Brattleboro, VT

Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, Vermont

My good friend Sara put me in touch with the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, Vermont. I met up with Robert, the Board President and he walked me through the organization’s goals–keeping kids fed, helping with school work, providing a safe environment, building community, and many other things. It’s so important that the kids who will lead this world into future are given the necessary resources to tackle the challenges.

Robert introduced me to the club’s Executive Director, Beth, whose dedication to the kids at the club is self-evident and contagious.

We gathered with the kids to discuss the importance of reading, how books can shape our view of the world and the people in it, and then everybody got a gift certificate to visit the local bookstore. The plan is for everybody to read their books and then have a pizza party to discuss what they’ve read.

More about Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, Vermont (from their website):

In every community, boys and girls are left to find their own recreation and companionship in the streets. An increasing number of children are at home with no adult care or supervision. Young people need to know that someone cares about them.

Boys & Girls Clubs offer that and more. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.

Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place to learn and grow – all while having fun. They are truly The Positive Place For Kids.

The Boys & Girls Club provides a safe place for youth to learn and grow, develop ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, engage in life-enhancing programs, character development experiences, and create hope and opportunity.

Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, Vermont on the web:

Keene, New Hampshire

Direct Action

The plan was to distribute more of the bags Steff and I put together in Maine, but the weather was bad, and my familiarity with New Hampshire geography is sketchy. I was, however, able to find contact info for Hundred Nights Homeless Shelter, an organization helping those in need, explained what I was doing, and then dropped off the extra bags full of socks, hats, toiletries, and food.

More about the Hundred Nights Homeless Shelter (from their website):

The Mission of Hundred Nights, Inc. is to provide shelter and crisis related services to the displaced or homeless; to support the invisible members of our society who deserve dignity and a voice that is heard, through community, collaboration and guidance.

 Our Vision Statement:

Hundred Nights, Inc. believes that Keene and Cheshire County is a community that invests in and supports its’ most vulnerable and invisible citizens with dignity, support, hope and a pathway to personal growth.

Our Operating Principles:

1. Hundred Nights, Inc. believes that self-sufficiency can only be realized for those suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, illiteracy, chronic unemployment, and or incarceration when the public and business community come together to treat people with respect and support.

2. Hundred Nights, Inc. believes that all people are worthy, have a story to tell and should be heard.

3. Hundred Nights, Inc. operates to minimize the devastating impact that homelessness creates on the person and the community by providing a continuum of shelter options, housing referrals, health care and educational services.

4. Hundred Nights, Inc. acts to build and maintain the strength of our leadership, the skills and motivation of our staff and the active engagement of our guests as essential ingredients in order to strengthen our communities.

Hundred Nights Homeless Shelter on the web:

Portland, Maine

Direct Action

The plan to volunteer in all 50 states during 2014 began in Portland, Maine as I joined up with my good friend Steff  to distribute backpacks to the homeless. We stuffed the backpacks with food, water, socks, hats, toiletries, a toy, medical items and a few other things for those in need.