View From the River: Nisa Simila  -- Connections are important 

  • Nisa Simila —COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 5/17/2022 11:19:46 AM
Modified: 5/17/2022 11:17:59 AM

River Center families know that connection is at the heart of all of our programs: parents connecting with other parents, children playing with other children and parents building stronger connections with their children. Our group facilitators plan age-appropriate activities that allow children to explore and provide parents with the opportunity to meet and discuss topics important to them and their families. 

There is another kind of connection that is often overlooked. We are so lucky to live in the Monadnock Region – where people come to play in our lakes, our mountains and more – but often we all just want a change of scenery. If you find yourself taking a staycation, have a break between camps or just want to meet new families, programs at the River Center provide opportunities for families to connect with our community. 

Mackenzie Nichols, our family support specialist, runs the Baby and Me group Mondays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. for parents-to-be in their third trimester to those with children up to 24 months. Parents keep an eye on their playing children while gathering for casual discussions with other grownups. While the group had a growing waitlist for its indoor program, warmer temperatures mean the group can meet outside and more families can join in.  

Mackenzie and children’s teacher Nicole Daniels are extending the weekly Mini Explorers program with the new Summer Explorers, which is for all ages, but the focus is on families with children ages 3 to 9. This has been one of our most-popular programs because of the great time everyone has getting together with other families. Children can run, jump, climb and get dirty while exploring places like the Hiroshi Loop Trail, MacDowell Dam and more. 

Nicole and parent educator Kelli Tourgee will be running another popular program on Wednesdays -- Families, Forests, and Farms – from the end of June to the end of August. Families will go on summer adventures such as berry-picking, visiting the animals at the farm, exploring beautiful Rhododendron State Park and ending in a wrap-up celebration in August. Families get to visit places they may not have otherwise visited before or experience familiar locations in a group setting.

Mackenzie and Nicole hope you’ll join them for special family events, too. The first is a family picnic and s’mores night at Adams Playground Friday, June 10. You bring your picnic, and we supply the s’mores. In August, they are planning another family movie night. 

In addition to these summer programs, Our See the Able Not the Label support group for parents of children with different needs meets the first and third Wednesdays over Zoom. We also have ongoing services such as money coaching, home visiting and resource referrals available to anyone who wants or needs assistance.. 

Our programs not only allow families many opportunities to connect with other families and each other, but also with resources found in the region. There are so many beautiful locations and enjoyable outings to be had, and exploring our own backyard gives us opportunities to build stronger connections with our community. This makes us feel as though we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. It makes us feel safe and secure where we live, allowing us to adapt and recover from stressful events because there is support and caring beyond our own homes. So connect with us at or give us a call at 603-924-6800 and we can suggest a program that is right for you and your family. 

NisaSimila is communications and money matters coordinator at The River Center. 


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