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Sponsor Spotlight

Support for the Friends Program is derived from many sources including grants and contributions from generous individuals like you. Also key to sustaining our services is support from community-minded businesses and foundations like the ones listed here.

Patriots Charitable Foundation Awards $5,000 to Support Friends RSVP

The Friends Retired and Senior Volunteer Program appreciates grant funding from the New England Patriots in recognition of volunteer Caren Bonisteel, who was recently honored for being a Difference Maker.

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

The Friends Program is grateful for vital program support from Keystone Management to help us provide shelter and other services to homeless families in Concord. Keystone also helps transition families to affordable housing of their own.

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.

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

In addition to direct grant support from the United Way, 55 individuals made contributions  last year through their Workplace Giving program. Employees have small amounts deducted each pay period and designate the Friends as the beneficiary.

April, 2015 
April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month. As an organization that recruits volunteers to meet community needs, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 800 individuals who dedicate their time and talent to work for social change and serve as stewards of our community. These dedicated individuals endeavor to improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors and to strengthen our fellow New Hampshire nonprofits.

With sincere appreciation,

Jerry Madden
Executive Director

One Family's Journey Out of Homelesness
Five-year-old Lillyanne back in December with a donated bike she received for Christmas.

Emerging from homelessness is a long journey that requires perseverance.


Regular readers of our newsletter might recall five-year-old Lillyanne and the new bike she received during the holidays thanks to Operation Santa Claus.


Since then, she and her mother have moved from our shelter. They now have a place of their own through Families in Transition. Only problem was that it was unfurnished. Shelter staff were able to connect Lillyanne's mother with a generous individual who donated the needed furniture.


Things are looking up for this young family. And now that the snow has melted, Lillyanne is finally able to start riding her bike! Full Emergency Housing Page 

Friends Youth Mentoring: "A Vital Part of Our Community"

We received the note below from Denise Fournier, who was inspired to write us after we published some photos relating to our founding 40 years ago. We love to hear from the community. If you have a story about how the Friends Program has touched your life, we'd love to hear from you, too. Drop us a line at admin@friendsprogram.org.


"Dear Friends Program:


"In 1976, I was a sophomore at Concord High School. One day in English class, the teacher introduced our class to the Friends Program. I thought it was the most wonderful
A 1970s ad seeking volunteer mentors.
idea and believed I should do something to help. 

I, along with some like-minded friends, organized a car wash as a fundraiser for the program. We charged $1.01 for each car -- for a one-to-one relationship -- to support the mentoring program. Later, I became a tutor to a young girl in the program and participated in other program activities. I still have such vivid memories of some of these experiences.
"In 1984 I became an English teacher myself and have since told my own Concord High School students about the program. Some of them have become actively involved in working with the young people the program serves. 

I have also worked hard to encourage my colleagues to contribute to the school's United Way campaign and have shared with them the importance of the program and the need for funding.

Ca. 1978, Friends director Tom Avallone with one of our Junior Friends
"I am honored to have been even a very small part of The Friends Program history. I am also grateful that my husband and I have been able to support the Friends Program over the years. 

"Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the program! Friends is a vital part of our community!" 

RSVP Caregiver Jennifer Morgan after successfully getting 6'6" Al into her car. Al was wearing a leg brace after having a knee replacement. Not being able to have Al bend at the knee proved a challenge in driving him to a recent appointment - but one that Jennifer was up for!
RSVP Caregiver Volunteer Fills a Tall Order

Jennifer Morgan, a volunteer driver with the Friends Caregivers Program, had an important task ahead of her last week. A big one. 


Al, who's 6'6", needed to get to the orthopedist in a leg brace and couldn't bend at the knee. Jennifer's challenge: getting Al into her Honda Pilot with his fully-extended leg.  


Al was in something of a Catch-22. He'd recently had knee replacement surgery - hence the brace. But when it came time to have it removed, there seemed no way to fit Al and his long, unbending leg into a passenger seat.


Jennifer's solution was to situate Al in the middle of the back seat. She scooted the front passenger seat as far as it could go to accommodate Al back there. Friends Caregivers are a resourceful and dedicated lot!


Thanks to Rebecca Daoust, Nurse Navigator at Penacook Family Physicians, who referred Al to our drivers program. We are happy to say that that not only did Al make his medical appointment, but he was able to have his brace removed. The drive back was much easier. What a success!


Eight Decades of Nurturing Care in Somersworth

Friends Foster Grandparent Grace Joy has volunteered at the Somersworth Early Learning Center for  12 years. "After the death of my husband, SELC became my second home."

Between the three of them - two staff and a Foster Grandparent - our friends at the Somersworth Early Learning Center have devoted 78 years to nurturing youngsters in the northern Seacoast Region.


Soon to be-85-year-old Grace Joy has volunteered at SELC as a Foster Grandparent for 12 years. Prior to that she was a staff teacher there for eight years. 


SELC's mission is to provide affordable, quality childcare and nutritious meals to children aged six weeks through 15 years. SELC does this in a a safe, nurturing environment where children can learn through play and daily interaction with their peers and teachers.  


As a Foster Grandparent, Grace volunteers in the infant room, rocking and feeding the babies. When she's on duty, she's in her socks - shoes are forbidden to keep the floor clear of dirt and pebbles for the benefit of her pre-ambulatory clientele.


"You rarely ever hear babies cry there, so you know they're loved," observed Friends Program Coordinator Margo Toppan. "Joy contributes to the infant room's overall calmness and caring."


"I truly enjoy the people I work with," said Joy. "And of course I love taking care of the babies. After the death of my husband I needed to be active again, and Somersworth Early Learning Center became my second home."


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 give you some specific examples of how people in our community are helping those in the greatest need. Like us today.

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

The Friends Program is grateful for vital program support from Keystone Management to help us provide shelter and other services to homeless families in Concord. Keystone has been a longstanding partner in these efforts. In 2007, Keystone demonstrated real leadership in Concord's efforts to fight homelessness by helping us establish our Transitional Housing Program. Once they qualify for the program, clients can begin to live independently while still receiving case management support from Friends counselors. Thank you, Keystone!
RSVP Caregivers client Earl Burroughs grew up in Depression-era Concord and pitched in White Park's Sunset Baseball League. He lives alone and doesn't drive, so when he needs to run an important errand, he calls Friends Program Coordinator Carolyn Rich to coordinate a ride with a volunteer driver.
RSVP Caregivers Program Profile
We had a chance to catch up with one of our care receivers, Earl, who grew up in Depression-era Concord. 

Earl loves to talk about local history and has published several books with images from the 1800s and 1900s. As a kid, he used to collect nightcrawlers he'd sell to the bait shop by the old Abbot Downing factory site. (This is how he got money to go to the movies). 

Later, he pitched for the Pirates in the Concord Sunset Baseball League. (His signature pitch was a slow curve that was deceptively  tricky). 

Earl walks assisted by a walker, lives alone, and doesn't drive these days. So he calls Friends RSVP Caregiver Coordinator Carolyn Rich (shown here) to line up a volunteer driver when he needs to grocery shop or go to the doctors. 

Folks like Earl who benefit from this program are all so grateful - and fascinating!  Thanks to the volunteer Friends Caregivers who help Earl and other seniors remain independent in their own homes!

Upcoming Events and
Opportunities to Get Involved

Thursday, April 16, 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.

Saturday, April 18, 7pm - United Baptist Church, Concord

Concert to Benefit Homeless Families Served by the Friends Program

There is a suggested freewill donation of $10 for their upcoming Concord appearance, with proceeds to benefit the family homeless shelter operated by the Friends Emergency Housing Program For more information about the Granite State Ringers, visit their   Web site

Friday, May 15 - The Concord Holiday Inn
Concord Mom Prom - Proceeds to Benefit Friends Youth Mentoring

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 are welcome and should come to the Concord Mom PromTickets are $40 and can be purchased online or at OutFITters' Concord location on South Main Street. 


Last year, the event sold out, and tickets are selling ahead of last year's pace - so act fast. Good time. Great cause.

Friends Program | 202 North State Street | Concord, NH 03301
  (603) 228-1193 | admin@friendsprogram.org |