Nearly 2 years of repair and upgrade work complete at Chase Home

In 2015, Chase Home in Portsmouth suffered extensive damage to its building, which serves as home to youth from across the Seacoast and state. With insurance to cover most of the repairs, which would eventually exceed $250,000, Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler said they turned to Insurcomm.

One the rooms restored by Insurcomm.

“Mike LaLime, one of our Board of Directors and a former employee of Insurcomm, called them and they were on-site in 30 minutes with a team,” she said. “It was pretty incredible.”

Due to the complexity and scope of the work, the project took more than a year to complete. Initial damage resulted from ice dams in the winter followed by issues related to a water sprinkler. In addition to effecting repairs, code updates were necessary, too.

According to Doug Indelicato, Director of Sales and Marketing at Insurcomm, the real challenge was “to honor the children who reside at Chase Home.”

“We wanted to make sure their daily lives were not inconvenienced too much,” he said. “Each employee of ours that worked at Chase Home was completely committed to their job and 100 percent happy to help these children.”

Noting Insurcomm always tries to go “above and beyond” with any job, he said Chase Home was a special case.

“We have always supported Chase Home and the great work that Meme and the staff provide,” he said. “This Home and these children are an important part of the Seacoast community.”

LaLime, who now owns his own restoration company—TRE Cleaning & Restoration—expressed gratitude at the work performed by Insurcomm.

“They even made some repairs that were not covered by insurance,” he said. “Between their work and the $50,000 grant award from the City of Portsmouth last year, the Chase Home structure is not only sound, it feels like a real home…We are all so thankful.”

According to Wheeler, all restoration and upgrade work is now completed at Chase Home, which took approximately 2 years.

“So much has taken place over the last two years—and more work was recently done by Portsmouth Rotary to help finish off our 3rd floor for staff,” she said. “We are really so fortunate at all the caring people that have come through here these last 2 years. The result is that we have a beautiful home for kids who deserve to feel welcome.”

Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, Chase Home has evolved through the years to meet needs in the greater Seacoast community related to children and youth. To learn more about Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org.

Nearly 2 years of repair and upgrade work complete at Chase Home

Spring Gentleman’s Night a Big Success

On Thursday, May 4 at Martingale Wharf, more than 75 entrepreneurs and business owners from multiple sectors of industry came together for a networking opportunity that went far beyond the exchange of business cards.

Dubbed ‘Spring Gentleman’s Night,’ the event provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about—and raise money for—one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire. Founded in 1877, Chase Home has worked “under the radar” for years in supporting troubled youth and their families, although it has made an effort in recent years to raise awareness of its mission.

“The opioid epidemic has hit us very hard,” said Chase Home Board Member Mike LaLime, owner of TRE Cleaning & Restoration. “We are working with kids in our residential home and out in the community. This event was a great opportunity for us to highlight some of the needs in our community that often go unmet.”

In helping plan the event, Portsmouth native and current resident Graham Shaffer-Rais said he feels compelled to do whatever he can to help kids who did not have the same opportunities he had growing up.

“Most of us had support that allowed us to focus on growing as individuals in society and strive for something great, while people less fortunate often can only focus on surviving and coping,” he said.

A personal men’s stylist at J.Hilburn and business owner, Shaffer-Rais said he is joined by

Bill MacDonald, Robin Pinzone and Graham Shaffer-Rais

many similarly-inclined individuals who want to make a difference in the greater Seacoast community.

“It makes so much sense to help raise awareness and alleviate some of pressures these kids experience, so they can follow their dreams or at least enjoy life a bit more,” he said. “These kids are a part of our future, so honestly we all should be investing in that.”

He credited many others with helping to make the night a success, including Robin Pinzone of REP Branding Co. and fellow J.Hilburn stylist Bill MacDonald.

According to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, individuals like Shaffer-Rais, Pinzone and MacDonald are critical to advancing their mission.

“Community engagement is so important for us,” she said. “They did all the legwork and opened up new doors for us. We are so grateful for their efforts.”

While the total monies raised to support Chase Home is not yet known, LaLime said the message the event sends to the community is an important one.

“Whether you are an established business or just starting out, you can make a difference,” he said. “It does not have to be money—it can be time, expertise, or other resources…If we work together, we can literally save kids’ lives and give them a better chance at a good life—doesn’t everyone deserve that chance?”

Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, Chase Home has evolved through the years to meet critical needs in the greater Seacoast community related to children, youth and families. Today, Chase Home offers residential, home-based and early-intervention/prevention programs and serves more than 140 households annually.

To learn more, visit www.chasehome.org.

Spring Gentleman’s Night a Big Success

Local businesses and entrepreneurs rally to support Chase Home

On Thursday, May 4 at Martingale Wharf, a packed house is expected in The East Lounge at Spring Gentleman’s Night for “a night of elevated style and wellness.”

At the event, attendees will enjoy the newest fashion trends, drink tastings, expert wellness and fitness advice, tips on new ways to enjoy the outdoors and more. Robin Pinzone, owner of REP Branding Co., is hosting the annual event, which will also provide funding to support Chase Home in Portsmouth.  Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, Chase Home has evolved through the years to meet critical needs in the greater Seacoast community related to children, youth and families.

“Part of our mission with our ‘gentleman’s night’ is to educate the community about elevating their lifestyle—and we highlight all small businesses in the area,” Pinzone said. “I believe teaming with Chase Home shows how we want to promote our youth to be business leaders in our community in the future. Providing them with an outlet to grow is very important and we are all about growth.”

When Pinzone suggested partnering with Chase Home to Portsmouth native and current resident Graham Shaffer-Rais, who is helping to plan the event, it immediately resonated with him.

Robin Pinzone and Graham Shaffer-Rais, organizers of Spring Gentleman’s Night.

“I grow up with a number of kids that were in Chase Home and greatly benefited from having a group of people that cared about their well-being and were there to help them through their trials and tribulations,” he said.

A personal men’s stylist at J.Hilburn and business owner, Shaffer-Rais said the event also reflects his love for Portsmouth of which Chase Home has been an integral part since the 1870s.

“I know Chase Home helps provide the means for young adults to not only get by, but to strive for greatness, so the synergy seems obvious,” he said.

He added that the event itself will provide great networking opportunities for businesses and individuals intimately concerned with health and wellness.

“This event will showcase some of my favorite people and businesses in the area, all of whom help people feel and look their best inside and out,” said Shaffer-Rais, who credited fellow J.Hilburn stylist Bill MacDonald for also planning the event.

“There are a lot of great people behind Spring Gentleman’s Night,” he added.

In addition to drink tastings and food, there will be numerous chances for attendees to win services and products. A substantial portion of the proceeds from the evening will benefit Chase Home.

For Chase Home Board Member Mike LaLime, owner of TRE Cleaning & Restoration, the opportunity for the nonprofit agency to receive unexpected funds and talk about its mission is “incredible.”

“I’ve known Graham for years—and for him and all these people to come together and include Chase Home, it really means so much,” he said. “Chase Home is working very hard to make this community the best place possible for everyone. It all starts with the kids. Every kid, regardless of background, deserves a chance for a great life. This event will help.”

To learn more about Spring Gentleman’s Night, which takes place from 5:30 pm to 8 pm at The East Lounge in Martingale Wharf in Portsmouth, find it on Facebook. To learn more about Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org.

Local businesses and entrepreneurs rally to support Chase Home

Community diversion program to launch on May 1

In collaboration with many community stakeholders, Chase Home will launch the Seacoast Community Diversion Program (SCDP) on May 1 to provide youth who have committed minor offenses with an alternative to arrest or prosecution. Developed over the course of approximately 9 months, the program will provide a variety of services, including: assessments of individuals’ needs, individual, group and/or family counseling, substance abuse counseling, supervised recreational activities, and mentoring.

According to Meme Wheeler, executive director at Chase Home, the program addresses a need that has been unmet on the immediate Seacoast for the past 7 years.

“There was a community diversion program based out of Greenland, but that closed sometime around 2010, which has left a significant gap in our support system for youth,” she said. “Research is very clear that youth who go through diversion programs experience much better outcomes. These outcomes could ultimately lead to savings in the community, too.”

Expressing a desire to include more prevention/early intervention programming at Chase Home, Wheeler cited a strong relationship with the Portsmouth Police Department as one of the initial motivators behind SCDP.

“We have a great working relationship with the Portsmouth Police Department and Sergeant Hester has been a very important piece in getting this set up,” she said.

SCDP collaborators include Chase Home, Portsmouth Police Department, New Heights, Portsmouth School System, Exeter School System, Rockingham Juvenile Court, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

SCDP will initially serve approximately 8 to 10 youth and their families in the immediate Portsmouth area, but expand to include Exeter and other towns. Noting they have secured some funding from both the private and public sector, Wheeler said they are currently working to become an accredited program within the NH Juvenile Court Diversion Network. Currently, there are 17 accredited diversion programs in the state.

One of several early collaborators in the program, New Heights will provide adventure-based opportunities to participants and their families, which distinguishes SCDP from similar programs. Tracey Tucker, executive director at New Heights, said their involvement stems from their belief in collaboration to solve community problems.

“Between the drug crisis and many youth engaging in riskier behaviors at younger ages, we need to create solutions together,” she said.

In looking ahead, Wheeler added there are still some unknowns, including the need for long-term funding. She did, however, express optimism that the need for a community diversion program in Portsmouth and surrounding towns will lead to a solution.

“We have a lot of people and agencies at the table,” she said. “By working together, I believe we are going to make this program sustainable for the long term. I believe we already have this next fiscal year covered, which is pretty amazing.”

Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, Chase Home has evolved through the years to meet needs in the greater Seacoast community related to children and youth. To learn more about the program, visit www.chasehome.org.

Community diversion program to launch on May 1

Major construction project completed at Chase Home

Over the winter and early spring, major construction work has taken place at The Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth—a project that is now completed. Funded through a $50,000 grant award from the City of Portsmouth/U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, the project affected several significant infrastructural repairs and life safety upgrades at Chase Home.

According to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, these improvements included new stairway handrails, fire alarm panel, sealing of several structural elements for firestopping purposes, emergency lights and ceiling tiles.

“These things were necessary from a code and safety standpoint,” she said. “It was a serious undertaking. I cannot thank the City of Portsmouth enough for making this happen. We are in a much better position from a structural perspective than we have been in years.”

Mayor of Portsmouth, Jack Blalock said the federal Community Development Block Grant program is an important source of funding in the community.

“It supports programs like Chase Home that provide housing and social services to families and youth who earn low to moderate incomes,” he said. “Over the last thirty years, this block grant in Portsmouth has supported and continues to support numerous infrastructure, facility improvement, housing rehabilitation and social service programs in our City that directly benefit persons who are elderly or homeless, children who are abused or neglected and thousands of other eligible recipients.”

In looking ahead at Chase Home’s future, Board Director and owner of Tre Cleaning & Restoration, Mike LaLime said it looks much brighter as a result of this project.

“We are always discussing the building, this home where kids live,” he said. “The City of Portsmouth has definitely impacted our operations in a terrific and positive way…We are all very thankful.”

Wheeler added, “We also want to thank Peter and North South Construction. They did an incredible job and went above and beyond what we could have expected.”

Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, Chase Home has evolved through the years to meet needs in the greater Seacoast community related to children and youth.

To view photos of the project, find Chase Home on Facebook or Instagram, or visit www.chasehome.org.

To receive updates about Chase Home, text CHASEHOME to 41411, or visit www.chasehome.org.

Major construction project completed at Chase Home

Chase Home receives $2,500 from Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97

Serving youth, ages 11 and older, Chase Home was recently awarded $2,500 from Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97 to support its Independent Living Program (ILP) for older teens. Within the program, youth (ages 18 to 21) live as adults and receive comprehensive therapeutic and clinical supports.

(l to r) Sharon Curcio, Chase Home’s Meme Wheeler, Annemarie King, and Michael Clifford

According to Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler, the primary objective of the program is to help youth successfully make the transition to adulthood. “We provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed as adults,” she said. “We help position them for long-term success.”

For Sharon Curcio of Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97, the opportunity to invest in Chase Home aligned with their interest in supporting vulnerable populations. Noting she took a tour of the home with Wheeler, she said she was immediately drawn to their mission.

“The idea that these youth would have nowhere else to go after their time here did not sit well with any of us,” she said. “We applied for a Gratitude Grant from the Elks National Foundation and received it—we were very excited.”

Monies from the grant were used to refinish a bathtub as well as paint and furniture for one apartment. More than a dozen members of Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97 donated their time to do much of the work themselves.

“We were happy to get involved in this way—this is what the Elks are all about,” said Curcio.

Begun in 2016, ILP is made possible through several additional funding sources, including Newburyport Five Cents Savings Charitable Foundation, which invested $5,000 to help launch the program.

“This is a program that prevents homelessness for youth who have nowhere else to go,” added Wheeler. “It bridges a gap for these youth. While they move through the program in just a few months, it gives them time to get additional support and make connections to outside supports…We help them navigate that world.”

According to Wheeler, Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97 and Newburyport Five Cents Savings Charitable Foundation have helped prevent homelessness for “one of the most underserved populations in the state.”

“This latest gift has literally given one youth a home for several months while we help him build up his options,” she said. “We are so very grateful.”

Founded in 1877, Chase Home is dedicated to providing supportive and restorative residential and family services to at-risk youth in a safe and nurturing environment. Major sponsors of Chase Home in 2017 include The Gove Group Real Estate in Stratham. To learn more about Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org.

Chase Home receives $2,500 from Portsmouth Elks Lodge #97

Robert’s Maine Grill to support Chase Home in Portsmouth

Located in Kittery, Maine, Robert’s Maine Grill will host a “Community Supper” on Tuesdays, March 21 and 18, to help support The Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth. Originally founded as an orphanage in 1877, Chase Home is a non-profit organization that serves at risk youth, ages 11-18, and their families through residential, home-based family, and prevention programs.

Serving 36% of youth requiring intermediate placement in New Hampshire—all of whom are involved in the legal system—Chase Home is one of four intermediate level group homes in the state. “Robert’s Maine Grill supports the community in so many ways—we are very grateful for this continued longstanding partnership,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director of Chase Home.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday night, Robert’s Maine Grill offers a Community Supper that begins at 4pm. The dinner is $16 and includes a three course menu with 5% of the proceeds donated to a local charity or nonprofit. Supper menus are posted at http://www.robertsmainegrill.com.

The Chase Home Community Supper will take place beginning at 4 pm on Tuesdays, March 21 and March 28. For more information about Chase Home, visit www.chasehome.org. For information about the Community Supper, visit www.robertsmainegrill.com.

Robert’s Maine Grill to support Chase Home in Portsmouth