NH Volunteer Group Completes $300,000 Community-Funded Makeover of Facility for Adults with Disabilities

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Building On Hope rallied hundreds of volunteers, dozens of businesses for week-long renovation of Opportunity Networks. Organization previously completed $500,000 in updates for Girls Inc. & Easter Seals.

For an all-volunteer group with no funding, Building on Hope relied solely on the goodwill and generosity of Granite State businesses.

Building on Hope, a New Hampshire-based volunteer organization that collaborates with builders, architects, designers, and suppliers to provide physical improvements to non-profit facilities, recently completed 10-plus days of around-the-clock work on a $300,000 community-funded renovation of Opportunity Networks facility in Amherst, NH. Nearly 200 volunteers and dozens of companies collaborated in the effort to transform the nonprofit that serves young adults and adults who live with acquired and developmental disabilities. The transformation of Opportunity Networks was the third project undertaken by the all-volunteer group in the past five years. Building on Hope previously completed $500,000 in renovations for Easter Seals NH and Girls Inc.

“Building on Hope’s mantra ‘Many Hands Make Light Work’ was on full display throughout the past week of work and over the many months of planning to make this day become a reality,” said Jonathan Halle, co-chair of Building on Hope. “For an all-volunteer group with no funding, Building on Hope relied solely on the goodwill and generosity of Granite State businesses. The outpouring of support is indicative of the spirit of the people of New Hampshire and reminds us how good people truly are.”

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.

Past projects include the renovation and dedication of the Krol House – a 70-year-old Easter Seals NH intensive residential treatment facility for young boys – and the complete overhaul of Girls Inc. facility in Manchester that provides services, programs and meals of 100 at-risk girls each day. The combined cost of those renovations topped $500,000.

Opportunity Networks is a 34-year-old non-profit organization that provides genuine vocational opportunities and social activities that promote life enhancing skills for disabled adults in the Southern New Hampshire. Over the past year Opportunity Networks provided services to 101 handicapped individuals ranging in age from their early 20’s to late 60’s.

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. Over the past several months, Building on Hope organized volunteers and solicited donations from dozens of businesses to help with the renovation. The Extreme Makeover-type renovation was completed and over 200 guests celebrated a reveal day on May 18th.

“Building on Hope has allowed dreams to come true for many who would otherwise not be awarded this opportunity,” said Rocky Morelli, executive director of Opportunity Networks. “We now have the highest quality resources available to enhance the lives of individuals faced with the daily challenges of having a disability. This new facility will allow us to work with each individual and their families to customize a dynamic and productive routine based on their personal needs. Our new space addresses everything we are trying to accomplish and so much more – something that is not very common in the human service world.”

A total of 12 rooms were renovated. Rooms vary by purpose, from promoting 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.

Examples of the room transformations include:
Snoezelen Room – a blend of Dutch words “to explore” and “to relax,” this room provides non-directive therapy where the client, not the therapist, controls the environment and can be staged to provide a multi-sensory experience or single sensory focus, simply by adapting the lighting, atmosphere, sounds and textures to the specific needs of the client at the time of use. By using bubble tubes, lounge seating, projected images, weighted blankets, lighting and other multi-sensory objects, this space was designed for the client to explore and interact.

Creative Room – a bright and cheerful multifunctional room was designed so many creative activities could take place at the same time. A colorful wall of living plants brings beauty to the room while teaching the importance of maintaining and caring for things in nature. A potter’s wheel is used for both therapeutic and rehabilitation facilities. With the use of special clay, beautiful pottery pieces are able to be made and baked in a special oven.

Multi-Sensory Room / Technology Theatre – this room was designed for clients with varying degrees of developmental and acquired disabilities by stimulating all the senses by providing individual and group programming. The technology becomes a tool for teaching the principles of cause and effect, giving invigorating, calming and realistic experiences which bring alive the experience of theatre. As a multi-function space, the large theatre allows for Opportunity Networks to develop new programming, impact communications, and provide a stage for self-expression.

Renovations will also allowed for expanded hours to further support families, provide after school programming and high school transition services.

With a third project finished, hundreds of engaged volunteers and $800,000 in community-funded renovations, Building on Hope is setting its sights on the next project that will help improve the lives of people living in New Hampshire.

Visit http://www.buildingonhope.org to learn more about the organization, donate or sign up to volunteer.

More photos are available at http://www.facebook.com/buildingonhope.

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 http://www.buildingonhope.org.

About Opportunity Networks
Opportunity Networks is a Non-Profit Organization serving Souhegan Valley and Greater Nashua young adults and adult residents who live with acquired and developmental disabilities. Opportunity Networks was founded in 1979 and its administrative office is led by: Executive Director, Rocky Morelli; Associate Director, George Barrett; Melissa Boyle, and Ann Goci. To learn more about Opportunity Networks please visit http://www.opportunitynetworks.org.

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E.J. Powers
Montagne Communications
+1 (603) 644-3200 Ext: 11
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