The holidays are upon us. As we count our blessings and spread good cheer among family, friends, and co-workers, we may also ask ourselves how we can extend the spirit of the season to others in our community.
Fortunately, if you are in a generous mood this holiday season, the Upper Valley has a plethora of nonprofit organizations that provide a broad range of social services to the community. Some you probably recognize right away—The Haven, providing assistance to the homeless; Advance Transit, providing free transportation throughout the Upper Valley; LISTEN, assisting with everything from food insecurity to heating fuel.
There are many smaller, possibly less well-known organizations to consider, too. As 2018 draws to a close, these nonprofits would all welcome your generosity. We’ll take a look at five Upper valley nonprofits below—keep in mind there are plenty of organizations that would appreciate your help.
- Headrest. With headquarters in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Headrest is the only 24-hour crisis hotline for New Hampshire, Vermont, and parts of Maine. The organization assists people with substance use disorders, people in crisis, or people simply in need of support. Their programs include a 24-hour crisis hotline, residential treatment, and outpatient counseling. In 2016, Headrest volunteers fielded more than 6,700 calls through the crisis hotline.
- WISE. This grassroots organization started as a career resource center for women in 1971 and evolved over the years to meet the needs of women experiencing domestic violence in their lives. WISE now leads the Upper Valley in efforts to eradicate gender-based violence and to mobilize for social change. Their programs are multifaceted, including a 24-hour crisis line, a safe house for women fleeing dangerous situations, and numerous outreach opportunities in Upper Valley communities.
- Upper Valley Trails Alliance. If you have ever gone for a hike in the Upper Valley, you probably already owe a thank you to this organization. UVTA is probably best known for their website, which makes it quick and easy for outdoor enthusiasts to find a trail anywhere in the region—both indoors and out—that suits their hiking needs and abilities. But the group does much more, including building trails, promoting winter physical activities for school-age children, and involving high school students in trail maintenance.
- Special Needs Support Center. Like many nonprofit organizations in the Upper Valley, this one began when folks gathered around a kitchen table with some coffee and a shared sense of concern. How to help families with special needs children? In 1979, Geraldine and Bill North were parents of a daughter with autism, and they started reaching out to other parents faced with similar parenting challenges. The SNSC was born and, 30 years later, the organization has received national accolades for the assistance it gives to families with special needs in the Upper Valley.
- Good Neighbor Health Clinic. If you have access to primary medical and dental care, count your blessings. If you want to help people who don’t, consider making a donation to the Good Neighbor Health Clinic. Since 1992, Good Neighbor has provided free medical and dental care to adults in the Upper Valley who either lack insurance or are underinsured. Their central clinic is located in a restored library in downtown White River Junction, Vermont, but they also run satellite clinics in Enfield and Lebanon, New Hampshire. Each year, Good Neighbor brings health and dental services to more than 3,000 Upper Valley adults.