What Is In A Building?
There is change afoot at The River Center: A Family and Community Resource Center. Our mission is to strengthen the individuals and families of the Eastern Monadnock Region through family support, economic opportunity programs and community connections. And don’t worry, that mission is alive and well! We take seriously our responsibility to our funders and donors to use the resources given to us to bring positive changes and supports to community members. To that end, our Board of Trustees voted to put The River Center buildings up for sale. This decision was made after much discussion, thought and consideration. As I’m sure many of you know all too well, owning property means ongoing and sometimes expensive maintenance and repairs. We are selling the buildings in order to be more nimble and responsive with our programs and services. This will be a process that could take up to one year, which gives us plenty of time to plan location and facilities that will best support our strategy to effectively serve our region.
Over the years we’ve seen that our most successful programs happen when we go to the people we serve, rather than asking them to come to us. One of the goals of our organization is to reduce the barriers between individuals and services. Many factors, small and large, can keep someone from accessing support: the price of gasoline, busy schedules, the challenge of going to unfamiliar places and people. The Friday morning parenting group in Jaffrey is a good example of community based programming. Every Friday morning The United Church of Jaffrey hosts (and Shelter from the Storm co-funds) this group led by our parent educator, Kelli Tourgee. By bringing this program to Jaffrey, parents and children build friendships and develop stronger parenting skills among their neighbors in their own hometown.
On January 18 we will run the Safe Sitter babysitting course at the Jaffrey Recreation Department. Last year the course ran at the Rindge Recreation Department. In this course, 11-13 year-olds learn how to safely care for younger children, run their own business, respond to an emergency, and be a responsible caregiver. There is a lot of energy in a room full of future babysitters! Taking the course with your friends from school makes it fun and having it held nearby makes it easy to get to.
Our Employment Specialist, Laura Sebert, will be at the Jaffrey and New Ipswich Public Libraries the next few months to bring support to job seekers. Laura meets with a number of clients who are looking for work. Many factors complicate the job search- english as a second language , disabilies, a lack of confidence or computer skills are just a few examples. She works one-on-one with clients to help them develop a resume that reflects their best self and prepare for a positive job interview. With that resume comes improved confidence and knowledge about next steps in the job search. This week a former client called to happily report on an encouraging interview. This support can happen in your town library. Bringing this service to the local community breaks down the barriers to accessing services.
The River Center is a family and community resource center committed to translating donor dollars to effective support for families and individuals in this region. We are implementing change in our location but not in our mission. It is so important to keep services like these available and I thank all who help us support our mission.