Select Page

Saving Makes A Difference

Margaret

How much money do you have in the bank? Do you have a rainy day fund? Money saved for retirement? A new car fund? A home repair fund? Education fund? Yikes!

I just lost you didn’t I? Did your stomach start to tie up in knots?

An individual who has her taxes done through The River Center’s free tax preparation program told us how saving money helped her. She was able to save the equivalent of several months’ wages due to a surprise gift. She decided that she would treat herself spending 10% of this gift and save the rest. Because now she has a financial buffer, she was able to make some life decisions that felt too risky before. She left her job and found another job she enjoys. She made some relationship decisions. She is happy and feels more in control of her life.
Not having any money in the bank for ‘just in case’ leaves us vulnerable. We don’t have a fall back in case something happens.

I googled ‘Saving Money’. There are 7 Ways, 8 Simple Ways, 35 Realistic Ways, 100 Great Ways, etc. to save money. There is the Secret to Saving Money. Take a look sometime. Everyone is weighing in on how to save money. We understand we should save, but we have difficulty putting it into practice.

Did you know that The River Center offers money coaching? A team of trained volunteers are ready and able to help anyone demystify their finances. Because truly, many times our finances are mysterious. Money comes, money goes. We aren’t exactly sure where it went, but our bank accounts tell us it’s gone.

Why do people come for money coaching at The River Center? They come because they have maxed out their credit card debt and need help figuring out how to pay them down. They come because they would like to buy a house and want a plan to make it happen. They come because they are graduating from high school and want to avoid excessive education debt or fund a gap year. A couple with six figure income needs help organizing the chaos of their finances which has resulted in late fees and bill collectors.

A newly single parent is always running out of money before the end of the month. Income is not enough to cover basic expenses for their family. We connect them to assistance programs to supplement their family needs until they can stabilize their life and increase income.
Our money coaches are here to help. Anyone, any income, any need. They are at The River Center for drop-ins every Wednesday from 12:30-2:00 or appointments can be made anytime by calling 924-6800 or info@rivercenter.us.

Our free tax preparation program for low and moderate income households is in full swing until April 13. Appointments can be made by calling 924-6800 If you or someone you know might qualify for this program, have them give a call. Our IRS certified volunteer preparers are trained to make sure that tax payers take full benefit of earned income, child, and educational tax credits. Every tax payer is encouraged to split their refund to save a portion for those rainy days.

Questions? Interested in meeting with a money coach? Give us a call at 924-6800.

Margaret Nelson
Executive Director
The River Center Family and Community Resource Center
mnelson@rivercenter.us

Are You Well Connected?

Margaret

Being connected is an important human element for all of us. We need to be connected – to our families, friends, and our community.

Did you know that an infant needs connection for healthy development? Think about how babies copy your facial expressions and noises. Try making fish faces at a fifteen month old. Or showing them how to make raspberries with their tongue. They will eagerly do what you do. That is a key way of how they learn. They need this back and forth connection with their adult. It is heartbreaking to see an infant laughing and giggling at an adult only to be totally ignored. Soon, they will learn to not respond.

All of us need this back and forth interaction. Dave’s workday is spent alone in his studio. My workday is spent at The River Center or out and about. At the end of the day we connect with each other by talking about how the day went. Dave may have had big thoughts about the creative process, I may have had trouble writing a column for the Ledger Transcript (for example). We ask questions and respectfully listen, empathizing with the frustrations and successes of each other. We seek to understand and support. We are connecting.

I have found that technology can be helpful or harmful to essential human connections. When cell phones were just starting to be used we went to the New England Aquarium in Boston with our daughters. We were outside watching the seals swimming in their tank. Sitting on a bench was a dad and his six year old son. The son was watching the seals while the dad was totally absorbed in his phone. I felt badly for that little boy, out on a fun outing with his dad, and yet his dad was not present. I didn’t realize that in a few years we would see this all the time both from children ignoring their parents as well as parents ignoring their children, all due to the compelling draw of handheld technology. Connecting with others means being present, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

On the positive side, our adult daughters and families have a lively connection through WhatsApp. Since we are spread out from Kigali, Rwanda to Durham, North Carolina to Dublin, NH, this connection through an app on our phones is fabulous. A thread of photos and comments keeps us connected to each other on an almost daily basis.

The Strengthening Families Framework has identified social connections as one of the key protective factors for strong families. Social connections are defined as “positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support”.

So, when was the last time you got together with a friend for coffee and a good chat? Have you looked your child in the eye and had a good laugh together over something silly? Do you have someone you can call when you need a help?

Connections. It is part of what we do at The River Center Family and Community Resource Center through parenting groups, play groups, and volunteer opportunities. We connect you with services and programs that you need to keep your family strong.

Give us call at 924-6800 or visit us at 9 Vose Farm Rd. Suite 115, Peterborough or www.rivercenter.us.

Green Giving

Margaret


We are very happy and filled with gratitude for this wonderful donation from Nature's Green Grocer. Their Green Giving program gives customers a wooden quarter to deposit in the "bank" of one of 3 non-profits each quarter for every $50 they spend and each month during that quarter one of those non-profits is the recipient of the monies collected by rounding-up purchases.

Many thanks to Joel, Cassie, the rest of the crew at Nature's Green Grocer and the customers who show their commitment to their community and make the world a better place.

‘Tis The Season

Margaret

Knitted slippers with colorful pom-poms, a comforter, a giant floor puzzle, baby socks, children’s books, a science kit, a tea set, and cozy pajamas. These are just some of the items taking up a corner of my office. Yes, it is the season for giving.

The River Center acts as a clearing house for community members who want to help and families who need some help bringing Christmas joy to their children. There are several Christmas giving programs that coordinate gifts with families but these programs have deadlines in early November. Plans for gift giving can be thwarted by many things– including the loss of a job a few weeks before Christmas, a high electric bill, or unexpected car repairs. Tina Kriebel volunteers to coordinate gifts for families that connect with The River Center after those deadlines.

Eversource donated 20 cut Christmas trees, tree stands, and lights. One of our staff and a volunteer spent a day bringing trees and joy to families in our community.  A couple dropped off their annual jar of change to be given to a family- this year more than $500. A couple throws a holiday party every year and asks their guests to bring gifts to support local nonprofits. This year those gifts were given to The River Center and our families- toys and treasures abound. Knitted hats, scarves, and mittens are coming from knitting groups. 

Intermingled with the holiday preparations is great need. A single mom came to pick up a fresh-cut Christmas tree, tree stand and lights. She asked me how she might get some help getting new tires for her car. She told me that the current tires were not safe and she felt like the car was all over the road. I gave her the contact information for the Salvation Army. They will help her get new tires.

A woman came in for her Fuel Assistance appointment. On her way past our front desk she stopped to ask for information. She cares for a veteran in her home and she wondered if he would be eligible for assistance. I assured her that there are many ways veterans can access support and connected her with Southwestern Community Services for more information.

An elderly woman called feeling confused and uneasy in her home. Staff at The River Center has done much to support her and connect her with appropriate services. We have referred her to the Bureau of Elderly Services who are providing support and watchful should she become unsafe living on her own.

We have received a number of calls requesting wood from our wood bank this month. Those calls come from Rindge, Jaffrey, Peterborough and other surrounding towns. Yes, we have cut, split, and dry firewood thanks to the many volunteers who work hard so emergency heating needs can be met.

The needs are great and the generosity of our community is great. Your financial support of The River Center during this season of giving makes a difference. Donations can be sent to our address at 9 Vose Farm Rd. Suite 115, Peterborough, NH 03458 or at www.rivercenter.us. Together we can support our families, our neighbors, and our community.
 
Happy Holidays from all of us at The River Center Family and Community Resource Center.

A Time to Reflect

Margaret

We rush about doing the details of daily life. We get out of bed in the morning, grab some breakfast, set off for our day. We come home. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Sometimes (maybe often) we don’t stop to reflect. Take a deep breath. Really think about what and who we have in our lives. Take a moment to be grateful.

November is a month for reflection. Both Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving are holidays that ask us to pause, consider the good we have been given, and be grateful.

This year on the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I, we think about loved ones who served in the military. ew reflected on the high cost of freedom. And we are grateful.

With Thanksgiving Day a few days away, we have yet another chance to reflect. We are thankful for family members who love us and believe in us. We are thankful for a roof over our heads. We are thankful for food on the table. My mother had a poem hung over the kitchen sink that began like this, “Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell. While other folks go hungry, we are eating very well.” It does lend some perspective.

As we consider what we are grateful for, the good things in our lives, let us not forget those right here in our towns that are going without. Ironically, on Veterans’ Day, November 12, we had two veterans drop by the The River Center. Both were homeless and reaching out for help. The man was a Vietnam vet. He had been sleeping in his car for several nights. The woman was sleeping on a couch at a friend’s.

Connecting individuals with the services and resources they need is part of what we do at The River Center. In this case, Sheila on our staff, was able to get both these individuals started on the path toward stable housing. She arranged for the man to have a bed at Hundred Nights Shelter in Keene for that night. The woman will stay at her friend’s for a while longer while a more permanent situation is found for her. They were connected with organizations that specialize in resources for veterans, helping them navigate the process so they will have a place to call home. And the help doesn’t stop there. Once they have a roof over their heads they will be connected with food assistance, job search assistance, medical and dental healthcare and other assistance as needed.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for many things. Personally, I am grateful for my family and friends. I am grateful to call this corner of New Hampshire my home. I am grateful for the warmth from the wood stove. I am grateful there is food in my cupboards. I am grateful for a car that starts in the morning.

I am grateful for The River Center, for our incredible talented and dedicated staff, for our Board that is engaged and committed to our mission, for our volunteers that help us expand the services and supports we provide, and for all the individuals and families that we touch each year. I am grateful for this community. And I am grateful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from all of us at The River Center Family and Community Resource Center!