2 Manchester non-profits in running for community-funded ‘extreme makeover’

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Opening up cramped quarters are just some of the needs of the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester facility in Manchester.
Opening up cramped quarters are just some of the needs of the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester facility in Manchester.

MANCHESTER, NH – Building On Hope, a New Hampshire-based volunteer organization that has completed $800,000 in community-funded renovations for area nonprofits in the past six years, has selected six finalists who will vie for the opportunity to become the organizations’ next makeover project in Spring 2016.

In December, the organization put out the call for applications to all New Hampshire nonprofits and received dozens of letters expressing the impact Building On Hope could make if selected.

Building on Hope will now make site visits, evaluate conditions and hear pitches from the following nonprofits, which will all be considered for a uniquely New Hampshire version of “Extreme Makeover.” The candidates include:

  • Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester – delivers state of the art mental health treatment that promotes personal and community wellness. They are seeking renovations to their 16 room, single occupancy home for men and women with severe and persistent mental illness located at 323 Manchester Street that has been home to nearly 200 individuals since 1982.
  • Manchester Police Athletic League – MPAL’s mission is to provide mentoring, academic support, athletic and structured fitness programs to Manchester’s youth, with a majority of participants being from minority and underserved populations. They are requesting support renovating the Michael Briggs Community Center at 409 Beech Street in the center city area of Manchester – a 16,000 s/f, 105 year hold structure where youth come daily to participate in a wide range of activities.
  • Child and Family Services of Concord – is a private non-profit that works to advance the well-being of children and familiesthrough an array of social services. They are seeking renovation of a duplex home on 14-16 Perley Street in Concord’s south end that has been home to 81 homeless youth in the past 14 years, helping them to rebuild their young lives and take their place as active and productive members of the community.
  • Merrimack Valley Day Care of Concord – serves 300 children each year, ages 6 to 14 years at 5 centers in the Concord area. They ensure that children from low income families or children with special needs deserve the same high quality educational experiences as their peers. They are seeking renovation of their Fruit Street location to ensure future success as a child care facility – specifically, updates ranging from new boilers to roof replacement and ADA compliance.
  • Greater Nashua Mental Health Center – a private non-profit agency working to strengthen individuals, families, and the community with comprehensive mental health services for 9 towns surrounding Nashua, as well as Nashua itself. The majority of clients are low income and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are seeking renovation of The Child and Adolescent Department located at 15 Prospect Street in downtown Nashua – a 19th century building that has fallen into disrepair.
  • Family Promise of Greater Nashua at Anne-Marie House – supports the needs of families experiencing homelessness as they work to achieve sustainable income, housing, and transportation. Their 17,000 square foot dormitory with 26 bedrooms, two large bathrooms, a large kitchen and dining room, a parlor, a laundry room, a full finished basement, staff offices and a chapel has not been renovated since 1983.

“The structures and facilities of service groups are more than just buildings. They are like homes where lives are changed and hearts are mended or strengthened,” said Building On Hope co-chair Karen Van Der Beken. “By enhancing those locations we help these vital organizations in their work and bring renewed hope to their efforts. The benefits are far-ranging, helping not only the people being served by the non-profit, but also empowering and inspiring workers, volunteers of the groups and the communities around them.”

When asked how a potential selection could help the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, president and CEO Bill Rider said, “This is the kind of project and collaboration that would allow us to breathe new life and opportunities into a great living space, inspire and educate the workers, the volunteers and the community, while having an empowering effect on the immediate neighborhood.”

Following the visits, Building On Hope will review formal applications and make a selection. The winning nonprofit will be selected by late April.

Every two years, Building On Hope takes on a new challenge, rallying volunteers, gathering resources and focusing attention on a projected selected for its potential to create enduring positive change for the immediate community and the state as a whole.

In May, nearly 200 Building On Hope volunteers and dozens of companies collaborated in a $300,000 effort to transform Opportunity Networks’ facility in Amherst, NH, an organization that serves over 100 adults ranging in age from 20 to 60 who live with acquired and developmental disabilities.  With little more than basic updating and maintenance in the past 30 years, the 6,000 square foot, 11 Caldwell Drive location in Amherst was is in desperate need of repair. A total of 12 rooms were transformed to promote healthy and independent living skills, employment and learning, to pursuit of interests, and general needs. Volunteers aided in  the creation of a movement room, a tech theater, creative center, administrative offices, function and conference rooms, kitchen, cafeteria, and more.

In 2012 Building On Hope volunteers worked around the clock to bring new life into the 27 year-old Girls Inc. Manchester Girls Center building that had previously been a church. Each day approximately 100 at-risk girls attend the Manchester Girls Center to benefit from a program that handles challenging issues facing girls each day, ranging from personal safety, economic literacy, and media messages to health concerns. Renovations of the old building consisted of numerous interior and exterior improvements including: a new roof and windows; landscaping and playground area; heating and cooling upgrades; updated bathrooms, new library and play areas; creation of office space; and a new kitchen. Total labor and material donations exceeded $250,000.

In 2010 Building On Hope completed its inaugural $250,000 renovation and dedication of The Krol House, a 1930’s home in Manchester used by Easter Seals NH as a residential home for boys with special needs. When Build on Hope finished making the necessary renovations, the White House exterior was stripped and resided and had new windows installed. The interior had fresh paint, new furniture for all of the rooms and bedrooms, and new baseboard heating and a high efficiency boiler. The grounds were updated with a handicap accessible ramp at the entrance and fence on the North end of the property, and new asphalt and a basketball hoop so the boys could play. Building on Hope was the recipient of a $5,000 grant and wide recognition from The Pepsi Refresh Project, which awarded millions of dollars in grants to individuals, groups and other organizations for getting “inspired” ideas off the ground.

About Building On Hope

Building On Hope is a community organization of volunteers who work with builders, architects and designers to provide physical improvements to facilities associated with non-profit service groups. Building On Hope was formed in 2009 and consists of the following individuals: Co-chairs Jonathan Halle, Warrenstreet Architects & Karen Van Der Beken, Easter Seals NH;  Rick Broussard, New Hampshire Magazine; Emily Shakra, Nick Shakra Real Estate; E.J. Powers, Montagne Communications; Sam Maltais, SilverTech; June Vailas; Melissa West, LKM Design; Lorrie Determann, LTD Company; Tom Farrell, Easter Seals NH; Greg Rehm, Liberty Hill Construction; Cathy Duffy Cullity, Girls Inc; Jon Krygeris, Eckman Construction; Craig Liffner, Sullivan Construction, Kyle Barker, Barker Architects; Dave Waldman, B2B Video; and Jeff Feingold, New Hampshire Business Review, and Sue Bee.

To learn more about Building On Hope please visit www.buildingonhope.com

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!