Timberland ‘serves’ Chase Home

Reflecting its longstanding commitment to give back to surrounding communities, Stratham-based Timberland held its 19th Annual Serv-a-Palooza Service Event on September 15 with Chase Home one of seven projects throughout the Seacoast.

From painting the entire third floor of Chase Home to much-needed landscaping throughout its property, Timberland deployed more than 65 employees and guests to the Portsmouth-based nonprofit agency. In total, Timberland painted 23 rooms and helped removed 30 truckloads of debris from the property—a nearly 10-hour long project that “amazed” Chase Home staff.

“From the pre-planning to the day itself, Timberland came here to do some serious work,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler, who estimated it would have cost more than $10,000 if performed by the private sector.

“Timberland has transformed Chase Home—they have made an incredible difference,” she added.

According to Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement for Timberland, the day’s service-oriented activities results from the company’s Path of Service™ program, which offers full-time employees up to 40 paid hours annually to perform volunteer work. 

“We’re excited to support folks here in New Hampshire and Maine through our Serv-a-Palooza projects, while also having the opportunity to foster teamwork,” she said. “This is all part of bringing to life Timberland’s heritage of being Earthkeepers.”

In 2015, Timberland employees volunteered more than 73,000 hours were served through various environmental and social projects. Last week and throughout the months of September and October, approximately 1,500 Timberland employees will participate in Serv-a-Palooza service events in 15 countries. Locally this year, Timberland volunteers were supported by donations from Texas Roadhouse, Shaw’s and Hannaford.

Best known for its original yellow boot introduced in 1973, Timberland today outfits consumers from toe-to-head, with versatile collections that reflect the brand’s rich heritage of craftsmanship, function and style. To learn more, visit timberland.com.

Founded in 1877, Chase Home for Children is dedicated to providing supportive and restorative residential and family service to at-risk youth in a safe and nurturing environment. To learn more, visit www.chasehome.org.

Timberland ‘serves’ Chase Home

Art Connects NH ‘connects’ with Chase Home

Having placed donated contemporary art pieces throughout Chase Home earlier this year, Art Connects NH recently completed a large painted mural in its dining room with the help of a local artist and kids who live there.

Expressing excitement regarding the project, Virginia Skevington, director of development at Art Connects NH, an initiative of the New Hampshire Institute of Art and New Hampshire Art Association, said she has long been aware of Chase Home.

“I actually first became aware of the services provided by Chase Home in my previous role as Executive Director of Arts In Reach,” she said. “We always had Chase Home teen girls attending our programs. When I became involved with Art Connects, I immediately thought of Chase Home and thought what a perfect space for art.”

Chase Home Board President Rob Levey said he could not believe how the art has transformed the living space at Chase Home.

“It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “The fact that this mural involved an artist who volunteered her time and some of the kids who live here, too, makes this project even more special. We want anyone who lives here to feel like this is a home. Art Connects has made a powerful difference here and we are very grateful.”

For Skevington, the project underscores the importance of their mission.

“Art and color have the power to transform a space and leave a lasting impact on an agency’s clients, staff and volunteers,” she said. “It is our hope that the framed pieces and murcomplete-tableal created by Peg Murray and teen residents do just that for years to come.”

Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler said the project has already made an impact in the lives of their residents.

“The entire creative process energized our kids and brought them together,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire, Chase Home was founded in 1877 and is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. To learn more, visit http://www.chasehome.org. To learn more about Art Connects NH, visit www.artconnectsnh.org.

Art Connects NH ‘connects’ with Chase Home

Chase Home says goodbye to a long-time staff member

14264055_1749502058624589_8672823586378186341_nIn my time at Chase Home serving on the Board, it has been my pleasure to meet some incredible staff members, each of whom display remarkable dedication to a mission that is critical to the greater Seacoast community. Our mission is essentially to save the lives of kids in desperate circumstances.

Without dedicated staff led by Executive Director Meme Wheeler, our mission would fall flat. Recently, I learned that Program Director Craig Dennis, who has worked here for years, was pursuing another opportunity. While saddened to heard this, I was also happy for him. He will indeed be sorely missed.

For those who might not be sure what Craig did at Chase Home, you are not alone. What I mean by this is what didn’t he do? Like pretty much every staff member at Chase Home, it was clear that Craig essentially did whatever he could to support our kids. Job descriptions are great on paper, but in this world such things rarely cover 25 percent of what is actually needed.

As Craig prepares to enter the next phase of his career, I wanted to take this public opportunity to thank him for all he has done and to extend my thanks to the staff at Chase Home. As Chase Home expands its organizational footprint to meet the needs of the communities it serves, I know we can rely on the staff to do what must be done.

With support from friends like Piscataqua Savings Bank, Insurcomm and most recently Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, the future looks bright for Chase Home and those we serve.

Thankfully, we have an expert staff  and a great executive director upon which we may rely. I am joined by a great group of individuals on the Board, too.

If you do not know much about Chase Home, visit us at www.chasehome.org. Want to get involved? Call us at (603) 436-2216.

Fond farewell, Craig, and be sure to visit us soon.


Rob Levey, Chase Home Board President


Chase Home says goodbye to a long-time staff member

Chase Home welcomes new Board President

After ten years of service on the Chase Home Board of Directors, Chris McCarthy recently made the difficult decision to resign her post as president and “turn the reins over” to Rob Levey.

Chris (l) with Rob
Chris (l) with Rob

“I am as committed as ever to the Chase Home, but I felt it was time,” said McCarthy. “I could not be happier to see Rob assume this role. He has proven himself a leader in numerous ways since joining the Board.”

Former Director of Development and Communications at Seacoast Mental Health Center and current CEO of Exponential Squared, a strategic marketing and development firm, Levey joined the Chase Home Board in early 2014. Regarding his new role, he expressed optimism at the foundation McCarthy helped build during her tenure.

“Chris has been a calm and steadying voice through challenging times and served as a wonderful leader and mentor,” he noted. “I learned a lot from her and look forward to helping build on the success she helped Chase Home achieve in recent years.”

Founded in 1877, Chase Home provides home-based services as well as housing for youth who have been involved in the legal system or neglected and/or abused.

“These are complicated cases that require comprehensive interventions,” noted Meme Wheeler, executive director at Chase Home. “With the right services and support, we can help entire families achieve their goals in life.”

In looking back on her time at Chase Home, McCarthy said she has seen many changes, including the demands placed on the Board itself.

“As a Board, it became increasingly important for us to fundraise and help provide oversight

Rob (l) with Meme
Rob (l) with Meme

of the budget and day-to-day operations,” she said. “We do not just listen to reports on Chase Home—we are actively involved and accountable.”

Levey agrees and said one of his first objectives is to work closely with Wheeler, the Board and community stakeholders to help develop “a new strategic direction for Chase Home.”

“We have many tangible assets here—expert staff, caring and committed board members, and a savvy executive director who understands where our services need to go from a clinical perspective,” he said. “My job will be to do whatever it takes to best support all of them and our mission with fiscal sustainability in mind.”

Citing a strong working relationship with Levey, Wheeler said the need to ramp up Chase Home’s capacity has never been greater.

“We are still woefully underfunded given the demand for our services in Portsmouth and across the state,” she said. “Although I am sad to see Chris go, I am very excited at this new chapter for Chase Home.”

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire, Chase Home is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. Chase Home collaborates with all major community stakeholders, including district courts, police departments, community mental health agencies, schools, welfare organizations and others.

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

Chase Home welcomes new Board President

Chase Home continues to embrace change

Meme Wheeler on the left with Chase Home Staff
Meme Wheeler on the left with Clinical Coordinator Jillian Record and Program Director Craig Dennis

Having previously operated “under the radar” for close to its nearly 140 year history, Chase Home embarked on several related initiatives last year designed to raise its profile in Portsmouth and across the state. More than a simple PR move, the push to raise its profile in the communities it serves was designed to meet both internal and external needs, according to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler.

“Internally, we need to diversify our revenue streams to ensure future fiscal sustainability,” she said. “Externally, the needs of at-risk youth have never been greater. The opiate epidemic in particular has severely disrupted the family structure. Parents and kids are struggling like never before.”

Having recently completed its most recent fiscal year on June 30, Wheeler said Chase Home “benefited tremendously” from more consistent engagement with community members through print and social media. A corporate sponsorship program also yielded several new financial supporters, including Piscataqua Savings Bank and Insurcomm.

Grant-writing also became a major focus, which yielded several major grant awards, some of which have yet to be publicly acknowledged. Wheeler said one award that has been made public, a $15,000+ from the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle, will significantly boost the agency’s infrastructure.

“It is a capacity building grant that touches on board development and technology—these are the things nonprofits desperately need, but rarely have money needed to invest in them,” she said.

Earlier in 2016, Chase Home was also able to launch an Independent Living Program for The Chase Home (92 of 92)teens who would benefit from a period of transition at its residential facility before striking forth on their own. Noting the program was made possible as a result of its selection as co-beneficiary of Lonza Biologic’s Harvest Open Charity Golf Tournament last September, Wheeler said another key asset at Chase Home often goes unnoticed.

“We quite simply have an incredible staff,” she said. “Chase Home is staffed 24/7, and what that means is we have some very dedicated people here who provide the best clinical services possible, but with huge hearts, too…Everyone here cares so deeply for our kids and in kids in general. I am proud to be part of this team.”

In looking ahead, Chase Home Board Member Rob Levey said the Board looks forward to working to support staff in its efforts to expand home programming as well as forging new relationships in the community. Citing one donor who wishes to remain anonymous as just one example, he said the support they have seen from all sectors of the community has helped to galvanize the Board and staff alike.

“We have one donor who has helped us create a media room for our kids and is looking to enhance other areas of our home to improve their quality of life,” he said. “It’s kind of humbling to see someone step forth and make so many contributions and yet wish to The Chase Home (76 of 92)remain anonymous. That is just one story out of so many in this past year.”

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire, Chase Home is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. Chase Home collaborates with all major community stakeholders, including district courts and police departments to community mental health agencies, schools, welfare organizations and others.

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

Chase Home continues to embrace change

Chase Home awarded large grant from Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle

In May, Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth was honored as recipient of an at least $15,000 award from the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle (seacoast-womens-giving-circleSWGC) as part of its 2016 grant cycle. The award, which will be distributed in its entirety by July, will support a year-long capacity-building project that will include strategy and vision development, technology upgrades and leadership, governance and board development.

Referring to the capacity-building grant award as “monumental” to the nonprofit agency, Executive Director Meme Wheeler said outcomes from the grant would have far-reaching implications.

“The grant will enhance the effectiveness of our leadership and governance as well as improve our ability to raise revenue to support day-to-day operations,” she said. “What impresses me about this grant award is that it funds the kinds of activities and tools that most other funders simply do not. I cannot applaud the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle enough for their vision in developing this year’s funding priority.”

In addition to ongoing board training and development for one year, the grant will provide 12540729_1657334241174705_8618515086222224335_nfunds for the purchase of additional laptops for community-based staff. Other aspects of the project include systems and database enhancements that will allow staff to better track kids in the program, their treatment plans and outcomes.

Chase Home Board Member Rob Levey, who helped develop the winning proposal with Wheeler, said the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle continues to play a major role in the greater Seacoast region.

“They thoroughly study community needs and assessments as well as the agencies that apply for funding,” he said. “This award is a serious validation of our work and where we are headed. As an agency, we are well-positioned to meet emerging needs—and this grant plays a major role in quickly expanding our organizational capacity.”

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement, Chase Home is one of five intermediate level group homes in New Hampshire. The youth Chase Home serves across the state have all been involved with the abuse/neglect system and require significant interventions.

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

Chase Home awarded large grant from Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle

Anonymous gift enhances kids’ lives at Chase Home

In March, Chase Home turned to social media to request support from the communities it serves without any expectation as to what may happen. Several monetary donations came into Chase Home, including a $10,500 gift out of which $1,500 was allocated to match Best Buy’s offer to create a movie room for youth residents.

According to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, work has been completed on the room, which has thrilled both staff and the residents. Referring to the room as “an example of how much the community cares,” she said the residents—ages 11 to 18—can now experience something many might take for granted.

“It’s not just a movie room—it’s a slice of home, a home most of these kids have never experience before,” she said. “To see the look on these kids’ faces when they first saw the room completed was just incredible…While the kids are here, it is critical we create a home-like environment for them, which can enhance the overall therapeutic process.”

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement—which means a place to live—in New Hampshire, Chase Home is one of five intermediate level group homes in the state. The goal of its residential program is to reunify the youth with their families. According to Chase Home Board Member Rob Levey, though, such a goal is not always possible.

Many of these kids come from troubled circumstances where the parents are addicted to drugs, in jail, or have outright disappeared,” he said. “When we say we provide a home here, we mean it, and this media rooms helps us create a very subtle, comfortable environment…We are so grateful for all the gifts that have come into Chase Home. It sends troubled youth an important message—that people care.”

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

Anonymous gift enhances kids’ lives at Chase Home