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View from the River: There’s plenty that’s right in our world



Tuesday, February 20, 2018 9:34AM

What others think of us matters. Really.

We try to say it doesn’t matter. We act as if we don’t care. But the fact remains. Positive words that affirm who we are and what we do have a positive impact on us as individuals and I dare say, as organizations.

Case in point: The River Center was named 2017 Nonprofit of the Year by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce this past March. We are pleased. We are honored by this award. Our community thinks we are doing something worthwhile. The result: We are working hard to live up to this title.

Last week we traveled to Concord where we were recognized as a Family Resource Center of Quality, the highest recognition a family resource center can receive in New Hampshire. As staff, we spent nine months working through this application process, submitting our application to the New Hampshire Wellness and Primary Prevention Council in August. The review team, “could see the dedication that the staff had toward their clients, community and the agency. They are all very proud to be working for The River Center and proud of the programming they have been able to offer through the Center.” They mentioned, “An unequivocal strength… the partnerships and collaboration which The River Center has worked hard to establish and maintain.” “The review team applauds The River Center for their commitment to the families of the Monadnock Region.” I am not ashamed to say, these positive words make us stand a little taller, we view ourselves and our programs with more confidence. We are bolder in our strategies. We are encouraged to continue supporting individuals and families in our region. We are thankful.

Another boost came from New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. At the end of 2016 they awarded The River Center a three-year general operating grant totaling $60,000 to be received at $20,000 per year. The NH Charitable Foundation knows us well. We have many conversations over the years – through good times and not so good times. They are not looking at us with rose colored glasses. Yet, they are willing to take a calculated risk on us – a three-year commitment for funding. They are telling us through this generous funding that what we do matters and they like the direction we are heading. We are determined to prove we are worthy of their trust.

Positive words matter. Children who hear positive, affirmative words from their parents and other important adults thrive. Mom thinks I did a good job dealing with my little brother’s tantrum this morning. She liked the way I didn’t fight back. I must be good at tough situations. Dad said he wanted me to help the next time one of the bikes needs to be fixed. He said I am a good problem solver. Every kid wants to hear they are good at something. For that matter, every adult wants to hear positive words too. And I give you, every organization – be they for profit businesses or nonprofits. We all want to know what we are doing right.

It can be challenging to stop long enough to notice and then to comment on what someone is doing well. It doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment. It might be a simple, thoughtful act that brings a smile. Positive words do make a difference and we all need to hear them – whether we are a toddler, a teenager, a spouse, a local business, a teacher, or a local nonprofit. Let’s think about giving out some positive words. Tell a local business how vital they are to our economy. Thank a teacher with specific thoughts on how they have helped your child. Tell your children how great they are – and be specific.

On behalf of the staff, board and volunteers of The River Center Family and Community Resource Center, thank you for your kind and encouraging words.

Margaret E. Nelson is Executive Director of The River Center.