Milford Thrives: Non-profit to focus on community connection

MILFORD – Milford Thrives, a new non-profit, 501 (c) 3 was recently launched to focus on building a healthy, resilient, connected community.

Co-founded and spearheaded by New Hampshire state rep Joelle Martin and Nancy Amato, a longtime Milford resident, the program will be a place where young children can be exposed to a healthy, nurturing environment and where community members — children, young adults, families and seniors — can feel well connected.

Milford Strives’ goal is also to make citizens aware of how to protect the local environment.

“There are three major areas of programming,” said Martin. “The young child — birth to five, before they get to schools, the environment and community in general. One of other gap analyses that the United Way of Greater Nashua did was to really look at our seniors, so that’s area that where vying for our future. We want to make sure that seniors are thriving and that they feel connected and they’re getting the support that they need.”

The grant funding was through a preschool development grant and was administered through the United Way of Greater Nashua.

“It basically has three components to it,” Martin continued. “It has a ‘welcome baby’ program, so every single baby born to a family that lives in Milford, will get welcomed, with a card, and a gift coupon and they came come in here. Joan Dargie at the Town Hall is also alerting them to the program so we’re working with all the partners. She’s been great. The library is partnering with us, with a bookmark with all the story times.”

Martin said a big part of this program is this service, as it’s going to be a website that basically connects them to resources for parents for young kids.

“It’s going to have a community resources section that will point them to childcare, referrals, it will help them understand options in Milford” she said. “It has a parenting corner with tips, a child development section — so really help, for example, birth to 3.”

Martin and company researched the program for years.

“I was a preschool teacher and I have a master’s in special education,” she said. “Two or three years ago, I met with Nancy McGuire, who was the principal of Jacques Memorial then, and the director of special services; and Mike Hatfield, who is still there. They said, ‘there are kids showing up for first day of kindergarten who fell through the cracks. The parents didn’t get the support they need.’ Then we brainstormed this.”

“Then this grant opportunity became available and I said perfect,” Martin beamed. “So, there’s the website and the community connector email, phone line, where they can call and get connected. Other than this, we are the connector. So, today we have community partners coming, SHARE, Boys and Girls Club, CAST, and then from Nashua, that’s the other big piece. A lot of Milford services are delivered in Nashua. There’s a family research center in Nashua that might have parenting classes, or home visiting programs. They’re going to be coming up here. It’s all parent driven, by their questions, and their comments on the website.”

Martin pointed out that a program like this has never existed in our area.

“We all work so well together in Milford anyway,” she continued. “We can bridge families to recovery, helping them keep the child, etc. It’s like that extra muscle in these three areas.”

Board members include Marie Toole, Celeste Barr and Mary Burdette.

“Our goal is to serve and connectors,” said Amato.

Added Martin, “We’re excited to collaborate with local community partners and serve as a resource and bridge to supports, services and information so that all Milford residents feel connected and thrive.”