The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Girls Inc. works to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold. Courtesy photo.

Gift Guide 2015
Presents that inspire and delight

By Allie Ginwala, Angie Sykeny, Ryan Lessard, Kelly Sennott

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire

55 Bradley St., Concord, 224-1061,
What it's all about: The Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire is made up of eight different clubs — three in Concord and one each in Allenstown, Hopkinton, Warner, Franklin and the Lakes Region, which together serve roughly 600 kids in grades K to 12. The organization provides a safe place for young people, with mentors and programs covering everything from academics and leadership development to physical fitness and healthy habits. The goal: to help kids do better in school, get along with peers and become more caring, confident and productive citizens. In addition to providing arts, sports, games, cooking and academic activities, members get healthy snacks upon arrival, and at the Bradley Street location, 80 to 100 kids get served dinner every night Monday through Friday.
What monetary donations are used for: Development Director Jon Clay said monetary donations can go wherever the donor wants — to specific areas or programs — but if it’s not specified, they’ll go to scholarships, which more than 80 percent of current members utilize.
They could also use: Volunteers who can help with homework, lend an extra hand in the gym or share talents for cooking, art, music, etc. (Volunteers ages 17 or older must undergo an extensive background check.) Email Bob Carter at for more information. Warm clothes (new or in top condition), homework materials (pens, pencils, paper) and art supplies are all in demand during the winter, but you can also call and ask what’s needed.
Other ways to help: The organization is holding its biggest fundraiser of the year, the Boys & Girls Club T.V. Auction, on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Last year’s event raised almost $110,000. If you live in the area, you can find items for sale (ranging from $15 gift certificates to an all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio) on Channel 6 or streamed on the website.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Derry
40 E. Derry Road, Derry, 434-6695,
What it's all about: This club serves about 1,500 members, grades 1 to 12, from dozens of Greater Derry communities (Londonderry, Chester, Sandown, Auburn, Manchester, Windham, etc.), with daily attendance rounding 300. There are educational, athletic (basketball, volleyball, wrestling, baseball), technological and nutritional programs here as well; in the spring, the kids grow a big garden, and they harvest and cook the food in the fall. This facility houses two computer labs, with 60 desktops for the kids to do homework on. Most of the programs are run by volunteers, as is the 20-member board of directors, Executive Director Art McLean said via phone. 
What monetary donations are used for: General operations to run the 30,000-square-foot building and employ the eight-member (plus four part-time member) staff.
They could also use: Equipment, like new computers for the technology lab, or for the game room (foosball, ping pong, board games), and also art supplies; McLean said construction paper especially is used all year long. The best bet is to call the club to inquire about what you can bring.
Other ways to help: You could become a volunteer or sponsor or attend the annual auction in April.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua
1 Positive Place, Nashua, 883-0523,
What it's all about: Members come from the greater Nashua area — mostly from Nashua or Hudson, but some kids travel from as far as Lowell or Dracut, Mass. Director of Development Bridget Cooley said via phone that each year the organization serves about 3,200 members, ages 5 to 18, from 20 towns. About 500 kids come daily. Every day after school, kids have the opportunity to get homework help and participate in athletic (basketball, kickball, etc.) and art activities (crafts, theater, dance). Cooley said they also encourage kids to become involved with community service and develop public speaking, job skills and college preparation. This is one of the two Boys & Girls Club organizations that has an on-site pool.
“We partner with lots of community agencies and work with local colleges,” Cooley said. 
What monetary donations are used for: Scholarships and general operations — electricity, bus transportation, etc. — unless specified. 
They could also use: “Anything arts-related,” Cooley said. “We love having games and toys for the kids, plus athletic equipment.” You can find specific items under the “How to Help” website tab. (Right now, some items include arts and crafts supplies, beads, glue, sewing needles, pencils, notebooks, dry erase boards, technology items, aquatic items for the on-site pool and recreation equipment. There are many more on the wish list.)
Other ways to help:  Cooley said the group is looking for volunteers who can help with after-school programs (dance, art, sports, academics, etc.).
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem
3 Geremonty Drive, Salem, 898-7709,
What it's all about: The club serves about 1,800 kids from surrounding towns within 30 miles of Salem, like Methuen, Windham, Derry and many other communities. It is one of two in New Hampshire with an indoor pool and full aquatics program. Kids can also participate in homework “power hour,” basketball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, floor hockey and other athletic activities. Ages range from 3 to 18 — Director of Development Denise Dolloff said this club also has a state-licensed preschool and kindergarten program, plus a teen center.
What monetary donations are used for: The “It Just Takes One” campaign, which aims to raise $100,000 for the club. The money goes to general expenses and programming.
They could also use: Photography equipment for a new teen photography program, plus arts-and-crafts materials, basketballs, food gift cards for the cooking program, Lego kits and school supplies. Beads are also always a hit with girls, Dolloff said.
Other ways to help: Volunteers do everything from helping to organize special events to homework help.
Boys & Girls Club of Manchester
555 Union St., Manchester, 625-5031,
What it's all about: It’s the oldest Boys & Girls Club in the state at about 108 years old, and it comprises three locations (one on Union Street, two on school sites). More than 600 kids are served a day, almost 2,000 a year. Most come from Manchester and the surrounding area, Tracey Adams, director of marketing and community relations, said via phone. Within the club is a dedicated teen center, plus academic programs with individualized attention. Mentors and staff check report cards and identify classes that kids are struggling with, and they offer homework help and tutoring if necessary. 
There are also service clubs and programs that focus on character, sports, health, leadership development and the arts, from painting and drama to glee clubs to African drumming. (Step dance in particular has become very popular among kids, Adams said.) 
What monetary donations are used for: They can go wherever the donor wants — scholarships or  programs — but if not specified, they go toward general operations. Right now, the club’s also in the midst of a campaign to replace the gym floor by next year, which is original to the 58-year-old clubhouse.
“It’s time to be replaced — it can no longer be sanded and refinished,” Adams said. “We’re raising $150,000 to both replace it and do cosmetic enhancements to the gym.”
They could also use: Arts, crafts and school supplies (notebooks, binders, rulers, folders, pencils), which help provide incentives to do homework.
Other ways to help: Around this time of year, many companies and individuals adopt families for the holidays, which involves buying presents for Christmas. The gifts come anonymously and can serve as Santa gifts for the kids. Hats and mittens are also always needed, as kids lose them all the time. You can also volunteer, which requires a two-hour-a-week minimum for six weeks. 
CASA of New Hampshire
138 Coolidge Ave., Manchester, 626-4600,
What it's all about: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) recruits, trains and supervises volunteers to serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in the New Hampshire court system. These volunteers (currently, the count is at 422) are the “eyes and ears” for judges on these cases, meeting with the children regularly and reporting to the court what they think is in the kids’ best interests (though judges make the final decision).
What monetary donations are used for: Expanding programs, plus recruiting and training additional advocates through the state.
They could also use: Director of Communication Carolyn Cote said via phone the organization is constantly recruiting and training volunteers. The training process is intensive, requiring about 40 hours, and Cote said she hopes to bring in at least 100 to 150 more, which would enable CASA to serve all of New Hampshire’s children. “Right now, we serve 80 to 85 percent of the kids that need us,” Cote said. For more tangible items, Cote said the organization could also use bulk coffee, K-Cup coffee, tea bags, paper coffee cups, forever stamps, Kleenex tissues, pens, hand sanitizing wipes, white card stock and ¾-inch Scotch tape refills.
Other ways to help: You could attend CASA’s fundraising event in February or volunteer by joining a CASA committee, helping organize/sponsor events, or helping with research and development and serving as an office receptionist. You could also buy a box of 20 greeting cards for $20 with kid-designed fronts, proceeds of which go to the organization. They must be ordered by Dec. 20 for delivery before Christmas.
Girls Inc. of New Hampshire
Headquarters, 27 Burke St., Nashua, 882-6256,
What it’s all about: To inspire girls ages 5 to 18 to be strong, smart and bold through various programs like after-school classes and activities, a dinner club that serves free meals Monday through Friday to girls and families in need, summer camps and early learning programming. Programs focus on giving girls experience in non-traditional activities and career choices along with sports, fitness, health and prevention programs. “The main thing we do is help girls focus on their education, get homework done, go to college or get a good job,” said CEO Cathy Duffy Cullity. “A girl who comes to us sees us as her extended family and we help provide those things that they need and basically teach them how to get [things] themselves.” In addition to the Nashua, Manchester and Concord locations, Girls Inc. has a presence in more than 50 schools across the state and holds programs about bullying, Internet safety and young women’s leadership.
What monetary donations are used for: Full and partial scholarships to help girls’ families that can’t cover the $2,500 cost for the entire school year, the dinner club program and Christmas gifts for the girls and families. They’re currently in the middle of a capital campaign for the renovation of the Burke Street building in Nashua and are looking for donations.
They could also use: New board games and art supplies, books and sports equipment like soccer balls, basketballs and volleyballs. Items to support the science, health or fitness programs are always needed as well.
Other ways to help: They always welcome volunteers — especially to work one-on-one with the girls in the homework room — and are specifically looking for a marketing intern and someone to help in the office.
Southern New Hampshire Toys for Tots
64 Harvey Road, Londonderry,
What it’s all about: Southern New Hampshire Toys for Tots is part of a nationwide nonprofit organization that collects and donates toys for kids up to 13 years old. “Whatever donations, money that we take from that area we put back into that area,” said Sgt. Kevin Healy, coordinator for Southern New Hampshire Toys for Tots. “I collect in southern New Hampshire and I return to families in need in southern New Hampshire.” Along with corporate sponsors Toy R Us and Walgreens, Healy sees donations from businesses, families and individuals. There are five pods in the state to drop off donations (see the website for hours).
What monetary donations are used for: The goal is that 97 cents of every dollar goes toward toy donations. Healy recently visited Toyland in Milford and purchased about $5,000 worth of toys. Monetary donations can be made after making a purchase at Toys R Us or by making a check out to Toys for Tots Foundation and mailing it to the Harvey Street address.
They could also use: Kids on the older side of the spectrum are sometimes overlooked, so Healy said donations of books, jewelry making kits, sports items and education tools for preteen boys and girls are especially needed.
Other ways to help: Interested volunteers can visit the website and call Healy to give their time at the warehouse counting, sorting and preparing toys for donation.
Make-A-Wish New Hampshire
814 Elm St., Ste. 300, Manchester 623-9474,
What it’s all about: Make-A-Wish America has 64 chapters across the country that share the mission of granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish New Hampshire is dedicated solely to granting the wishes of children ages 2 and a half through 18 right here in the state, according to Holly Blanchard, director of youth programs and marketing/communications. Children can be referred by a doctor, nurse, parent or social worker to start the qualification process. A common misconception is that wishes are only granted to those who are terminally ill, when in fact wishes apply to those with a life-threatening illness. “Many of our kids are going on to live fulfilling lives,” Blanchard said. Last fiscal year they granted 84 wishes, and they hope to grant 90 this coming year.
What monetary donations are used for: Ninety cents of every dollar donated goes to granting wishes, the average cost of which is $10,000. Recently granted wishes include learning how to be a puppeteer, having a playset built in the backyard and meeting the players at a Patriots game.
They could also use: Wish ambassadors to learn about and share Make-A-Wish New Hampshire’s mission. They host wish tours and invite people to hear wish stories so they can share the message and help people understand the referral process. They could also use ice-breaker gifts for the wish granters to bring when they first meet the kids and families.
Other ways to help: For kids with travel wishes, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire likes to have volunteers at the airport in Manchester cheering for the family as they drive up with signs that say “happy wish day.”
Marguerite’s Place
87 Palm St., Nashua, 598-1582,
What it’s all about: Offering transitional housing for homeless women with children for the past 21 years, Marguerite’s Place has 10 independent living apartments to house the families while the women participate in a program to help them become and remain self-sufficient. With an average program stay of 18 months, there is an onsite child care center offering affordable and high-quality care for the kids (and kids from the general public) while the moms go back to school or look for employment, according to director of development and public relations Melissa Ballard Sullivan.
What monetary donations are used for: Operating expenses that help the program run, as well as scholarships to help fill that gap for the families working toward self-sufficiency. 
They could also use: Diapers to support their free diapers program for the child care center plus pillows, cookware, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, Lysol spray, toothpaste and laundry soap. Check out the wish list on their website for a full and up-to-date list.
Other ways to help: Right now they’re looking for development professionals in management, marketing and finance to volunteer to help plan, execute and man special events in order to bring the organization to the next level. Those with the desire and ability are also welcome to volunteer for regularly occurring needs like answering phones and prepping apartments.
UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center
153 Paige Hill Road, Goffstown, 497-2343,
What it’s all about: About 80 adults and children with disabilities participate in therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving lessons each week. The six- to eight-week programs are held six times a year, according to development director Veronica Lester. “Therapeutic riding is beneficial in many ways physically,” Lester said. “[It helps with] body awareness, spatial orientation, balance, posture, strength of muscles and [is] emotionally beneficial as well.” She explained that therapeutic driving involves a horse hitched to a two-wheel cart for the participant and instructor.
What monetary donations are used for: General donations are put toward the most current need, which is often offsetting costs to help keep lessons affordable for families. Donations also help feed and house their 13 horses and provide needed maintenance and repairs for the facility.
They could also use: Office supplies, printer ink cartridges, paper goods, cleaning products, work gloves, corn husk brooms and grounds and maintenance equipment. The website has a full list of items they need.
Other ways to help: Volunteers to serve as leaders and sidewalkers during lessons (must be 14 or older) that can commit to a minimum of one hour per week. The center holds volunteer training every six to eight weeks. They also need barn help, builders and handy people. No horse experience is needed for any volunteer. Those interested should contact the volunteer coordinator at
The Salvation Army
New Hampshire Corps Community Centers in Concord (58 Clinton St.), Manchester (121 Cedar St.), Nashua (1 Montgomery Ave.), Laconia (177 Union Ave.), Derry (18 Folsom Road) and Rochester (10 Olde Farm Lane)
What it’s all about: Many of the state’s 10 Salvation Army locations have programs geared toward youth, like the after-school programs and summer day camps in Nashua. Patricia James, public relations manager for the Northern New England Division, said centers also provide educational programs involving computer labs and sports like volleyball and soccer. The Manchester Corps has programs for kids ages 5 to 17, along with the Kids’ Cafe that serves meals four nights a week to children and Friday and Saturday nights to teens. “Every location offers basic assistance like general and holiday assistance and youth programs, food pantries and Sunday worship,” James said. “But then it varies from corps to corps. They try to tailor [to] the need [in] the community.”
What monetary donations are used for: About 85 percent of every dollar goes toward programming. Go to to designate your funds to your local Salvation Army.
They could also use: Non-perishable food donations for each location’s food pantry. 
Other ways to help: They can always use volunteers, especially during the holidays to help organize food baskets, distribute toys or ring a bell for one of the red kettles. Contact your local Salvation Army.
American Red Cross of New Hampshire
2 Maitland St., Concord, 225-6697,
What it’s all about: A humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief, emergency assistance and preparedness education. Red Cross of New Hampshire and Vermont spokesperson Lloyd Ziel says one of their more successful children’s programs is called the Pillowcase Project, where young kids are asked to think about how they would react to a disaster like a home fire and what items they would throw into a pillowcase to take with them during an evacuation. The Home Fire Campaign seeks to reduce fire deaths and injuries with free smoke alarm installations. Ziel says there’s a fire in New Hampshire or Vermont every 20 hours, on average.
What monetary donations are used for: Money donations will go toward the Pillowcase Project or to comfort kits for those who suffer a home fire. The Holiday Gift Catalog on the Red Cross website allows donors to choose to fund anything from comfort kits to messages to service members abroad. 
They could also use: The Red Cross can always use donations of blood and platelets. 
Other ways to help: The organization is always looking to recruit new volunteers, and they provide training wherever necessary, such as the training for disaster relief volunteers. A fast-paced “disaster boot camp” is scheduled for Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 in Nashua. The registration deadline is Dec. 31.
Anne-Marie House
180 Lowell Road, Hudson, 883-7338,
What it’s all about: Anne-Marie House is a 26-bedroom shelter for working-class families with kids who have fallen on hard times due to job losses or health issues. 
What monetary donations are used for: Donations can be made online or mailed and go toward general operating expenses of the shelter along with capital campaigns to help fund heating and building renovations. Executive Director Pam Small says she buys 16 gallons of milk each week for the 25 families currently residing in the shelter, and food costs between $400 and $600 weekly. “Think of us as one big family who needs all the things that any family would need,” Small said. The heating oil costs about $30,000 a year, according to Small, and the building is in need of upgrades. There’s a strong emphasis on children at the home. Only families with kids qualify, and 70 percent of the residents are children under 18. 
They could also use: The house will also accept donations in the form of food and toiletries. They are always in need of cleaning supplies and paper goods like paper towels and toilet paper. They also accept things like toothbrushes and deodorant.
Other ways to help: Volunteers are always in demand, for help with fundraising, managing the pantry, cooking meals or helping with kids. They are also on the lookout for people with special skills like maintenance and education.
Easter Seals New Hampshire
555 Auburn St., Manchester, 623-8863,
What it’s all about: The organization has long been in the business of providing services for people and families with disabilities, education and advocacy. Some of their programs have a special emphasis on children, such as the two child development centers in Manchester with about 275 kids, according to Executive Director Pamela Dube. And kids aged 11 to 21 with disabilities or special needs can attend a summer camp at Gilmanton Iron Works called Camp Sno Mo. Easter Seals also runs a special education school called the Robert E. Jolicoeur School in Manchester and they serve military families and veterans with donations. 
What monetary donations are used for: Donations can be made online, and the website will allow donors to select which program they wish their money to help fund.
They could also use: They will accept donations in the form of food, warm clothing, presents and gift cards for gas and groceries.
Other ways to help: Easter Seals is always looking for new volunteers. Dube says volunteers are especially needed to help run the roughly 50 events they organize each year in the state, including one coming up on Jan. 28 called the Winter Wine Spectacular. It is taking place at the Radisson in Manchester and will feature about 1,500 different types of wine.
Emily’s Place/YWCA
72 Concord St., Manchester, 625-5785 (office), 668-2299 (crisis line),
What it’s all about: The overarching mission of the YWCA is to eliminate racism and empower women. The Emily’s Place women’s shelter is a hidden emergency shelter that serves women in the Manchester area escaping abusive situations with their children. 
What monetary donations are used for: Manchester YWCA interim president Jessica Sugrue says their crisis services help both men and women who are victims of domestic violence. Their 24-hour crisis line (see above) is available to anyone suffering abuse in the area and the Emily’s Place shelter, with 18 beds, is the largest shelter of its kind. YWCA also provides community education on issues like domestic violence. If donating online, you can call to specify to which program you would like the money directed. According to Sugrue, the crisis program is the greatest need. Grants cover basic operating cost and staffing but little else.
They could also use: YWCA is also accepting items for its shelter such as toiletries, feminine products, diapers, wipes, grocery and gas gift cards and toys for all ages.
“Generally, these women are fleeing from their abusers so they are leaving everything behind,” Sugrue said.
Other ways to help: They need volunteers for several areas of the YWCA such as office assistants and crisis service advocates (the YWCA would provide training) and they need help with fundraising.
Families in Transition
122 Market St., Manchester, 641-9441,
What it’s all about: FIT provides housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It was founded in 1991 in response to the growing number of homeless people in Manchester and statewide.
What monetary donations are used for: Executive Director Maureen Beauregard says money donations will go toward FIT’s housing mission. Its newly built shelter, with room for 11 families, is built with child safety measures. The first floor will be a resource center and the second floor will be for housing. The organization works to help families transition into permanent housing. “That’s the best gift you can give a kid, is permanence,” Beauregard said.
The ribbon-cutting of the new shelter will take place Dec. 22 at 4:30 p.m. after a candlelight vigil walk. If donors wish to direct their money to specific areas, they can write it in the comments field on the website.
They could also use: Clothes can be donated to one of FIT’s two thrift stores in Manchester and Concord. The clothes are then sold and the proceeds help to fund the housing operation.
Other ways to help: Beauregard says the new shelter needs a “ton” of new volunteers to help with all kinds of things including serving breakfast and lunch. Food is being provided by New Horizons and New Horizons staff is helping to serve dinner. FIT could also use help with talent donations in areas like gardening and cleaning.
Friends Program
202 North State St., Concord, 228-1193,
What it’s all about: The Friends Program has a youth mentoring program, a homeless shelter for families, a volunteer program for seniors and a program that pairs seniors with grade-school children in the classroom for mutual benefits.
What monetary donations are used for: Executive Director Jerry Madden says the greatest need is in the youth mentoring program since most of the grants the organization originally enjoyed have dried up. “Funding is getting tougher and tougher,” Madden said. 
The grassroots program is in its 41st year and pairs community members with kids age 6 to 17. 
Its shelter, for families only, is the only one of its kind in Merrimack County. It serves up to eight families at any given time, with about 28 people on average. The Foster Grandparents program they sponsor puts seniors in elementary school classrooms to interact with and help children in exchange for a small stipend. Online donations can be directed to specific programs via a followup email.
Other ways to help: The Friends Program is always looking for volunteers in the mentor program and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP. Through RSVP, seniors can work for Meals on Wheels or help drive patients to medical appointments.
Concord Family YMCA
15 N. State St., Concord, 228-9622,
What it’s all about: According to marketing director Gina Brochu, Concord Family YMCA is the largest childcare provider in Merrimack County. They offer full-day childcare for ages 1 to kindergarten; a full-day kindergarten program; an after-morning-kindergarten program with a school pickup service; the KYDSTOP after-school program (also offered at some area schools), which includes homework help, arts and crafts, swimming and gym time; youth sports programs; and the Fun & Fit program, which teaches kids how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They also offer kids’ summer camps, as well as Leader in Training, a five-week program for teens to develop skills for leadership, first aid/CPR, pre-employment and more.
What monetary donations are used for: “It [provides] scholarships for families who need childcare and helps give memberships to anyone who wants to join the Y but has financial barriers,” Brochu said.
They could also use: At Christmas time, the Concord Family YMCA has a tree in the lobby with a wishlist of children’s gifts people can purchase for families in need. They also accept items to better their facility throughout the year as needed.
“For example, we just redid our babysitting room and the Girl Scouts donated toys for the kids to play with,” Brochu said. “It’s nice to change the toys up everyone once in a while.”
Other ways to help: There are various volunteering opportunities for events and programs throughout the year. Fill out an application at the Welcome Center, and they will give you a call when an opportunity comes up. 
YMCA of Downtown Manchester
30 Mechanic St., Manchester, 623-3558,
What it’s all about: The Granite YMCA has five branches: Greater Londonderry, Allard Center (Goffstown), Seacoast (Portsmouth), Strafford County (Rochester) and its main branch, Downtown Manchester. The Manchester facility offers a variety of programs for kids and families, such as full-day childcare for ages 8 months to kindergarten; kindergarten and preschool programs; classes for dance, sports, fitness and more; before- and after-school programs with homework support, sports and arts and crafts; summertime day and overnight camps; sports programs; a Teen Center; and a Kid Zone where kids can be supervised while their caretakers use the fitness equipment. The Granite YMCA also hosts events throughout the year designed specifically for families.
What monetary donations are used for: Downtown Manchester branch manager Sabrina Smeltz said donations benefit the Reach Out for Youth and Families annual campaign, which provides scholarships for people who are in need of financial assistance to become Y members and utilize the Y programs. Last year, $1,686,000 in scholarship funds was provided to more than 19,773 youth and families.
They could also use: At Christmas time, YMCA of Downtown Manchester has an Angel Tree in the lobby where people can donate unwrapped toys for families in need. Throughout the winter, the Y accepts mittens, scarves, hats, etc. for the Share the Warmth campaign.
Other ways to help: “When the need is there, we definitely look for people to help with their time,” Smeltz said. “We need volunteers for our special events throughout the year, in our programs and in the community projects we get involved with.”
Contact The Granite YMCA and inquire about volunteer opportunities and how to apply.  
YMCA of Greater Nashua
24 Stadium Drive, Nashua, 882-2011,
What it’s all about: The YMCA of Greater Nashua has facilities in Nashua and Merrimack. At the Nashua facility, programs are offered for kids of all ages, including an Early Education Center and full-day childcare for 6-week- to 6-year-olds; preschool and kindergarten; after-school childcare and educational programs for grades K through 6; a fitness program for kids ages 6 to 13 struggling with childhood obesity; youth sports leagues; classes for gymnastics, dance, arts and crafts, swimming and karate; teen leadership classes; day and overnight summer camps; and a babysitting service for parents using the fitness equipment.
What monetary donations are used for: Donations support their annual campaign, Y CARES, which provides scholarships for children and families to become Y members and participate in Y programs. “[With] Y CARES financial assistance, [we] stay true to our mission that everyone can enjoy YMCA programs and services regardless of their ability to pay,” Elizabeth Covino, director of community relations, said.
They could also use: Covino said children’s books, arts and crafts supplies and other materials for the Y child care programs are “always appreciated.”
Other ways to help: YMCA of Greater Nashua has a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year, such as tutoring and mentoring, assisting in child care programs, instructing sports teams and classes, being a referee for sports games, helping with summer camps and more. To learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to apply, call and ask for the volunteer coordinator.
New Hampshire Kids Count
2 Delta Drive, Concord, 225-2264, 
What it’s all about: “We’re an independent, multi-issue child advocacy organization,” said Amy Bourgault, interim director. “We fight for hunger solutions, dental access and other children’s health and safety and economic issues.” To serve New Hampshire children as effectively as possible, NH Kids Count performs the widest range of research on children in the state, examining issues like family and community, economic opportunity, health and wellness, safety and education. The results are compiled in the NH Kids Count Data Book, which is used by partnering businesses, community leaders and policy makers to develop a collaborative agenda each year. 
What monetary donations are used for: According to Bourgault, donations benefit NH Kids Count’s four active coalitions: New Hampshire Child Advocacy Network, a collaborative effort to create system-wide change by proposing new policies to the Legislature; NH Hunger Solutions, an effort to ensure every child receives three meals a day by partnering with schools and after-school programs to offer breakfast and an after-school meal; NH Dental Access Alliance, an effort to improve access for children to receive quality oral health care; and NH Juvenile Justice Coalition, an effort to improve the juvenile justice system by proposing legislative changes.
Other ways to help: Because NH Kids Count bases all of its initiatives on research, the best way to help is to share your thoughts, observations or personal experiences with them. 
New Hampshire Catholic Charities
215 Myrtle St., Manchester, 669-3030,
What it’s all about: New Hampshire Catholic Charities has several programs to help children and families. OUR PLACE is a program that supports first-time, teenage or young-adult mothers from pregnancy to the third year of their child’s life. “We give them mentorship and guidance, encourage them in [pursuing] education and jobs as well as teach them about child development,” said Lisa Merrill-Burzak, vice president of development. “Programs like these reduce child abuse because parents understand what their kids are doing.” They also offer family counselling, adoption services and St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester, which provides one-on-one behavioural treatment to help kids with challenges get integrated back into the school system.
What monetary donations are used for: Many donations are used in OUR PLACE to purchase educational workbooks and materials as well as gift cards to assist families with buying groceries. They are also used in the St. Charles Children’s Home to provide food and basic living necessities for the children.
They could also use: Merrill-Burzak said they can always use diapers and children’s books up to a four-year-old level for OUR PLACE, as well as food donations, gas cards and gift cards for Walmart or Target and grocery stores. “Gift cards are wonderful because we know where [the money] is going but [the families] can still pick the food and necessities that [fit their] needs,” she said.  
Other ways to help: Volunteer opportunities are available, but they are constantly changing based on need. Contact them for information on the application process and areas where they could use help. 
Spaulding Youth Center
72 Spaulding Road, Northfield, 286-8901,
What it’s all about: “Spaulding Youth Center is an intensive treatment program for students with neurological, behavioral and personal challenges,” said Jim Clements, CEO and president. “We take care of kids academically and residentially whose needs are not able to be met in the local school district.” Spaulding is open to boys and girls ages 5 to 21 and is currently serving 88 students, 49 of whom live on campus. They offer art programs; specialized help with reading, language and speech; occupational and physical therapy; career exploration; family counselling; health and fitness programs; outdoor challenges; after-school recreational activities; a foster care program; in-home services and child health support for families. 
What monetary donations are used for: Donations are used to purchase laptops for their student laptop program, expand the outdoor ropes course and help with general operating costs. 
They could also use: At Christmas time, they accept gifts for the students who have no home to go to for the holidays and have to stay on campus. People are also welcome to propose their own donation idea.
“Two recent examples are that we [were] provided [with] eight or 10 turkeys for students and families for Thanksgiving,” Clements said. “The second one is, [there was] a thoughtful idea from a group of ladies who made quilts for our incoming students.”
Other ways to help: Spaulding has a volunteer program for people to help with physical projects such as cleaning. painting or landscaping, or to work directly with students in recreational areas. Contact them for more information on how to apply for the program. 
New Hampshire Children’s Trust
The Concord Center, 10 Ferry St., Suite 315, Concord, 224-1279,
What it’s all about: New Hampshire Children’s Trust is a child abuse prevention agency. Its main objectives are to provide training and resources for people who work directly with children and families; push for public policies that will help children and families; and bring businesses, community organizations, and the general public together to prevent child abuse and neglect.
What monetary donations are used for: “We use donations to help educate anyone who works with children and families, so like training nurses, teachers and childcare workers,” Keryn Bernard-Kriegl, executive director, said. “[If they are] better able to support the families and advocate for kids, whether it be in the doctor’s office, school or town hall, [there is] less likelihood of abuse and neglect.”
They could also use: Each year, New Hampshire Children’s Trust partners with the CLICK for Babies campaign, which raises awareness of infant abuse by providing infants in hospitals with purple knitted or crocheted caps. Bernard-Kriegl said they are “already flooded with donations” right now, but will start collecting again next July.
Other ways to help: In April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, New Hampshire Children’s Trust seeks volunteers to set up Pinwheels for Prevention gardens in their towns to raise awareness.
“There’s a huge one in Swasey Park in Exeter, but we would love to have someone organization one in Manchester,” Bernard-Kriegl said.
You can also show your support by wearing blue on Wear Blue Day in April (date TBA) and posting a picture on social media with #StandUpNH. Finally, you can volunteer to hang up educational posters in places families go, such as grocery stores, laundromats, churches and schools.
“[The posters] have things like tips for dealing with a crying infant, a checklist for strengthening families, how to report child abuse and neglect [and] how to say ‘I love you,’” Bernard-Kriegl said. 

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