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Key to sustaining our services benefiting our neediest neighbors is support from community-minded businesses and foundations like the ones listed here. Get involved. Contact us today.

The Merrimack Donates $5,000 to Support Friends Community Volunteers

The Friends Program appreciates the generous support of its Volunteer Program Presenting Sponsor, Merrimack County Savings Bank.

Granite Investment Advisors Awards $3,000 to Support Friends Youth Mentoring

Longtime sponsor Granite Investment Advisors has increased its support and will be the Eagle sponsor of the 18th Annual Friends Golf Tournament. 

Concord Orthopaedics Awards $2,500 to Support Friends RSVP Bone Builders

The surgeons at Concord Orthopaedics are committed to seniors' health and wellness. 

Cogswell Benevolent Trust Donates $2,500 to Emergency Housing Building Repair


Keystone Management Donates $2,500 to Support Friends Emergency Housing

The Friends Program is grateful for vital program support to help us provide shelter homeless families in Concord. 

Sanel Supports Program That Transports Seniors to  Doctor's Appointments


Bishop's Charitable Assistance Fund Supports Friends Caregivers and Bone Builders


Wells Fargo Advisors Supports Friends Youth Mentoring


Elektrisola Supports Friends Emergency Housing

Byrne Foundation Supports Youth Mentoring

The Friends Program welcomes support from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, which made its first ever gift to the Friends to support efforts to match local youngsters with volunteer mentors.

Local Businesses Support Our Efforts to Strengthen the Community

Cassidy Law & Title

Lincoln Financial Supports Friends Emergency Housing

Support from Lincoln Financial's charitable foundation is helping the Friends Program transition N.H. homeless families into affordable housing.
Read more  

Speedway Children's Charities Supports Youth Mentoring

 A $2,673 grant will help us match Merrimack County youth with mentors.


Concord Rotary Club Donates $2,500 to Friends Emergency Housing

Support from the Rotary will help pay for some long-overdue renovations to our shelter for homeless families.

The Friends Program Is a United Way Agency

The Friends Program is a United Way agency. Ask your employer if your company supports the United Way - and how you can get involved.

May, 2015 
May 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. This month's issue shines a light on some of the work older Friends volunteers are doing, as well as how their efforts fit into a broader movement to recognize the value that their service adds to society. Through our two senior programs - Friends RSVP and Friends Foster Grandparent - I am continually struck by the devotion and community-mindedness of Granite State seniors.Between these two programs, our dedicated volunteers contributed approximately 188,000 hours of service last year. Our community is a better place because of their efforts.


Jerry Madden
Executive Director

The Friends Program Is Seniors Helping Seniors


May Is Older Americans Month

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.

We recently heard from Byron Petrakis, who began attending sessions in Kingston seven weeks ago. He wrote, "As I look around at my peers in my Bone Builders class, [at 73] I am aware that I am one of the younger participants in the class, and one of the few males. However, I know that men, especially thinner ones like me, can also develop osteoporosis and thus become prone to broken bones. I find inspiration in the commitment to the exercise program that  my older peers have been exhibiting while participating. Their enthusiasm is infectious and helps keep me motivated. I hope to be just like them when I grow up."


Thanks, in part, to sponsorship support from Concord Orthopaedics and the Bishop's Charitable Assistance Fund, Friends Bone Builders classes are free to attend, but registration is required. 


To find the class nearest to you or register, call Friends RSVP Coordinator Katie Lynch at 228-7608.  


Foster Grandparents in Goffstown

Bartlett Elementary School recently honored two Friends senior volunteers by declaring April 22 Foster Grandparents Day.During a school-wide assembly, Doris Demers (Miss Doris - 15 years of service) and Yvette Caron (Miss Yvette - 10 years) were recognized for their many contributions to the education of the school's children. 


"They truly make Bartlett more special," said Principal David Bousquet. "We can't thank them enough for everything they do for us." Each was presented with flowers, balloons, and cards - as well as personalized signs to reserve their parking spaces.

Friends Foster Grandparents are volunteers who are matched with schools and non-profit childcare centers in seven N.H. counties to help teachers inspire a love of learning in children. Combined, these seniors devote 125,000 hours of annual service at 82 sites.


Mayors across N.H. and the U.S. Recognize Seniors' Service

Portsmouth Mayor Robert Lister (center) issued a proclamation in April recognizing the service of Friends volunteers over 55. Lister is pictured here with Director of Senior Programs Craig Saltmarsh and Foster Grandparent Coordinator Margo Toppan

Last month, Friends staff and volunteers took part in the annual Mayors Recognition Day for National Service. Friends RSVP and Friends Foster Grandparents are two national programs affiliated with the Corporation for National and Community Service, which organized recognition events at 2,600 locations nationwide. Our staff were in Portsmouth with Mayor Robert Lister, himself an AmeriCorps alum, who recognized the contributions of our senior citizen volunteers and issued a proclamation of appreciation. 

The Friends Program Is Mentors Supporting Youth
Friends mentor Tim Sink with Junior Friend, Kumar, at Fenway. They were matched in 2012 after Kumar's family obtained refugee status and came to Concord from Nepal.

Sometimes Kids Need Just a Little Help. Sometimes They Need a Hero.

For 40 years, Friends volunteers have supported and nurtured their Junior Friends in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Many kids in the Friends Youth Mentoring Program are at-risk or underperform academically. 

As a result of their friendships, participating youth are over  90% less likely to engage in risky behavior, and 86% of kids see their grades improve. Mentors increasingly are helping refugee children and other new Americans acculturate and learn how to navigate their new country.

Mentoring works. And it works because of our volunteers. People like you who care. Call 228-0108 to get involved.  Full Youth Mentoring Program Page  
The F riends Program Is a Ray of Hope for Homeless Families

As Concord - and N.H. more broadly - continue to grapple with the specter of homelessness, the Friends Program offers the promise of hope for local families with nowhere else to turn. Friends Emergency Housing operates the only family homeless shelter in Merrimack County. Last year, 122 people - 67 children and 45 parents - called this facility home. The average length of stay is four to six months.While living at our 8-unit shelter, parents work with a case manager to obtain the skills and resources needed to find and keep affordable housing. If you or someone you know is facing homelessness, call the Friends Program at 228-1462. Full Emergency Housing Program Page   

Stories of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Get the Friends' Latest on Facebook

Baby pictures posted by high school friends you haven't seen in forever are great. Online Buzzfeed quizzes and invites to play games also have their place. But if you like our page on Facebook, a few times a week we'll share with you uplifting examples of how people in our community are helping those in the greatest need. Like us today.

The Merrimack Donates $5,000 to Support Friends Volunteer Efforts to Serve the Community

We at the Friends Program are proud to recognize Merrimack County Savings Bank as our 2015 Volunteer Program Presenting Sponsor in acknowledgment of the Merrimack's $5,000 commitment. We learned of this very generous award as National Volunteer Appreciation Week began on April 13. 


"We share with the Friends Program a commitment to the well-being of the communities we serve, and we're pleased to be able to continue our support for this effective and important organization," said Paul C. Rizzi, President and CEO of Merrimack County Savings Bank.

Help the Concord Mom Prom Hit One Out of the Park for the Friends Program!

Having named the Friends Program their beneficiary charity for 2015, the wonderful ladies from the Concord Mom Prom are asking for your help in an on-line contest being held by the Boston Red Sox Foundation. Voting is easy. Just visit the Red Sox site and fill in the required fields - specifying the Friends Program as your chosen charity and using the pass code GEN1396First prize is $10,000. Second and Third Prizes are $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Voting is underway and ends on June 5.
Upcoming Events and
Opportunities to Get Involved

Friday, May 8, 10am-6pm  - Bead It! Benefit to Support Friends Emergency Housing
Pick out - or better yet - make a lovely last-minute Mothers' Day gift and support the Friends' efforts to shelter homeless N.H. families.  Bead It! is donating 30% of the day's sales all to benefit the Friends Emergency Housing Program's family shelter.

Friday, May 15 - The Concord Holiday Inn
Concord Mom Prom - Proceeds to Benefit Friends Youth Mentoring - LIMITED Tickets Available
Ladies! Here's your chance to get all glammed up, dance the night away, and  support a great cause! Not just for moms - all women over 18 who want an excuse to get dressed up and have fun should come to the  Concord Mom Prom! Tickets are $40 and can be  purchased online or at  OutFITters' Concord location. Act fast - just a few tickets are left! If you're going, you can also pre-buy your raffle tickets. (The night of, there will only be cash raffle sales).

Saturday, May 16 - May It Forward - Downtown Concord

Sponsored by Intown Concord's Merchants Circle 

Yet another reason to visit downtown Concord - shop for a cause while supporting locally-owned establishments. Held in conjunction with the Concord Food Co-op's "Spring into Healthy Living" event, a percentage of each participating business's day's sales will be donated to the Friends Program and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire. Among the participating businesses are the Co-op and Bead It! We'll post on Facebook the names of other participating businesses as they step forward.

Tuesday, May 19, 5:30-8pm - Friends Program 
Youth Mentor Orientation - Call 228-0108
Want to make a difference in the life of a Merrimack County young person? Join us for an introduction to volunteerism as a mentor. This session will equip you with information about Friends Youth Mentoring and introduce you to some best practices. This opportunity is for those who are considering stepping up and stepping in to help a needy child, as well as for those who are already on the path to becoming a youth mentor.
Friends Program | 202 North State Street | Concord, NH 03301
  (603) 228-1193 | admin@friendsprogram.org |