Sanford was honored to meet with the winners of our March charity contest: Animal Rescue Network of New England (ARNNE)!
Sanford was honored to meet with the winners of our March charity contest: Animal Rescue Network of New England (ARNNE)!
ARNNE has rescued thousands of dogs since its inception in 2001, doing its part to reduce the 8-10 million animals that are euthanized each year simply because there are not enough good homes out there. Its mission is to create a unified network of shelters and rescue organizations throughout New England in order to combat the problem of pet overpopulation. ARNNE provides care and shelter for rescued homeless dogs and places them in loving new homes, while also working to educate the public about pet overpopulation. It’s common practice to kill animals in shelters in order to make room for new ones, even though a shelter across town or across state lines might have room for adoptions. Too often, a pet loses an opportunity to find a “forever” home because it sits waiting just a few miles away!
Where do all these lovable pooches come from?
Some come from high kill shelters in southern states where there is a deficiency of spaying and neutering and dogs are allowed to roam free; the result is overcrowded shelters that euthanize dogs. Other times, owners surrender their dogs because they get sick, or can’t afford them any longer, or even pass away. This creates a situation in which dogs need good homes, dogs like Ed, who was given up at age 3 because the owner lived in a city and didn’t realize he’d get so big. His next owner eventually couldn’t take care of him either, due to a change in life situation, so he was rescued by ARNNE at age 11. Or Foxy, who just arrived from Texas at 10 years old, and was lucky enough to get adopted right away.
ARNNE dogs range from puppy to senior, so it’s likely there’s a furry friend out there for just about anyone!
People like President Donna Clark (founder) keep ARNNE going with volunteers like Mary and Jen. Others help put dogs into foster care so they can await new homes.
If you you’re looking for that special frenfluffable friend, or just want to donate, then please consider ARNNE. A little goes a long way!
ARNNE hosts a Pet Adoption Day about once a month at the First Congregation Church in Pelham, NH from 11 am—2 pm. Shelters from all over New England and beyond unite to interact with the public and show the pets available for adoption, and these animals desperately need your help.
Contact ARNNE today, or take a peek at the dogs they currently have for adoption.
The Robots are Coming! The Robots are Coming!
The robots are coming! The robots are coming … and for Phoenix Robotics, that’s great news. Team Phoenix, a group of about 60 students from the Greater Nashua Area, were the winners of Sanford’s Community Commitment charity donation in April.
These amazing students compete in a game in which their custom-built robots race to perform tasks faster and more efficiently than their competitors. But they don’t just build a robot. That’d be too easy! These students are responsible for marketing, fundraising, and constructing their robot in six weeks or less in order to meet the stringent rules of the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition (FRC), a competition that has been hailed as “the varsity sport for the mind.”
What kind of competition is it? Check out this video. You won’t believe how cutting-edge it is!
The robots designed for the competition are large and complicated, weighing as much as 120 pounds, and the development project is “as close to real-world engineering that the student can get, including all the constraints of a real-world engineering project,” says the Team Phoenix website. Members of Team Phoenix come from home school groups, private schools, and the Academy for Science and Design, and they’re dedicated to building robots that compete in these national and international competitions.
Take a peek at their robot from the 2015 competition, which had to stack and move a series of 50-pound totes and containers.
Phoenix Robotics offers one-of-a-kind job skills and real-world experience to students at a time when society is well on its way into what some have dubbed the Second Machine Age. Robotics “will have implications stretching across all professions,” and even the definition of “robot” has evolved, as “artificial intelligence applications have pushed the boundary of what a robot is and can do.” For instance, Google recently won a patent to start building worker robots with personalities, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just like the titans of the industry, the student membership of Phoenix Robotics will continue to compete and innovate, because for them, the robo-future is now.
A Hidden Gem: Merrimack PTA Kindergarten and Preschool
Sanford Temperature Control was honored to donate $500 to the Merrimack PTA Kindergarten and Preschool in May!
This “hidden gem” first opened its doors in 1961, and for the last 55 years has been educating children through a combination of learning through play, expanding social relationships, and learning through teacher and child-directed activities.
In fact, the Merrimack PTA Kindergarten and Preschool offered kindergarten before public kindergarten even existed! Since then, it’s been an educational staple in the Reed’s Ferry district of Merrimack, and a significant number of children who attend the school are now sent there because their parents attended as children.
One of the biggest hurdles the organization faces is the upkeep of its 125-year-old building. It’s full of personality, but as many homeowners know, that personality sometimes comes with certain challenges. While the organization keeps its costs under control, they “always have a large list of to-do items,” says PTA Director Michelle Desmarais. So it made Sanford feel pretty good about being able to donate to this cause, since the PTA can now offset the cost of replacing the ramp to their school with Sanford’s charitable donation.
Anyone who meets Desmarais can tell right away that she’s passionate about her job and everything about the school. “I absolutely love being able to help families find a quality early childhood education for their children. We are so passionate in making sure that each child receives the exact care that they need.” The organization strives to provide for many more years to come,” says Desmarais.
Ultimately, the PTA strives to continue to offer “a quality education experience” for another 55 years, and Sanford Temperature Control offers them the best of luck in doing so!
Nashua Art Gallery Showcases Local Talent
Laura Barry, Webmaster NAAA; right center. Jackie Barry, Greeley Park Art Show Chair; right)
Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
The Nashua Area Artists’ Association, a non-profit, all-volunteer educational organization, has been living up to these words by helping local artists and residents experience great art since 1951. The association showcases the work from its 80-100 members at a gallery tucked neatly into street-level suite at 30 Temple Street, Nashua, revealing considerable talent from well-renowned artists recognized both locally and internationally. The sheer volume of inventory and variation of artistic mediums is certainly impressive, which includes oils, pastels, photography, watercolor, and jewelry, just to name a few.
But the Nashua Area Artists’ Association isn’t only focused on showcasing the work of its members. Open to artists of all levels, it provides valuable services to the community in particular and to the spirit of the arts in general by engaging in community outreach efforts to ensure that art remains an important part of our society and culture. For instance, the association spearheads scholarships for high school students interested in pursuing the arts at the university level. It also helps struggling artists find their artistic groove, whether it’s helping with the cost of supplies for artists such as Ron Woods, an armed forces veteran and aspiring photographer, or providing artistic development and mentoring.
The association also spearheads several events throughout the year, and one of the biggest is just around the corner! The Greeley Park Art Show, now in its 63rd year, gives local artists of all ages a chance to showcase their work and compete in local events, such as art shows for adults and youths. The two-day event gives the community a chance to experience many artistic mediums, learn valuable lessons, enjoy positive reinforcement, and be exposed to new techniques and artistic perspectives.
The Greeley Park Art Show provides critical support for the association. “The arts don’t get funding,” says Lauren Boss, President of the Nashua Area Artists’ Association. The art show provides much-needed exposure for the cause of advancing the arts in the local community and beyond, and serves as an important buoy for artistic culture in an accelerating world of digital change.
The gallery also experiences its own change about every two months. Dutiful staff members rotate the entire inventory, which given the size of the gallery, is an achievement in and of itself.
The association ultimately seeks to continue to grow its membership and increase its scholarships. There are currently two scholarships available for high school students going to college to study the arts.
Sanford Donates to Only Autism Day School in NH
Since 2000, the number of children with autism in New Hampshire has increased more than six fold. This means that a growing number of children and youth with autism in our local communities need help.
The Birchtree Center in Newington, NH (winner of Sanford Temperature Control’s $500 charity donation), has grown from a tiny nonprofit school serving just four students with autism to one that serves more than 120 students per year. Supporting 23 public school districts in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, The Birchtree Center is unique in that it operates the only special educational day school in New Hampshire that exclusively enrolls students with autism.
Jessica Squier, Director of Development & Community Relations, has seen first-hand the difference in students with autism when they get the support they need. “Students learn to communicate, to read, to shop for groceries, and much more. Students with autism need extra support to make this progress, but they’re able to do so much!” says Squier.
(The Birchtree Center exists to promote independence, engaging relationships,
and productive lives for children and youth with autism at home, at school,
and in the community. Photo courtesy of The Birchtree Center.)
Members of the center do not refer to their students as autistic, but rather as “children and youth with autism.” The distinction may seem minor, but Squier says the choice of descriptors is actually very important because “what we call ourselves and how we refer to our children is of primary importance.” There’s a difference between being challenged with autism and being defined by autism, says Squier.
The talented and dedicated staff at Birchtree truly go above and beyond to meet the needs of students and families. For instance, their autism experts travel over 25,000 miles per year to help students in their schools and in their homes, while the organization also offers admission-free Autism Workshops and Q&As for parents, educators, and service providers. Most of their 63-member staff are college-educated Clinical Instructors who work one-on-one with students.
(At The Birchtree Center’s day school in Newington,
autism experts work one-on-one with students with autism. Photo courtesy of The Birchtree Center.)
The Birchtree center receives tuition and service fees from school districts, agencies, and health insurance providers, but these fees don’t cover the full cost of Birchtree’s vital, one-on-one services. Donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, and organizations help underwrite the therapeutic equipment, teaching technology, classroom supplies, and expert instruction that are critical to fulfilling students’ needs.
(Sanford’s $500 donation will help fund educational field trips this fall for
Birchtree’s students with autism. Photo courtesy of The Birchtree Center)
Do you know someone challenged by autism? Visit www.birchtreecenter.org for information about upcoming admission-free Autism Workshops and Q&As for parents, educators, and service providers.
Sanford Sponsors Milford Pumpkin Festival
Sanford was a proud sponsor of the 27th Annual Milford Pumpkin Festival! Take a look at a few of our pics from this awesome event.
The Greatest Charity in Greater Derry?
For the last 28 years, Community Caregivers of Greater Derry (Loaner’s Closet) has been assisting the frail, elderly, temporarily or permanently disabled, and individuals dealing with chronic illness. The organization consists of two main branches of free public service that provide support and assistance to help people maintain independence in their home environments: a Volunteer Caregiving Program and the Loaner’s Closet.
The Volunteer Caregiving Program supplies visitation, transportation, errands, chores, limited respite care, and referral information to residents in need. Its 100 or so volunteer drivers make the 60-80 drives per week a reality for those in need, providing transportation to medical, dental, and behavioral health appointments. For one-on-one care, the Caregivers can match elderly residents with someone to do just about any of the aforementioned tasks . . . and then some!
The other major branch of the program is the ever-popular Loaner’s Closet. Through donations and fundraising, the Caregivers are able to loan out medical equipment and personal items to individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford or acquire them.
“Anything from a cane to higher equipment can be found at the Loaner’s Closet,” says Office Coordinator Julie Levesque.
The best part about the Loaner’s Closet may be that all equipment loans are free of charge! All the organization asks is that it is returned when it is no longer needed. Local healthcare professionals, occupational and physical therapists, and visiting nurses can also borrow equipment for their clients if residents are unable to visit or contact the Caregivers themselves.
All donated items are evaluated, accepted, and cleaned for potential borrowers, who can call the office at 603-432-0877, view their website, or visit their location at 1 B Commons Drive #10 Londonderry, NH 03053, if they need assistance. If certain equipment isn’t available, then interested borrowers can be put on a waiting list until their items are available.
The Caregivers have developed an impressive 450+ network of volunteers over the years, which are managed by the five upbeat and dedicated individuals who staff the office in. Staff members oversee the client, volunteer, financial, and day-to-day operation of the agency. The organization has been so successful, and local communities so supportive, that they are able to donate their overflow to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Zimbabwe a few times a year.
“Nothing goes into a landfill,” says Levesque.
They can even coordinate the donation of items that may be too large for the Loaner’s Closet, such as ambulances and hospital beds, to residents or agencies in need. While the Caregivers have no geographic restrictions, most of their services aid residents of Derry, Londonderry, Windham, Sandown, Chester, Hampstead and Danville (at no charge); most of its borrowers come from New Hampshire.
The size and scope of the organization means that it’s always in the need of more volunteers. Please visit https://comcaregivers.org/volunteers/ for current opportunities, or call the office to inquire about how you can help.
In the Race Against Extinction, Every Pony Counts
Only 250 breeding Newfoundland Ponies are left on this planet, and 13 of these critically endangered ponies are thriving in Jaffrey, NH because they live under an umbrella of protection. Emily Chetkowski, President of Villi Poni Farm, became a champion for this gentle, loving breed after buying a Newfoundland Pony as a companion for her old half Clydesdale horse.
“In a few short months, [my pony’s] full-blooded sister came up for sale. Six months after that, their Registered Newfoundland mother came up for sale. Then an injured Newfoundland stallion needed help. And so it began,” says Chetkowski.
Villi Poni Farm was the winner of SANFORD’S COMMUNITY COMMITMENT in November, earning a $500 charity donation!
Chetkowski quickly fell in love with the breed, and as she learned about how critically endangered Newfoundland Ponies are, she became convinced that they’re a breed worth saving.
Chetkowski and the volunteers that help run Villi Poni Farm are striving to “cultivate suitable, conservation minded homes for Newfoundland Ponies, and to grow the herd slowly and carefully,” says Chetkowski. “This isn’t just about numbers of ponies nor how quickly we can increase their numbers. First and foremost is the welfare of each and every pony. That, in turn, translates to the welfare of the entire breed. Long term, we envision a strong Newfoundland Pony owner/breeder community here in New England.”
It’s a lofty, yet attainable goal, as Villi Poni Farm has already saved about 100 ponies in the last three years by utilizing a network of carefully selected foster farms.
History of the Newfoundland Pony
Historical and social realities have placed an enormous strain on the Newfoundland Pony. The breed’s temperament made them ideally suited as workhorses for Newfoundlanders, as these all-purpose ponies displayed stamina, strength, intelligence, courage, obedience, willingness and common sense. They were used for plowing, hauling fishing nets, gathering hay, carrying and hauling wood, and for transportation.
Thousands of Newfoundland ponies once roamed Newfoundland, Canada, but in the 1960s, the ponies were displaced by technology. ATVs, tractors, snowmobiles and other mechanical equipment increasingly took over the work these lovable animals performed.
Soon, the ponies came to be viewed as a nuisance, and they were fenced out of peoples’ gardens.
“Fencing laws were enacted and breeding was discouraged. Many ponies were sold by their owners who thought they were going to new homes, but in fact most were sent to horse slaughter and meat processing plants in Quebec. They were taken off the island by the tractor trailer load,” says Chetkowski.
Tainted pony meat is often sold to unsuspecting consumers, which continues to strain the breed as well.
“No matter how people feel about horse slaughter, pro or con, there is one fact that cannot be disputed. Horses not raised specifically and carefully for human consumption are not palatable, period,” says Chetkowski. “Horses that are raised for meat in Europe are raised under strict regulations. There are many drugs that they cannot ever have. One such drug, known in the horse world as Bute, an equivalent to our Ibuprofen, is commonly given to horses. Bute given even once to an equine, never leaves their body. When consumed by humans, it causes blood dyscrasia, one of them being Leukemia. Many unsuspecting people eat this essentially poisoned meat, thinking it is safe to eat when it is not. There is no way to know if an equine headed to slaughter has had Bute in its lifetime or not unless that animal was raised specifically for meat where certain drugs are prohibited. It is simply NOT fit for consumption, yet the industry still thrives and turns a blind eye,” says Chetkowski.
With no conservations mechanisms in place, and a demand for pony meat in existence, the breed never recovered from the government initiative that decimated its population, and remains critically endangered to the present day. Chetkowski says that “initial attempts to save this breed meant breeding as much as possible and selling ponies. There was little follow-up, and basically no teaching on conservation and preservation. Ponies are passed from home to home as children grow out of them. These ponies become lost and end up in situations like most of our herd did before [Villi Poni Farm was] formed. Many never reproduced. The breed’s numbers are not effectively rising because of this.”
Villi Poni Farm and other conservation breeders strive to replace an animal with one offspring and then add one more to the population, but because of their tragic history, Newfoundland Ponies have very few breeding offspring. Chetkowski is often approached by people seeking to adopt a pet pony, but the mission at Villi Poni Farm is to grow the breed, not sell ponies per se.
“Rare breeds aren’t nor should they be for everyone,” says Chetkowski. “Educating and facilitating breed conservation awareness is a key component to the preservation and restoration of this breed. We never sell ponies and none of our current herd is available for adoption. However, the foals of these ponies will be available for adoption through our one-of-a-kind breeding program.”
Chetkowski’s program is designed to cultivate conservation knowledge and “safe homes” for the Newfoundland Pony through mentoring. New owners are expected to breed responsibly, and the ponies remain under Villi Poni Farm’s umbrella of protection for life.
If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.newfoundlandponies.org.
A Visit to MAYHEM Central
I’ll bet you never built a robot quite like Lady Launch-a-Lot when you were a kid!
One of our favorite times of the month is when we get to meet the winners of our Community Commitment, and December’s winner was a special treat.
MAYHEM First Robotics Team (also known as Milford Area Youth Homeschoolers Enriching Minds), a team of local high school students, blew us away with a live demonstration of their robot, the aptly named Lady Launch-a-Lot. Lady’s goal? To pick up, aim, and launch balls at targets while competing against another robot and navigating an obstacle course. The students built their robot virtually from scratch in less than six weeks to compete in robotics competitions across the state and even nationwide.
Students must follow strict guidelines and use limited resources to “raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get,” says the FIRST Robotics website. FIRST Robotics competitions have been billed as “the ultimate sport for the mind.”
Talk about a challenge!
Per FIRST Robotics rules, Team MAYHEM (one of the best acronyms I’ve come across in a while) had six weeks to build Lady to compete in an competitive season which can last up to an additional six weeks. During the “build” portion of the season, Team MAYHEM met every day except Sunday, displaying an impressive level of dedication and mental ability.
Lady can operate under manual control or automatically, and she is equipped with wi-fi technology, but she also boasts a variety of special features, such as:
Image Processing Unit – This device measures the distance between targets, reading the reflection off of special tape placed on targets and obstacles.
Linear Puncher – The launching mechanism uses about 100 pounds of force, and is equipped with a special, super strong cord which it uses to launch balls up to 15 feet forward and up to 9 feet up.
Arched Wheels – Lucy’s middle wheels are higher than her front and back wheels, which makes it easier for her to drive over obstacles.
Lady weighs up to 150 pounds with batteries, and can reach speeds of up to 10 mph.
Note: Team MAYHEM also used a 3D printer to create low pressure mounts so Lady could stop chewing the teeth off her gears. They built that, too, from a kit.
Sanford’s Community Commitment donation will surely help fund the creation of an even more impressive robot in 2017. We wish Team MAYHEM the best of luck!
We do have one question, however: are any of them looking for a job?
Sanford Temperature Control Donates $17,000 to Charity
Nashua Charity Offers Hope and Job Placement to the Homeless
Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission, winner of Sanford Temperature Control’s monthly Community Commitment contest (February 2017), has been offering hope to the homeless, the addicted, and those less fortunate for the last 13 years. The largest single emergency shelter in Nashua serves meals to 40-60 people daily, but its mission goes far beyond providing nutritious food for the needy.
The emergency shelter provides up to 21 nights of continuous shelter to those in need, during which visitors can receive basic care management, gain access to community resources, and are encouraged to enter the Transitional Employment Program, or the R12 Christian Discipleship program. The mission provides an invaluable service in the form of professional development, such as resume building, job placement, and access to vital resources such as the internet, as well as providing basic supplies such as clean towels, blankets, pillows, clothes, toiletries and more.
The Transitional Employment Program is a robust transitional work program, designed not only to benefit the homeless, but also to aid employed men who find themselves struggling with homelessness, and to prepare them for managing permanent housing.
The R12 Christian Discipleship program also seeks to transition the homeless into permanent housing and long-term employment, while also spreading its faith-based message of salvation through a relationship with Christ. Men dedicated to this program commit to one year of helping the mission, serving the community, and studying biblical teachings. In exchange, they are housed in the Disciple Room, a large room with bunkbeds, amenities, and workstations at which they can prepare themselves to move back into society.
Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission spreads its faith-based message of salvation through biblical teachings, providing critical emotional and spiritual support to the needy. Pastor Montel Wilder of the Grace Baptist Church in Pepperell, MA, who runs the bible study programs within the mission, says, “I consider myself honored to be able to come here and minister.”
The mission has helped people like Shawn Terry, Kitchen Assistant of Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission, who also has a full-time job, overcome his personal challenges to get off the streets and succeed.
“The mission saved my life,” says Terry. “It offers a stable place, accountability, and we’re open all day, every day. We offer the compassion that enables people to heal.”
It’s impossible not to get a positive vibe from staff members like Terry; it’s a vibe driven by a genuine passion for helping those in need.
“I was placed here to minister to the homeless,” says Rick Rutter, Executive Director of Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission for the last 4 years. “We comfort others with the comfort we’ve received from God. We offer hope.”
Unlike a traditional soup kitchen, visitors are held accountable for their actions if they seek to secure the long-term support of the mission. The mission is a “dry shelter,” meaning drugs and alcohol are forbidden; everyone is given a breathalyzer test every morning, and must pass it in order to remain within the mission.
Currently, the mission can only support men, but Rutter and his dedicated team hope to expand their services to aid women as well.
“Sixty percent of the calls we get are for women, but we can’t help them yet,” says Rutter. He explains that many women are coming out of hardship or abusive situations and can’t, or don’t want to be, housed with men. Rutter and his staff are seeking ways to expand their services to include these women.
Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission is funded entirely by individual, church, business and foundation contributions and grants; it receives no federal, state, or county money. As a result, the mission is actively seeking individuals/groups to host food drives, sock drives, or underwear drives.
“These are things which help to provide for the men who stay with us overnight, and help keep our overhead down,” says Rutter.
More information can be found at: https://www.hope4nashua.org/.
The mission is also actively seeking volunteers and monetary donations. Your support helps fund things such as breakfast every morning, lunch on Monday, and Wednesday to Friday, and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
Tuesday afternoons are reserved for their Gift Center, a weekly event from 1 pm – 4 pm in which staff distribute items such as food and clothing to the needy, to help them get what they need to get back into the workforce, or just to make ends meet.
Please consider supporting this wonderful charity today! For more information, visit: http://nashuarescuemission.org.
Sanford is a “PAL” to Nashua Kids’ Charity
Nashua Police Athletic League, affectionately known as PAL among local residents, has been helping kids stay off the streets and offering them a better future by bringing out their own innate abilities since 1989.
“We’re here to help break the cycle of crime,” says Shaun Nelson, Executive Director of Nashua Police Athletic League since 2007. “About twenty-six percent of the crime that happens in Nashua takes place within a mile of here,” he says of the charity’s location at 52 Ash Street.
In order to combat some of the harsher realities of life for poor and disenfranchised kids, the charity provides an oasis of positivity where they can learn, grow, and learn to embrace a strong mental attitude that will help them conquer their challenges in life. PAL also provides academic, athletic, and emotional mentorship that helps them meet specific goals and needs. They learn self-empowerment through PAL’s programs.
Staff members and volunteers lead by example, encouraging kids to pursue positive values and activities, such as community support through service projects, like the creation of a Community Garden along the nearby Nashua Rail Trail. The kids also get the support and develop the confidence they need to pursue good grades, and learn to help those in need, including other kids. The bonds these kids form with others and their community are invaluable in creating pathways through which they can better themselves, and ultimately overcome whatever life throws at them.
Nashua PAL serves about 2,500 kids citywide, with 400-500 enrolled in programs at their main building at 52 Ash Street. About 60-75 kids come to this facility every day, making it a critical resource for the city of Nashua. Some kids come every day, some come a few times a week, and others come for specific programs, depending on their situations. The first hour after school is always dedicated to completing homework or reading, but after that, kids can enjoy all that the charity has to offer. In exchange for contributing to their community or themselves, kids are granted a free membership to the considerable facilities at Nashua PAL.
Outdoors, there is a basketball court, skateboard park, and the Nashua Rail Trail is just a stone’s throw away. Indoors, PAL offers a homework room, media room, library and reading room, computer and internet access, dance classes, crafts, a game room, and a boxing and exercise facility. In fact, their boxing facility is a USA Boxing Certified gym, and the sheer volume of trophies on the wall is an indication of all the hard work the kids, staff members, and volunteers have put into PAL—it’s a sign of a deep affection for their community.
Perhaps most importantly, PAL teaches accountability, confidence, and self-respect. There is always a “PAL of the Month,” an award for a “stand-out” child, which might include someone who has turned it around and is now getting good grades, engaging in community service, or has excelled in one PAL’s athletic programs. They can earn recognition for their efforts, as well as small rewards, like gift certificates to local restaurants like ice cream hotspot, Hayward’s Ice Cream, or Burger King. Kids can also earn field trips.
PAL is partnered with the Nashua Police Department, which assigns a police officer to further the community policing model of getting to know local kids and families in an effort to engage with the community.
Milford Community Athletic Association Hits Home Run
Since 1957, Milford Community Athletic Association (MCAA) has been fostering a sense of community, teaching the values of good sportsmanship, and getting local kids out for some good old-fashioned fun through its baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball programs. Serving Wilton, Milford, Mont Vernon, Mason, and Lyndeborough, MCAA has succeeded in getting kids moving, teaching them teamwork, and fostering a competitive spirit.
The organization serves over 500 kids in its soccer program alone, while baseball comprises over 180 . . . and that’s not counting basketball and softball! There are multiple age-based divisions within each sport as well, which means there are a heck of a lot of moving parts within MCAA that require the attention of a legion of volunteers to do everything from staffing concessions stands, to coaching and refereeing, to lawn maintenance on the playing fields. Soccer requires up to 50 volunteers, while 25 are required for MCAA’s Baseball program. Despite this hurdle, the organization has sustained itself for 60 years through a strong spirit of local volunteerism.
It’s a stunning lesson of a community teaching it youths by example.
“It’s all for the kids,” said Rob Howard, President of Baseball for MCAA.
When asked about the challenges the organization faces, and how Sanford Temperature Control’s $500 Community Commitment donation will help the organization, Howard said: “Sponsorship and fundraising is a huge component for us. It’s how we keep registration costs down to keep our programs affordable.”
The organization is also currently seeking volunteers. “Volunteers are critical to our success,” said Jen Larco, Fundraising & Volunteer Coordinator. “Visibility is also important to make families aware of our programs, and to have as many participants as possible.”
Without the strong spirit of volunteerism from the communities it supports, MCAA would not be the robust (and fun) program that it is today. We wish them another 60 years of success!
To learn more about MCAA, or to help the organization, please visit MCAA’s website.
Spartans March to Victory in Sanford’s Community Commitment Contest
Spartans Drum & Bugle Corp began marching to the beat right here in Milford in 1955, and over the decades has continued to offer a one-of-a-kind musical experience to youths in the southern New Hampshire area, teaching the values of music, performance art, and community.
“It’s a fantastic experience. It’s like marching band times one thousand,” said seventeen-year-old Dallas Quinlan, a baritone horn player in the Spartans organization, and a local of the Nashua area.
The Spartans are a summertime corps for youths aged 14-21, who spend their summers traveling all over the country performing at concerts and parades, and competing in competitions against other corps.
To call the Spartans just a band would be a disservice to all their hard work and dedication. Over 100 Spartans perform fully choreographed and highly complex music and dance routines, moving synchronously throughout their performance, complete with a color guard. Like Cirque Du Soleil or other popular acts, the Spartans develop original performances every year to dazzle their audiences; 80% of the 2017’s show, called Connected, consists of original music.
“Every movement in the show explores some aspect of human connectivity, like the connections people make through social media,” said Quinlan.
Watch their amazing performance from last year here!
The Spartans have been known to rehearse for as many as fourteen hours in a single day leading up to a performance so that they get it perfect. It’s a dedication that has earned them the honor of performing in several inaugural parades, such as those for Carter, Reagan, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush, and one of the top color guards in the country, which has won a national championship five of the last eight years.
The Spartans truly live a tour lifestyle for the two months they’re on the road every summer. They sleep on cots and air mattresses in schools and gymnasiums, and rehearse in soccer fields and parking lots. They’re supported by four buses and two tractor trailer trucks, one of which boasts a full kitchen.
“Everything we need for the summer is on the busses or in the trucks,” said Paul LaFlamme, leader of Spartans Drum & Bugle Corp since 2009.
It’s a grueling commitment, but the Spartans are united by their passion for music and performing, and often find the rigorous schedule highly rewarding.
“As hard as it is, without a doubt it’s the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done,” said Quinlan. When you’re rehearsing 14 hours a day in the heat, you develop really strong bonds with other people.”
They are bonds that run deeper than their tour and performances, as they seek to embody their motto: Respect. Responsibility. Commitment.
“We try to uphold these tenets in everything we do,” said Quinlan. “Respect: we never swear while in uniform. For responsibility, we try to always support friends and family and the community. The commitment is in time and money, not to mention whatever else we might be doing with our summer.”
Paul LaFlamme has lead the Spartans out of the Boys & Girls Club of Nashua since 2009. Laflamme joined in 1986 and aged out in 1994, but his history with the Spartans goes much farther back; LaFlamme’s grandfather was the founder of the Spartans!
“I’ve been around it my whole life. My first memories are of being strapped in a bus and traveling around with the band,” said LaFlamme.
The Spartans are able to continue dazzling crowds because of the many volunteers who support them, and because of generous donations from local communities and businesses. The organization is supported almost entirely by volunteers, fundraisers, performance fees, and tuition.
Please check out the Spartans today at: https://spartansdbc.org/!
Sanford Donates $500 to Local Students Group
We the People represent the future of our nation. The winner of Sanford Temperature Control’s $500 Community Commitment for June was a group of 15 students at Milford High School who participated in an AP-level class that focuses on government and politics.
We the People promotes civic competence and responsibility, while illustrating the fundamental principles of American democracy. It is a national organization within the Center for Civic Education that delivers an “innovative course of instruction on the history and principles of the United States constitutional democratic republic. The program enjoys active support from state bar associations and foundations, and other educational, professional, business, and community organizations across the nation.”
Students in this class master a printed text, read materials such as the Federalist Papers and the Anti Federalists Papers, as well as many contemporary books by authors such as Akhil Amar and Laurence Tribe. Other interactive content explores the history and principles of constitutional democracy through critical-thinking and cooperative-learning exercises. The goal is for students to prepare themselves for competitions at the local and state level, while learning civic responsibility.
“The competitions are like congressional hearings where students testify, create a prepared statement, and have a free question period,” said George Hoyt, a former student of We the People, current Board Member of the Milford School District Budget Committee, as well as Board Member of the Town of Milford Recycling Committee.
Milford’s own branch of We the People has won 15 of 19 state championships!
See these brilliant young minds in action here:
Given his civic involvement, Hoyt is a prime example of how his experiences with We the People have helped shape him into a community-minded citizen.
“A lot of kids have gotten involved in politics in some way after going through the program,” said David Alcox, teacher of We the People at Milford High School. “It helps them learn to be better citizens, to get out and vote, and get involved. Many kids go on to all different types of jobs, but this is civic knowledge they can take with them.”
Since 1998, over 500 students have participated in Milford’s branch of We the People.
“Students are motivated by community involvement” said Hoyt. “They are the leaders of tomorrow.”
We here at Sanford Temperature Control, Inc. couldn’t agree more, and we’re proud to support this wonderful initiative.
An Inconceivable Team Wins Sanford’s Community Commitment
Monadnock 4-H Robotics Team Inconceivable (#1729), a F.I.R.S.T Robotics team operating out of Boynton Middle School in New Ipswich, were the winners of Sanford Temperature Control’s Community Commitment contest in July, 2017.
Sanford Temperature Control’s $500 donation will help fund the building of a robot like Fezzik, last year’s machine that took Team Inconceivable to the World Championship of F.I.R.S.T. Robotics, a competition that has been hailed as “the varsity sport for the mind.”
These amazing students compete in a game in which their custom-built robots race to perform tasks faster and more efficiently than their competitors. But they don’t just build a robot. That’d be too easy! These students are responsible for marketing, fundraising, and constructing their robot in six weeks or less in order to meet the stringent rules of the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition (FRC).
Team Inconceivable’s robot Fezzik boasts a variety of impressive abilities, such as a special drive train and the ability to climb a rope up to five feet high. These abilities helped Fezzik navigate the inconceivably difficult field of last year’s competition. Robots had to protect their castle, move into enemy territory, and shoot balls into hoops set at eight feet and two feet high in order to points. The field sported obstacles, a portcullis, and a drawbridge, among other challenges.
SEE FEZZIK IN ACTION! LIVE DEMONSTRATION!
The game is played based on a series of randomized alliances, with three robots on either team. Teams cans be allied in one match and opponents in another, therefore, it’s a pretty common sight to see one team helping another if something goes wrong with a robot prior to a match. So, while the robotics competitions are highly competitive and students pour their hearts and minds into their projects, they also learn critical life skills, such as teamwork and gracious professionalism.
Team Inconceivable may be based out of Boynton Middle School, but includes students from many surrounding towns, such as Jaffrey, Temple, Peterborough, Milford, and more. Like all F.I.R.S.T. teams, Inconceivable consists of high schoolers, but is open to kids entering their freshman year, albeit with some restrictions on what these younger students can do. Team 1729 is nine years old, and has been competing in F.I.R.S.T. robotics for over three years.
F.I.R.S.T. Robotics offers one-of-a-kind job skills and real-world experience to students that they can take with them for years to come. We look forward to hearing from these brilliant students in the future, and wish them all the best of luck.
For more information about Team Inconceivable, please visit their Facebook page.