervisor Keith Griffin and residents in the Hobby Craft Department of the Northern New Hampshire Corrections Facility came to the rescue for a local non-profit organization, Northern Human Services, by making several sets of puzzles and blocks for Family Centered Early Supports and Services free of charge.

Family Centered Early Supports and Services is a non-profit organization that tries to balance families' needs with the limited funds that are available to the organization. The Early Intervention Program provides developmental therapeutic services to infants and toddlers from birth to age 3 who have an established medical/genetic condition, developmental delay and/or who are at-risk of developing a substantial developmental delay.

Services are typically provided in the home by trained staff and therapists. Therapeutic tools are in great demand as the staff head out to the homes to work with the families in helping the young children reach their developmental milestones. For example, a set of specific puzzles and blocks that are used by many of the staff costs as much as $45 each. 

Family Centered Early Supports and Services had just a few of the puzzle sets on hand, so staff had to share and pass along, which can be time consuming as the staff are located all over Coos and Upper Grafton Counties. Their mission is to challenge individuals to develop their potential through personal growth and to promote meaningful learning opportunities. Their recent donation to Early Supports and Services is a major indication of the success of their mission.

Northern Human Services greatly appreciates their generous contribution to the Early Supports and Services program; it has saved the organization hundreds of dollars. NHS Family Centered Early Supports and Services staff thanked the people who created the puzzles and wished them all the best for the future.

NH rises to No. 2 in 'National Child Well-Being' ranking

CONCORD — New Hampshire rose from No. 4 to No. 2 in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual ranking of child well-being according to the newly released '2015 Kids Count' Data Book. Although New Hampshire's economic security improved, the state missed the top spot held by Minnesota in part due to a decrease in its overall ranking on child health. This marks the first time in over a decade that a New England state has not held the top ranking.

The report found that 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families than during the Great Recession. In 2013, one in four children, 18.7 million, lived in a low-income working family in the United States. In addition, the national trends highlight a stagnant economic recovery that sidestepped children of color.

"Although we are several years past the end of the recession, millions of families still have not benefited from the economic recovery," said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation. "While we've seen an increase in employment in recent years, many of these jobsare low-wage and cannot support even basic family expenses. Far too many families are still struggling to provide for the day-to-day needs of their children, notably for the 16 million kids who are living in poverty. We can and must do better: we can make policy choices to lift more families into economic stability."

In many ways, New Hampshire fared better than national trends. The state saw improvements in economic indicators, retained its number one ranking in family and community indicators, and remained consistent in education.
Despite these achievements, New Hampshire continues to fall behind in measures of overall child health, including teen substance misuse.

Key New Hampshire Findings
Child poverty decreased from 16 percent with 42,000 to 10 percent with 27,000. Despite this recent decrease, there has been a slow, steady upward climb to 10 percent child poverty since 2000 when the child poverty rate was 6 percent.
The number of children living in high-poverty areas has doubled. In 2013, 2 percent or 6,000 children lived in areas with a 30 percent or higher rate of poverty. This rate is more than double the previous year, when 1 percent or 3,000 children lived in high-poverty areas. NH Kids Count reported in our 2015 Data Book that Coös County had the highest rate of child poverty in the state at 21.7 percent, while Hillsborough and Merrimack counties had the highest number of children living in poverty.
Fewer children live in households with a high housing cost burden. 11,000 fewer children lived in households with a high housing cost burden in 2013, further reducing the likelihood that families slipped in poverty.
New Hampshire tied for highest number of teens who abuse alcohol and drugs in the nation. While New Hampshire's rate of teens who misuse alcohol and drugs remained unchanged from 2011-2012 to 2012-2013 of 7 percent or 7,000 teens, other states continued to improve. New Hampshire is now ranked 44th and tied for the lowest ranking with Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Wyoming.
"While we are pleased to see improvements in economic stability measurements such as child poverty and secure employment for parents, we have not matched these gains with critical investments in the health and well-being of our children," said Ellen Fineberg, executive director of New Hampshire Kids Count. "The Granite State should not be last in the nation for any indicator of child well-being. When we make smart policy decisions that reflect both data and the needs of our children and families, our state can make a difference."

Additional information is available at and

American Cancer Society 'Making Strides Against Breast Cancer' kickoff scheduled for July 29

NORTH CONWAY — The American Cancer Society will host a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer kickoff rally and informational meeting at 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29, at North Conway Community Center in the Village to share details about its upcoming community walk.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a powerful event to raise awareness and funds to end breast cancer. Since 1993, more than 11 million supporters have raised more than $685 million nationwide. Last year, 350 walkers in the Mount Washington Valley helped to raise more than $82,000. This kickoff will provide community members the opportunity to learn how to get involved in the North Conway walk slated for Oct. 18.

Funds raised through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks enable the American Cancer Society to finish the fight against breast cancer by investing in groundbreaking research; providing free, comprehensive information and support to those touched by breast cancer; and helping people reduce their breast cancer risk or find it early when it's most treatable.

"Uniting with others in the Making Strides walk gives us power to make a real difference in the fight to end breast cancer," said Pamela Ritchie, Community Manager, "At the event we celebrate survivorship and pay a meaningful tribute to those affected by the disease. Thanks to participants, the American Cancer Society is there for those who are currently dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, those who may face a diagnosis in the future, and those who may avoid a diagnosis altogether because of education and risk reduction."

For more details on the Oct. 18 walk event, the planning committee, being a sponsor, or signing up, call Leah Hartman, 2015 Volunteer Event Chair at (603) 370-8382 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Pamela Ritchie, Community Manager at (603) 763-4432 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information or to register for the walk please visit


Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund announces more than $610,000 in grants to support the North Country

CONCORD — The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation recently awarded nine grants totaling $612,917. Among the recipients were the Coos Economic Development Corporation, North Country Charter Academy, North Country Chamber of Commerce, and the Trust for Public Land.

The N.H. Charitable Foundation awarded a total of $150,000 in grants to the North Country Health Consortium for its innovative substance use prevention program. The Tillotson Fund and the Foundation's Substance Use Disorders Portfolio each granted $75,000 for the Consortium's Youth Leadership Through Adventure program. The program strives to teach kids to be leaders, to deepen their connection to community – and, in doing so, to keep them off drugs and alcohol.

The Youth Leadership Through Adventure program has kids climbing mountains and paddling rivers; doing service learning projects in their communities; organizing conferences for younger students and encouraging healthy behavior among their peers. The program is in all 10 public high schools and 12 middle schools in Coos and northern Grafton counties.

"New Hampshire has some of highest youth alcohol and drug use statistics in the country," said Timothy Rourke, director of substance use disorders grantmaking at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and chairman of the Governor's Commission on Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. "We know that effective prevention includes engaging youth as peer leaders to affect change."

On the latest New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a correlation appears between schools with active YLTA groups and reduced substance use. Binge drinking and past-month alcohol use among students in those schools have dropped below rates for the rest of the state — and the rest of the North Country. The numbers of kids reporting having ever used alcohol is also down.

"YLTA is achieving great results in helping students understand the consequences of substance use and helping them become positive role models to other students in their communities," Rourke said. "The impact is clear in evaluation of the program, and I look forward to seeing the program expand beyond the North Country as its efficacy is further understood."

The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund and the Foundation's Substance Use Disorders portfolio, in tandem, are helping make this program possible. Since 2009, the North Country Health Consortium has received $914,147 in grant funding to develop and run YLTA.

"The Tillotson funding will allow the North Country Health Consortium to continue and enhance prevention efforts in North Country schools and communities," said Nancy Frank, executive director of the North Country Health Consortium. "YLTA empowers North Country youth to lead and promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and reduce substance misuse. Over the course of the next year, YLTA groups will expand their focus to address identified community needs, including the rise in heroin use."

YLTA has been endorsed as a promising practice by a panel of national experts convened by the state Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and the NH Center for Excellence. It is anticipated that YLTA will be identified as an evidence-based practice and replicated for use around the state and country.

The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund accepts proposals from eligible organizations providing services in Colebrook, Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Dixville Notch and other towns in Coos County, as well as bordering communities in Quebec and Vermont. The fund is also interested in applicants that serve these communities as part of a larger regional effort. The next application deadline is Monday, July 6, 2015. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit for eligibility requirements, application guidelines and forms, and answers to frequently asked questions. For more information, contact Jean Clarke at 800-464-6641 ext. 20238 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Grant awards were made to the following organizations from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation:

The Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of N.H. in Durham, received $90,000 to organize and support civic engagement programs in the North Country over the next two years.

The Coos Economic Development Corporation in Groveton, received $25,000 to support start-up operations and maintenance for a new regional business enterprise center in Groveton.

Les Comptonales in Compton, Quebec received $25,000 to construct 20 permanent and weatherproof kiosks for the Public Market in Compton.

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies in Concord, received $55,792 to develop a comprehensive education dashboard and convene regional leaders addressing interrelated education, health and workforce opportunities in the North Country.

The North Country Chamber of Commerce in Colebrook, received $60,000 to support its operations over the next three years.

The North Country Charter Academy in Littleton, received $32,125 to purchase new computers and curriculum software licenses helping to sustain its online middle and high school alternative educational programs.

The North Country Health Consortium in Littleton, received $75,000 to support the Youth Leadership Through Adventure prevention network and leadership strategies in North Country middle and high schools with an additional $75,000 match grant from the Foundation's Substance Use Disorders Portfolio.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail in Waitsfield, Vt. received $50,000 to support its operations over the next year.

The Trust for Public Land in Montpelier, Vt. received $200,000 to support the creation of a 1,342-acre community forest in Milan, over the next two years.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
Established in 1962, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is driven by a vision for a stronger, more just, and resilient Granite State. In pursuit of this vision, the Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; connects donors to effective organizations, ideas and people; and leads and collaborates on important public issues. The Foundation awards nearly 5,000 grants and scholarships totaling $32 million annually. Based in Concord, the Foundation roots itself in communities across the state through its staff, board of directors, and eight regional advisory boards. For more information, please visit or call (603) 225-6641.



'Award of Excellence' presented to John MacKillop of Week's Hospital

LANCASTER — Once upon a time, some 'good old boys' were just shooting the breeze after a good game of golf. One of those 'boys' said: "Why don't we start a golf tournament to benefit the hospital?" Now 26 years later, what began as a simple conversation is today the annual Weeks Medical Center Auxiliary Golf Scramble. The Scramble is the major fundraiser of the Auxiliary, which helps provide vital equipment and services to the hospital.

John MacKillop was one of those 'good old boys.' Since that initial conversation, MacKillop has been a major influence on the golf tournament. To honor MacKillop's many contributions, the Weeks Auxiliary recently presented him with its Award of Excellence in grateful appreciation for his many years of devotion, support, and commitment.

"John's foresight brought our golf tournament into existence," said Volunteer Services Manager Margo Cliche. "John's many years of support, dedication, and commitment have helped sustain us. The Weeks Medical Center Auxiliary is proud to present John MacKillop with our Award of Excellence for dedicated service to the Golf Scramble."

MacKillop's many connections in the area communities have been instrumental in securing major sponsorships for the Golf Scramble. MacKillop also volunteered for 26 years on the Golf Scramble tournament committee.

"John's inspiration, knowledge, and advice contributed to the overall success of the Scramble," said Cliche. "For many years, John arranged a crew and provided oversight for setting up the event and then clean-up even after he played a hard game of golf."

In addition to the award, Auxiliary president Pat Cotter announced that Hole No. 1 of the Golf Scramble has been dedicated to John MacKillop.

"John's picture will be placed on Hole No. 1 every year so that all future participants of the Golf Scramble will know that it was John who had the foresight that brought our golf tournament into existence," Cotter said. "And it will also remind everyone of John's many years of support and dedicated service."

MacKillop, who also played in the tournaments and got most of his family involved in the scramble, will retire as an employee of Weeks Medical Center this fall. "Working at Weeks Medical Center for the past 42 years has been very rewarding," MacKillop said.

scottjohn1For dedicated service to both fun and fundraising, John MacKillop (left) was presented the Award of Excellence from the Weeks Medical Center Auxiliary by Weeks CEO Scott Howe. MacKillop volunteered for 26 years to the auxiliary’s annual golf scramble.