(Hour 2b) Rich talked Laura Scott of The Friends Program. Laura spoke about the non-profit organization, bringing awareness to their origin as a youth mentoring program and sharing about how they took on more programs as they grew. After discussing the youth program, she told Rich about their homeless shelter, the RSVP program, Foster Grandparent Program and more.
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The Friends Program was established in 1975 and works to strengthen communities by building relationships through volunteer involvement. They annually serve approximately 4,000 at-risk youth, homeless families and fragile seniors with by mobilizing approximately 800 volunteers, who contribute over 250,000 volunteer hours annually.
The Foster Grandparent Program, which operates in Hillsborough County, places low-income senior volunteers in schools and childcare centers to help those at-risk kids that need a little bit of extra assistance, care and kindness. The seniors receive a small stipend for their volunteering and may receive travel and meal assistance. They operate this Program in 8 counties in NH.
In Rockingham County, they also run the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). They work with seniors that are looking to volunteer and make a difference and place them in social service agencies where volunteer “assignments” match their skill set, time constraints and interests. They run 2 popular programs (1) Bone Builders, where they train volunteers to run senior exercise classes which are free to attend and (2) Caregivers, where seniors provide free rides to other seniors to medical appointments. They also do a lot with food panties, soup kitchens and other food insecurity initiatives. They operate this Program in 4 counties in NH.
In addition to these 2 senior program, they operate a Youth Mentoring Program and an Emergency Housing Program in Merrimack County. Their Youth Mentoring Program is currently serving the needs of 100 at-risk youth by partnering them with volunteer mentors (adults and juniors and seniors in high school). Their Emergency Housing Program is the only family shelter in the County and they serve 8 families at a time.