Local residents ‘running’ for The Chase Home

As part of the Winter Warriors Challenge, nearly a dozen local residents are running to benefit youth served by The Chase Home.

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.

“We are pledging to run 3,000 miles in January and will match 10% of all donations up to 10,000,” said Matt Sawyer, one of ten runners who make up The Icarus Project.

Representing a combination of runners from the Runner’s Alley racing team and a Seacoast Long Run group, The Icarus Project is ‘on pace’ to achieving its goal.

Members of The Icarus Project getting ready for a Sunday run to benefit The Chase Home.

“The team just just cleared 800 miles and is on track for the goal,” said Sawyer, who works at The Proulx Real Estate team in Portsmouth.

As for why the group selected The Chase Home, he said many of them are parents themselves.

“We appreciate the challenges of raising children, even under optimal conditions,” he said. “We know that the kids at the Chase Home did not start with all the advantages that most of us did and they will have to overcome challenges that we can’t even imagine…We all feel good about trying to generate some support for the kids at Chase Home.”

Executive Director Meme Wheeler said she is “humbled” at the outpouring of generosity.

“We are so thankful for Matt and the entire team for literally running for our kids,” she said. “This really means so much.”

To learn more about the fundraiser, click here.

Local residents ‘running’ for The Chase Home

The Groomsmith supports youth at The Chase Home

Since opening its doors two years ago, The Groomsmith has held several fundraisers for The Chase Home, a tradition of giving that continues this holiday season with a GoFundMe fundraiser to purchase student desks.

“The Chase Home is in need of individual desks to support our kids with remote learning,” explained Meme Wheeler, executive director. “Having desks for the kids would make it much easier for their learning environment and for us to continue to socially distance at all times.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community, while others live at The Chase Home.

For Reed Maerder, answering the call for help at The Chase Home reflects a belief in the importance of social work instilled by his father.

Reed Maerder (left) and brother Zach Maerder (right) of The Groomsmith

“Growing up, our father worked in social services and still does to this day,” he said. “My brother Zach and I learned at a young age that helping others in need creates the backbone of a community. We believe that doing any act of kindness, no matter how small, is a vital part in our role in the Portsmouth community.”

In total, The Chase Home is in need of 12 desks.

“We are so grateful for Reed and his brother Zach at The Groomsmith for continuing to step up and support us, especially during this challenging year,” added Wheeler.

Acknowledging 2020 has been a difficult year, which close The Groomsmith from March to May during the stay-at home mandate, Maerder said they are focused on ensuring their clientele feels safe and comfortable. 

“Despite the hardships, we are looking forward to a prosperous future for The Groomsmith and our team members,” he added.

In addition to the online fundraiser, The Groomsmith is hosting a Holiday Raffle with 100% of the proceeds donated to The Chase Home. The raffle features one gift basket from The Groomsmith, which features a top of the line professional grade beard trimmer, and another from Jardiniere Flower. Each gift basket is valued at approximately $300.

To learn more about the GoFundMe fundraiser, visit click here.

The Groomsmith supports youth at The Chase Home

The Chase Home launches “Season of Giving”

To address shortfalls in its budget, made worse by the surging pandemic, The Chase Home in Portsmouth has launched Season of Giving, a virtual fundraiser presented by Service Credit Union.

“We are reimbursed from the state for our services, but the state does not cover the full cost,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler, who said program costs have risen due to the pandemic.

“For the kids that live here, this has been an especially tough year, but it has been difficult for the families we serve in the community, too,” she added. 

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community, while others live at The Chase Home.

This year’s virtual fundraiser, Season of Giving presented by Service Credit Union, replaces the agency’s annual Wine & Chocolate Tasting, which raised more than $80,000 last year. The goal for this year’s virtual fundraiser is $50,000.

“There are also opportunities to buy gifts for our kids, too,” said Wheeler. 

The Chase Home’s Season of Giving presented by Service Credit Union takes place through December 31. In addition to the digital component at chasehome.org/season-of-giving, the fundraiser features dozens of posters at area restaurants that include a scannable QR code by which the public can make a donation.

Executive Director Meme Wheeler with Ambassador Bill MacDonald

“We appreciate all the local restaurants who have agreed to hang our posters,” said Bill MacDonald, ambassador at The Chase Home. “We look forward to a wonderful season of giving.”

Additional supporters of Season of Giving presented by Service Credit Union include Kennebunk Savings and Great Island Realty.

“Corporate and individual supporters are so important for us and our ability to meet the needs of kids, youth and families in really difficult circumstances,” added Wheeler. “We are truly grateful for everyone’s support.”

To learn more about Season of Giving presented by Service Credit Union, including participating restaurants, click here.

The Chase Home launches “Season of Giving”

Volunteers help “clean” up The Chase Home

Recently, The Chase Home in Portsmouth welcomed more than a dozen volunteers from The Timberland Company as part of its Path of Service Program.

According to Craig Dennis, director of operations at The Chase Home, the crew spent an entire day landscaping and cleaning up the grounds.

“They did a wonderful job and are always a pleasure to have here,” he said. “The Timberland Company continues to be an avid supporter of The Chase Home each and every year.”

Timberland employees outside of The Chase Home while participating
in their Path of Service Program.

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community, while others live at The Chase Home.

Noting their contributions have historically ranged from landscaping, gardening and light construction to meal prepping, painting and general clean-up, Dennis said Timberland also provides support during the holidays for youth served by The Chase Home.

“They have donated much needed clothing and shoe donations, too,” he added. “We appreciate the relationship that’s been built over the years.”

Jason Blades, Community Engagement Manager at Timberland, said they also appreciate the relationship, which reflects a core value at the company.

“We believe that we can do good in our community and do well in our business, and that the two should go hand in hand,” he said.

As part of its Path of Service Program, Timberland offers up to 40 paid hours for full-time employees and 20 hours for part-time to provide service to the community.

“It is a voluntary employee benefit where they encourage employees to use this opportunity for service in ways that speak to their passions,” added Blades. “Timberland believes in the intersection of commerce and justice.”

To learn more about Timberland, visit timberland.com

Volunteers help “clean” up The Chase Home

“Ambassadors” making a difference at The Chase Home

Volunteers are the proverbial backbone of nonprofits, which underscores the importance of an innovative Ambassador Program at The Chase Home in Portsmouth.

“The Ambassador Program is a semi-structured way volunteers can get involved in our operation,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director. “They participate in planning fundraisers, conduct community outreach and get involved. They are an integral part of what we do.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community, while others live at The Chase Home.

For Ambassador Bill MacDonald, who works at Artisan Grounds in Portsmouth, participation in the program has been rewarding.

“I like being an ambassador, because I have a chance to be heard and make a difference in an organization that is working so hard to make a difference in kids’ lives,” he said. “It give me a chance to do things I like to do anyway.”

Wheeler said MacDonald’s involvement in The Chase Home has been instrumental.

Meme Wheeler (left) with Ambassador Bill MacDonald (right)

“Whatever we need, Bill seems to know someone or a business that can help,” she said. “He makes connections in the community for us all the time. I can’t thank him and all our ambassadors enough.”

As for current projects, MacDonald said he is working closely with the Board on a virtual fundraiser that launches in one month. 

“I am also working to promote Chase Home for Northeast Credit Union’s Love Your Community Award,” he said. “I’m encouraging folks to vote for Chase Home, which could win up to $5,000.”

Voting for Northeast Credit Union’s Love Your Community Award in October ends on October 31.

“With Bill’s help, I think we have a chance to win this award,” added Wheeler. “The great thing about this contest is that many nonprofits benefit, so the communities served by Northeast Credit Union are the real winners.”

To vote, visit thelyc.com.

“Ambassadors” making a difference at The Chase Home

Dover Children’s Home and The Chase Home collaborate to enhance services for youth

Each committed to meeting the needs of at-risk youth, nonprofit agencies Dover Children’s Home and The Chase Home will complete Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training at the end of October.

According to Renee Touhey-Childress, executive director of Dover Children’s Home, staff are beginning to utilize the TBRI framework in their everyday work with youth after just one training session.

“Even our administrative and support staff are being trained on the overarching concepts of building relationships as a way to work with our youth,” she explained.

To complete the training, all staff at each agency must attend four 6-hour sessions.

Renee Touhey-Childress (left), Executive Director of Dover Children’s Home with
Meme Wheeler, Executive Director of The Chase Home

“Renee and I are both thrilled at the commitment of our staff,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home. “This is a significant investment in not just resources, but time.”

As for what is covered in the training, Melissa LaRocque, quality improvement specialist at Dover Children’s Home, said it is based around three primary concepts.

“The first is a heavy focus on the changes in the developmental brain as a response to trauma during infancy and early childhood,” she explained. “Our role as caregivers is healing these fractured attachments.”

Other focus areas include helping empower youth in a way that maximizes their potential for success and equipping staff to focus on the underlying needs that drive their respective behaviors.

“I am hopeful the training will help our program continue to strengthen the relationships we have with our youth,” added LaRocque. “I also believe we will see less behavioral outbursts as we as a staff shift in our language and responses to our kids.”

Wheeler agreed and said the training represents an important step in both organization’s efforts toward accreditation, mandated by 2018’s The Family First Prevention Services Act.

“Trauma-informed services must be embedded in both of our service delivery models,” she explained. “I think TBRI is fantastic and will make a big impact in how we both interact and support our kids.”

Meg O’Connor, Founder of The Connected Elephant

Meg O’Connor, who is facilitating the inter-agency training, said TBRI will strengthen the effectiveness of services at both agencies.

“Based on years of attachment, trauma, and neuroscience research, TBRI works to promote trust, attachment, and connection between caregivers and youth by addressing physical and emotional needs while also disarming fear-based behaviors,” she said. 

With TBRI, she said both agencies will increase their knowledge on “the devastating impact of trauma.”

“Each agency will continue to sharpen their tools and remain the greatest advocates for the youth they serve,” added O’Connor, who is founder of The Connected Elephant.

In sharing the costs of the training, Touhey-Childress said both agencies were able to “stretch limited resources.” 

“Meme and I work collaboratively on so many things, and our staff have similarities and shared experiences,” she said. “This just made sense, logistically and clinically in terms of learning from each other.”

Since 1893, Dover Children’s Home has provided a home for adolescents in need, preparing them for their futures, and reuniting families. To learn more, visit doverchildrenshome.org.

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.

Dover Children’s Home and The Chase Home collaborate to enhance services for youth

New technology to transform how The Chase Home meets community needs

In October, The Chase Home will begin to use Apricot, case management software that will enable staff to utilize a centralized electronic record system to track participant progress and outcomes.

Developed by Social Solutions Global, Apricot is designed to help nonprofits measure and manage to outcomes while also offering a suite of tools for caseload management, reporting and analytics and participant engagement.

“The software will support Chase Home staff and leadership in making targeted interventions and data-informed decisions in the support of youth in its various programs,” said Jeffrey Haguewood, Owner, Sidekick Solutions.

Sidekick Solutions is an Apricot Certified Implementation Partner, specializing in technology for outcomes-focused nonprofits and public sector agencies.

“Our role is to guide Chase Home’s Apricot implementation as both a technical and consultative resource,” added Haguewood. “Our priority is to ensure that Chase Home gets the ‘right’ solution reflective of their processes and priorities for supporting youth in New Hampshire.”  

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.

Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home, said the software will transform the way the agency uses data.

“We will be able to streamline and enhance the efficiency and quality of our case management and treatment planning for every youth we serve,” she said. “We will also be able to illustrate results-driven data to our donors that demonstrates impact.”

Meme Wheeler (l) with Chase Home Ambassador Bill MacDonald

As for how Apricot will enhance service delivery, Wheeler said it will save staff time, as they will no longer need to “go through piles of paperwork.”

“Apricot encompasses best practices and centralizes all of our data in one place,” she said.

She said the software also improves HIPPA compliance.

“It will help us tremendously with state licensing and certification regulations and the accreditation process, as we work to comply with the Family Services Act,” she added.

The project began, according to Haguewood, immediately before the start of the pandemic, which he acknowledged was challenging. It also, however, underscored the need for tools like Apricot to support remote work and capabilities for virtual client engagement. 

“The common pains associated with transitioning from current practices, some of which still reside on paper, have cropped up here and there, too,” he said. “I commend The Chase Home team, though, for its ability to refocus on the promise of Apricot, including deeper insights into youth progress and milestone achievements.”

According to Wheeler, the project is not only “ground-breaking” in scope, but in the level of customization of the software, made possible with Sidekick Solutions.

“The solution we have is not based on a template, but reflects our work-flow processes, compliance requirements, reporting goals and our ways of serving youth,” she said.

Haguewood added, “Software is often rigid, hard to use, or too generic to meet the evolving needs of a community-based nonprofit like Chase Home…Apricot is a platform Chase Home users are looking forward to using because it has been customized to model Chase Home’s unique characteristics, its vocabulary, and its evidence-based practices.”

The Chase Home

Expressing appreciation for various funders who have made the project possible, Wheeler said it is important Chase Home leverage technology now more than ever before.

“It is not enough to work hard,” she said. “We must work smart so we can do more for youth and families in our communities.”

To learn more, visit chasehome.org.

New technology to transform how The Chase Home meets community needs

The Chase Home celebrates several successes in summer program

While school be out, summer is a very busy time for The Chase Home, as staffing levels increase to accommodate the fact that youth are essentially on-site 24/7 in its Residential Program.

“The community has rallied around us this year to provide our kids with all kinds of games and activities,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “It’s been a wonderful, busy summer.”

Aside from fun for those who live at Chase Home while participating in the program, this summer has also seen several successes, including a 16 year-old old boy who recently celebrated 90 days sobriety.

The Chase Home’s Craig Dennis

“He came from a more intensive drug treatment program at the beginning of summer and is using Chase Home as a step down for re-entry to the community,” said Craig Dennis, director of operations. “He is a local kid and has been attending drug treatment counseling with Seacoast Youth Services in Seabrook, too.”

Another success includes a 17 year-old old girl who recently worked her way up into the Independent Living Program (ILP), which provides apartment-style dwelling for older youth.

“She is working, maintaining her finances and completing her senior year this year with the support of Chase Home and ILP staff,” added Dennis.

According to Wheeler, such successes are particularly notable given the pandemic.

“It’s tough for the kids because a lot of their freedoms have been curtailed this summer to protect them due to social distancing guidelines,” she explained. “I’m proud of their resiliency and the efforts of our staff, too, to navigate these very stressful times.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.

To learn more about Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.

The Chase Home celebrates several successes in summer program

“Flexibility” is the key in Chase Home’s Diversion Program

For staff in The Chase Home’s Seacoast Community Diversion Program (SCDP), which serves at-risk youth and families in the community, flexibility has become a guiding principle in their service delivery model.

“COVID-19 has impacted not just what we do, but how we do it,” said Cory Towne-Kerr, SCDP coordinator.

Even the act of communicating with families presents somewhat of a challenge.

“A big part of the program before was our ability to have a physical presence in the lives of our youth and their families, whereas we now connect over the phone or through video conferencing,” she said. “We have just recently begun to offer meetings in person outdoors while following social distancing guidelines, but the process is challenging.”

According to Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home, technology constraints are another concern for staff and families.

“Just getting paperwork signed can be challenging,” she said. “The concern I think all of us have is what will the long-term impact be from COVID-19? What don’t we know now about the struggles of those we serve? What will things look like in 3 months if we experience another surge with COVID-19?”

The Chase Home

Working with youth who have begun to struggle in the community across several areas, SCDP receives referrals from SAU’s 16, 14 and 52 and police departments in Stratham, Exeter, Portsmouth, Newington, Epping and Hampton.

Examples of youth served in the program fall into two tracks. In the first track, youth are beginning to abuse substances, get into trouble at school, skip classes, or exhibit self-harming behaviors, including attempted suicide. In the second track, youth have been charged with crimes and are in eminent danger of entering the juvenile justice system.

“These are complex cases that require services customized to address specific needs,” said Towne-Kerr.

Services in the program range from a full evaluation by a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) to one-on-one sessions with staff. These sessions focus on drug counseling, anger management, coping, decision-making, healthy relationships and others.

“SCDP is unique because it is the only diversion program in the state out of 17 programs that embeds teen suicide prevention services and screening into it,” Wheeler added.

In looking to the future, Towne-Keer expressed optimism that the program can again operate at full capacity, acknowledging that referrals “essentially stopped” for a few months.

“I think everyone that works with people of any age in need is adjusting to a new way of doing their jobs,” she said. “In this challenging environment, I don’t think Chase Home is alone in mandating ‘flexibility’ as a way to get things done.”

SCDP is funded by Exeter Hospital, which spearheads a multi-year initiative to prevent youth suicide on the Seacoast. Additional major funders of SCDP include Kennebunk Savings.

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.

To learn more about SCDP or Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.

“Flexibility” is the key in Chase Home’s Diversion Program

“Diversion” goes virtual at Chase Home during pandemic

While COVID-19 has increased the need for its services, positive developments have emerged in several programs, including Seacoast Community Diversion Program (SCDP), at Chase Home.

According to Cory Towne-Kerr, who manages it, the program holds youth accountable for disruptive behavior while providing education and support services.

“When social distancing protocols were enacted, we adjusted our approach to SCDP,” she said.

Citing COVID-19, she said this approach entails encouraging program staff, volunteers and meeting facilitators “to think outside the box” in solving problems.

“We cannot approach youth and families the way we did before,” she said. “What we are doing now is talking, as a program, about how to better practice social empathy with youth and families in our program. How can we all work better in an environment where many people have so much less?”

Meme Wheeler (l) with Cory-Towne-Kerr

In referencing the economic impact of COVID-19 on youth in SCDP, Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler said corporate and individual support have helped “bridge gaps.”

“We have expanded some services to help families build some of their organizational skills to meet new challenges brought on by the pandemic,” she said. “We are also offering full scholarships for entry into the program and free services, such as online classes, LADC evaluations and pro-bono therapy.”

Founded in 2016, Wheeler said SCDP addresses “needs not currently met in the region.”

“We serve youth who have begun to get into some serious trouble,” she said. “Without a formal intervention of some kind, research points to long-term poor life outcomes.”

One of 17 programs accredited by the New Hampshire Juvenile Court Diversion Network, SCDP   receives referrals from SAU’s 16, 14 and 52 and from police departments in Stratham, Exeter, Portsmouth, Newington, Epping, and Hampton.

“We work with clients from all over the Seacoast and parts of southern Maine,” added Towne-Kerr, who said SCDP also recently added “drop-in” youth wellness sessions.

“We want youth and families in this region to know Chase Home is here and working in the community,” she said.

In looking ahead to SCDP’s future, Wheeler said they are working with DARCI Creative, which is developing a website that provides information and resources.

“The program is important because it addresses a segment of the youth population at grave risk for suicide,” she explained. “Our staff are trained in youth suicide prevention, and we are actively working as a program to provide resources that extend well beyond our program.”

SCDP is one of several area programs funded by Exeter Hospital, which launched a multi-year initiative to prevent youth suicide on the Seacoast. Additional major funders of SCDP include Kennebunk Savings.

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.

To learn more about SCDP or Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.

“Diversion” goes virtual at Chase Home during pandemic