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Viewpoint

From a teen in trouble to a senior in need of help

An older gentleman owns his home but can’t keep up with the household expenses. He doesn’t earn enough from his job to cover property taxes, utilities, heat, and upkeep. He doesn’t understand his health insurance and he has medical bills that need to be paid. He is confused and bewildered. He needs someone to help him figure things out.

A daughter and toddler have come back to live with her parents. The daughter is figuring out the end of a relationship which may necessitate legal action. The grandparents have experienced a recent layoff and finances are already tight. Now they have two more mouths to feed in the home. They are doing their best to support their daughter and grandchild through a hard time.

A teen finds out she is pregnant.

Welcome to 2014 at The River Center: A Family and Community Resource Center. These are folks we have talked to this first week of January at The River Center. In one day we had four individuals walk in looking for help with their job searches from our Employment Specialist. The phone has started to ring for free tax preparation appointments. There have been more questions about health insurance. Folks have come to pick up fire wood from the Wood Bank.

The older gentleman has been connected with someone who can help him figure out a housing solution. Monadnock Service Link will help him understand his health insurance and his medical bills.

The grandparents and their daughter and grandchild have been given information on legal assistance. They have been referred to The River Center’s on-line list of community resources in the Eastern Monadnock Region at www.factbook.rivercenter.us. The daughter and grandchild have been encouraged to join a parenting class.

The pregnant teen is talking with our Home Visitor. If she decides to be part of the home visiting program, she will receive support during and after her pregnancy for both herself and the baby. She will learn about the baby’s development during the pregnancy and during the first year of life. The Home Visitor will ensure that she has proper medical care, that she has transportation to get to her appointments, that she understands the importance of good nutrition and making healthy life choices.

Has the New Year brought new challenges to your family like it has with these folks? You don’t have to face them alone. There are resources available to help you through.

The New Year has brought us two new faces at The River Center as of this month. Susan Howard, Case Manager at Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, will now be available at The River Center on Tuesdays and Thursday for information and referral to local resources. She can help answer your questions about housing, food assistance, and other community resources. The second new face is Audrey Roman, Marketplace Assister from Monadnock Service Link. Audrey will be at The River Center on Wednesdays to assist individuals with applications for the new health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act. Both Susan and Audrey will enable The River Center to better serve our community.

And don’t forget, Saturday is the official beginning of the Tax Season at The River Center. Over two dozen volunteers are trained, tested and ready to prepare tax returns for our community. This tax program is for individuals and families with low and moderate income or those for whom paying a tax preparer would be a hardship. Call The River Center to make an appointment at 924-6800 and please help spread the word.

The mission of The River Center is to strengthen individuals and families in the Eastern Monadnock Region through parenting support, economic opportunity programs and community connections. We are here for you, your family, your neighbors, and this community.

Wishing you and yours a stronger, healthier, and happier 2014!

Margaret Nelson is the executive director of The River Center. Reach her at mnelson@rivercenter.us or 924-6800.

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