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October 2018
Help FIght Poverty with Passion |  Service Site Spotlight  |  Know Your VISTAs
September Day of Service
FIT-VISTAs-Group-Photo-with-HorseEach September, Families in Transition VISTA members participate in a service project for the 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance. This year's team joined forces with Granite United Way for their Day of Caring event on September 5, 2018. Our members gathered at UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring hope, fostering independence, and improving the pysical, emotional, and psychological well-being of individuals with and without disabilities by partnering with the power of the horse. They spent the day helping with various projects including repairing fences, landscaping, and sprucing up the horses stalls for the approaching winter. Afterward our members got to meet, and pet, one of their horses Sunflower (Sunny).
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Site Spotlight: Harbor Homes Inc.

Leslie Griffin
Health Informatics Specialist
Harbor Homes Inc.
Pictured: (L-R): Mansi Agnihotri, Data Analyst and Peer Recovery Support Specialist;
Kera Kelly, Telehealth Intern; Leslie Griffin, Healthcare Informatics VISTA; Dr. Akshat Gadgil, Medical and Health Services Manager; Donna Curley, HMIS Project Manager

 Harbor Homes Inc. in Nashua, NH, is a nonprofit   organization dedicated to providing low income,   homeless, disabled and socially vulnerable individuals   with quality residential, health care, and supportive   services—in short, a continuum of supports for   individuals and families to escape and avoid   homelessness. 

 As a member of the Partnership for Successful Living,   Harbor Homes has over 50 programs that serve about   6,500 community members annually; offers the state’s   only stand-alone federally qualified health center for the   homeless, which provides low-to-no cost primary,   behavioral, and dental health care; and serves as the   coordinating agency for the Nashua Safe Stations   program, which has been successful in combatting   Greater Nashua’s devastating opioid crisis.

Leslie Griffin completed her Masters of Science in   Critical Incident Management in August 2016 and is   currently serving her second VISTA service term as the Healthcare Informatics VISTA at Harbor Homes.  She is working on a range of informatics projects for the healthcare arm of Harbor Homes, such as: analyzing outcomes and performing data analytics for new programs, which combat our area’s opioid crisis; researching and developing analytic frameworks for new programs; assisting with data quality control for a variety of reporting needs; educating program leaders on data trends and recommend program changes; and conducting trainings for front-end database users.


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Know Your VISTAs!
Tarah Bergeron

Volunteer Engagement
& Outreach VISTA

Families in Transition-New Horizons
Pictured: Tarah Bergeron with Husband, Patrick Bergeron, and their two sons
Where did you go to college/what did you major in?
I graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with my Bachelor in Business Management.

Why did you choose to become a VISTA? Why did you choose to serve in New Hampshire?
I have always loved to volunteer and give back to my community—VISTA was a great way for me to see if I wanted to make a career with nonprofits. My family and I live in New Hampshire, so having a VISTA location so close to home was perfect.

What is your role at your host site? What does a typical day or week look like for you?
I am the Volunteer Outreach and Engagement VISTA at FIT-NH, but really I do a lot more than that. I also work with donors and our In-Kind program, with the Housing Advocates for the monthly Socially FIT Dinners; assist with various committees as needed, and ‘other duties as assigned’. I don’t have a typical work day, or week for that matter. Yesterday, I was typing up a donation letter for the cinco de mayo fundraiser next year, and today I was sending out Holiday Giving Opportunities to interested donors.

What drew you to your particular position and host site?
I have worked with gathering and organizing volunteers in many different areas during both my professional, educational, and personal life. FIT-NH was where I decided to apply, because we are so close to Manchester, I didn’t have to worry about extra travel time.

What has been your favorite part about being a VISTA?
My favorite part would have to be that I am exposed to so many different opportunities and people, that I would never have had I not decided to serve a year as a VISTA.


Shannon Napier
Community Outreach and Business Development VISTA
Arts in Reach

Pictured: Shannon Napier

Why did you choose to become a VISTA? Why did you choose to serve in New Hampshire?
I chose to become a VISTA because it seemed like a great opportunity to do some good while gaining valuable work experience. I have lived in southern Maine, just north of the New Hampshire Seacoast, for the past year. I wanted to stay at least another year to take in all the beautiful nature and unique cultural events this region offers.

What drew you to your particular position and service site?
The mission of my service site really stood out to me because I care greatly about mental health and have personally found art to be a very positive/fun form of self-expression. The more I learned about Arts in Reach, the more I felt like it was a community I wanted to belong and contribute to.

What is you role at your service site? What does a typical day or week look like for you?
I work more "behind-the-scenes" in community outreach and business development. Some of my responsibilities include: maintaining the website and social media platforms, meeting with donors, sending email newsletters, inputting donations, taking notes at board/committee meetings, and preparing materials for events. We have a big funraising event coming up soon that involves a silent auction so I am currently busy setting up displays and bid sheets for that.

Is there anything that you experienced as a VISTA that you weren't expecting?
I am surprised by just how much work and planning goes into running a small nonprofit. Every day there are new challenges that arise, and it takes a lot of resourcefulness, teamwork, and perseverance to solve them with the limited resources available.

What has been your favorite part about being a VISTA?
I love how everyone who works or volunteers at my service site is passionate about giving teen girls a place to express themselves creatively and feel safe. It is rewarding to see and hear about the positive impact our programs have on these girls' lives.

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The Families in Transition VISTA Program is part of the AmeriCorps VISTA National Service Program and is sponsored by Families in Transition-New Horizons. VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) are charged with fighting poverty through capacity-building projects in government and non-profit organizations.

Families in Transition-New Horizons provides hunger relief, emergency shelter, safe affordable housing, and supportive services to individuals and families who are homeless or in need, enabling them to gain self-sufficiency and respect. 

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