Former Chase Home resident shares story with current kids

The Chase homeFounded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth has met the needs of kids in crisis, which has meant different things to people who have lived there or accessed their community-based services. For Dan, who lived there in the early 1990’s, The Chase Home helped save his life.

“I had been in 4 foster homes,” he said. “It was not a stable situation for me.”

In between his stays at foster homes, Dan stayed with his father whom he noted was not a constant in his life as a child and often neglectful. He said they often had to source their own food, too.

“It was a very dysfunctional family,” he said. “I really did not feel safe at all.”

While protocols are different now regarding how kids and youth access services at The Chase Home–they are generally now mandated by the state–Dan said he was able to request placement there in January of 1990.

“I fell in love with the place,” he said. “I could get some relief and deal with some of my demons and be a better person.”

For him, some of the excitement at being at The Chase Home stemmed from basic needs having been met.

“I remember walking in and sitting down that first night at the dinner table and having a sweet meatball sub–it was the best meal I had had in forever,” he said. “I was so excited to get a decent hot meal.”

In addition to hot meals, Dan said he received counseling and support at The Chase Home.

“They did a lot for me as a resident,” he said. “They made sure I graduated high school on time. They did a lot for me while I was there.”

Now living in central NH with his wife, Dan said these fond memories of The Chase Home recently spurred him to reach out to staff and see if he could offer assistance.

“Every time we went to the Seacoast, I would make a point to drive by and see the building through the woods,” he said. “I would always tell my wife, ‘This was my home.’ I wanted to do more, though.”

Upon hearing from Dan, who joined the army after leaving The Chase Home, served as an EMT and is now a firefighter, Executive Director Meme Wheeler said she knew how he could help the kids.

“If we can get former residents here to talk to the kids, that is always very impactful,” she said. “They have walked in these kids’ shoes–they don’t need to prove themselves. A lot of the kids end up listening.”

In talking with residents, Dan shared his experiences while at The Chase Home and expressed his belief that they all have the power to make their own lives better.

“The people at Chase Home are there to help these kids,” he said.”I hope they are not afraid to ask for help…I asked for help and I’m glad I did.”

Expressing pride in also working for the New Hampshire State Firemen’s Association, which he said serves as a support system, too, Dan acknowledged the path to ‘now’ has been anything but easy.

“I’ve had a lot happen and had some setbacks, but I’m in a much better place now,” he said. “It’s not easy, but it’s possible…I just want people to know that places like Chase Home can help. They are making a difference.”

Wheeler added, “Dan is making a difference, too.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 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 and receive comprehensive support and services.

Youth served by The Chase Home include those who have been abused, neglected, or in trouble with the law. To learn more about The Chase Home and its programs, visit www.chasehome.org.

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Former Chase Home resident shares story with current kids

National Suicide Prevention Week highlights local efforts to combat teen suicide

While society is beset with many issues, none may be more pressing, or heartbreaking, than teen suicide, which serves as backdrop to National Suicide Prevention Week from September 9 – September 15.

At The Chase Home in Portsmouth, this national week-long campaign underscores the need for the Seacoast Youth Suicide Prevention Network (SYSPN) program of which they are a founding member.

A multi-year initiative funded by Exeter Hospital, SYSPN works with youth at risk for suicide, which The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler said is “a tremendously challenging issue.”

“The overall suicide rate has risen nearly 50 percent in the past 17 years,” she said. “Suicide is among the top three causes of death in suicide–this is a very real issue.”

In helping for SYSPN, Wheeler said the idea was to connect as many available resources as possible under “one roof.”

“We can’t work in silos,” she said. “We need to get to the same table here.”

Wheeler credits Exeter Hospital for its “leading role” in tackling the issue of teen suicide.

“They are working with so many organizations and making a concerted effort to bring us all together to create real solutions to this issue,” she said. “I think it is important the general public recognize the role Exeter Hospital plays in our community.”

The Chase homeFounded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 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 and receive comprehensive support and services. Youth served by The Chase Home include those who have been abused, neglected, or in trouble with the law.

To learn more about SYSPN, contact ctowne@chasehome.org. While information on SYSPN may be found at http://www.chasehome.org, more information will be available on a dedicated program website sometime by early spring 2019.

National Suicide Prevention Week highlights local efforts to combat teen suicide

The Chase Home and others fighting teen suicide

In the past two years, The Chase Home in Portsmouth has expanded services to include early intervention/prevention, which are designed to address emerging issues in youth and families before they reach a critical stage.

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Left to Right, Cory Towne-Kerr, Kristy Whipple and Lindsey Ellis of The Chase Home.

In its Seacoast Youth Suicide Prevention Network (SYSPN) program, made possible through a multi-year initiative funded by Exeter Hospital, The Chase Home seeks to better support youth it already serves and those outside their general demographic. Other leading partners include New Heights and Seacoast Outright.

Currently, all three agencies are planning a series of internal trainings designed to assist respective staff members in better detecting and addressing risk factors that lead to teen suicide.

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Artwork by a former resident, age 16 at the time

“The training piece is critical, because we all work with different segments of the population,” said The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “We need to each understand what the other knows about the issues facing kids and youth.”

Next steps in the process include providing external trainings to staff of other agencies that regularly come into contact with youth. Wheeler said they also plan to step up marketing around the program, which will include a digital presence geared toward caregivers and youth.

“Kids are online and they are talking, looking for answers to questions,” she said. “We need to be where the kids are, too.”

By the end of fiscal year 2019, which concludes June 30, 2019, Wheeler said the hope is that SYSPN will include all organizations funded through Exeter’s Hospital’s initiative.

“We want to serve as a referral source for youth and their families and connect them with the services best suited to their particular needs,” she added. “We offer services in this program through our partners, but we also want to be a referral source.”

To learn more about SYSPN, or to sign up for an external training (dates TBD), contact ctowne@chasehome.org. While information on SYSPN may be found at www.chasehome.org, more information will be available on a dedicated program website sometime by early spring 2019.

The Chase Home and others fighting teen suicide

Kids at The Chase Home set “sail” for success

Kids sailingWorking with at-risk youth across the Seacoast and New Hampshire, The Chase Home in Portsmouth sometimes “stumbles across” an opportunity to provide value in unexpected ways, which recently occurred with Sail Portsmouth.

A multiple-day festival, proceeds from Sail Portsmouth support the Maritime Commission’s Sea Challenge program, which recently provided local teenagers with the opportunity to experience sail training on a tall ship for 7 days. The program’s stated mission is “to provide the practical application of leadership through teamwork for local Seacoast youth with a flair for the sea.”

Three of those youth were from The Chase Home on the Oliver Hazard Perry, the largest tall ship in the United States.

“We were contacted by the Piscataqua Maritime Commission and they gave our kids the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director at The Chase Home. “One of our staff members went with the kids as a chaperone…It’s an experience these kids will never forget.”

Rob Levey, board president of The Chase Home, said he was “ecstatic” when Wheeler called him to explain the opportunity for their kids.

“That is exactly the kind of experience that can have a lasting impact on these kids,” he said. “Whether we serve a kid in our home here, or in the community, we are committed to enhancing their lives while served by Chase Home.”

According to Wheeler, this opportunity highlights a very serious need.

“We serve some kids who have never had a meal at a table with their parents, never been to the movies, never had many of the ‘normal’ experience we take for granted every day,” she said. “This is the reality for kids across the state and, yes, even in Portsmouth.”

While on board the tall ship, Wheeler said the kids worked regular shifts like any deck hand.

“They hoisted the sails and all kinds of things I am not even sure make sense,” she laughed. “I’m just so thankful we had this opportunity and could seize it. Our thanks goes to Leonard Seagren, who was the liason for PMC Sea Challenge to Chase Home. He pursued this for our kids.”

“The Portsmouth Sea Challenge has a vision: To provide the practical application of leadership through teamwork for local seacoast youth with a flair for the sea”

In looking ahead, Levey said Wheeler and The Chase Home Board plan to seek out as many opportunities as possible to enhance the lives of the kids they serve.

“I’ve had a kid in this system,” he said. “I know first hand that these kids are not often what people make them out to be. I hope these kids had a great time and know that people care about them…They matter.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 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 and receive comprehensive support and services.

Youth served by The Chase Home include those who have been abused, neglected, or in trouble with the law.

Kids at The Chase Home set “sail” for success

The Chase Home’s Summer Program in Full Swing

School may be out, but things are ramping up at The Chase Home in Portsmouth, as staff coordinate a variety of activities for the youth who live there during the summer.

Some of the organizations with whom The Chase Home works include Adventurelore, Portsmouth Paddleboard, Gunstock Tree Top Adventures and Wild Life Adventures among others. In addition to the activities provided through these organizations, youth will go deep sea fishing this summer, camping, work in a garden, ride on the Scenic Conway Railroad and attend education seminars facilitated by partner nonprofits.

Kids in The Chase Home Summer Program 2

According to Executive Director Meme Wheeler, Title I funds these activities.

“Our summer program helps to empower kids and experience things they have never tried before,” she said. “It’s important we support them in these ways, especially during the summer, which has much less structure than the school year.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home is one of the oldest nonprofits in the Granite State, serving more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth live at The Chase Home while receiving services.

Kids in The Chase Home Summer Program“We serve kids who have been abused, neglected, or starting to get in serious trouble,” added Wheeler.

The Chase Home is also working to combat teen suicide in the state as part of a multi-year initiative funded by Exeter Hospital.

“The backdrop for all our services is that kids and young people today are feeling enormous pressures in a society that is 24/7 and always on the go,” she said. “Today’s society is a pressure cooker, so it is very important that we and other human service agencies work together to build frameworks for support that help kids and families alike.”

The Chase Home works with youth and families in crisis from Portsmouth and throughout the state. To learn more about The Chase Home, or its programs, visit www.chasehome.org.

The Chase Home’s Summer Program in Full Swing

Chase Home receives unexpected award

“Small but mighty” is most likely how many staff at The Chase Home might characterize their role in the greater Seacoast community, which makes an award of the same name that much more gratifying. For the month of June, The Chase Home has been named “Small but Mighty Business of the Month” by The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, which is presented by Federal Savings Bank.

 

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Top (left to right): The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth’s Bill MacDonald, The Chase Home’s Mark Williams, Lindsey Ellis, Bethany Murabito. Bottom (left to right): Federal Savings Bank’s Val Dyer, The Chase Home’s Meme Wheeler and Federal Savings Bank’s Pam Bishop.

Upon hearing of the award, The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler said she did not even realize the nonprofit agency had been nominated.

“It is awesome,” she said. “Recognition for our work is always welcomed. I think a lot of people in the community still do not realize all that we do for kids on the Seacoast.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home is one of the oldest nonprofits in the Granite State, serving more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth actually live at The Chase Home while receiving services.

“These are youth who may have been abused, neglected, or they may be acting out and getting into a lot of trouble with the law,” added Wheeler. “We approach them with a therapeutic framework designed to uncover the root causes of their problems.”

The Chase Home is also working to combat teen suicide in the state as part of a multi-year initiative funded by Exeter Hospital.

“This award from the chamber helps usher in a new focus for The Chase Home that is going to put us out there more in the community,” said Mike LaLime, who serves on the board of directors at The Chase Home. “We are very grateful for this award, because it raises awareness about what we do and why it is so important.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home works with youth and families in crisis from Portsmouth and throughout the state. To learn more about The Chase Home, or its programs, visit www.chasehome.org.

Chase Home receives unexpected award

Exeter Hospital-led initiative continues to combat teen suicide

With suicide the second leading cause of death for young people in New Hampshire, Exeter Hospital launched an ambitious multi-year initiative in 2017 to combat it that gave rise to 11 funded projects.

One of these projects is the Seacoast Youth Suicide Prevention Network (SYSPN), which will host a summit on May 22 at the Community Campus in Portsmouth for any agency or association that works with youth.

The Chase Home (92 of 92)According to Cory Towne-Kerr of The Chase Home, one of several founding members of the initiative, the purpose of the summit is to build a “functioning support network” for vulnerable youth.

“There are a lot of great services and program for youth, but they really don’t know what is available in the community,” she said. “We offer services in our network, too, and want to connect with any other organization in the community…This summit will help make those connections.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home works with youth and families in crisis from Portsmouth and throughout the state. They are joined by founding partners New Heights and Seacoast Outright.

“There has been a lot of groundwork in the past year to build this network,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director at The Chase Home. “We now need to promote it and raise awareness about teen suicide. There are so many young people struggling in our communities. Nonprofits need to work collaboratively to address this critical issue.”

To learn more about this summit, or to attend, contact Cory Towne-Kerr at ctowne@chasehome.org. To learn more about The Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org.

Exeter Hospital-led initiative continues to combat teen suicide