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”

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

Local Resident to Lead Renovation Project at The Chase Home

In its current location since the early 1900s, The Chase Home is in need of substantial exterior improvements, which has attracted the support of Portsmouth native Jeff Keefe, who has volunteered to lead the project.

Jeff Keefe and Meme Wheeler Outside The Chase Home
Jeff Keefe (left) and Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home. Photo credit: David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

Financial Advisor and Principal at Whole Wealth Management, LLC, Keefe led the successful development of the Puddle Dock Pond ice rink at Strawbery Banke Museum, which required nearly $1 million in cash and in-kind donations.

“I’m doing this for the kids,” said Keefe, who said his impetus is to elevate “the spirits of the kids who live at Chase Home.”

“My grandparents lived next door to Chase Home, so I have always been aware of it and what they did,” he explained. “I wanted to do something for an agency that has done so much for kids in this community for more than 140 years.”

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.

Meme Wheeler and Jeff Keefe Outside The Chase Home
Photo credit: David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

Regarding the needed improvements, Keefe cited a new driveway, roof and walkways as well as enhanced exterior lighting and landscaping as constituting the majority of the proposed work, which can be completed in phases.

“We will complete aspects of the project as the money is raised,” he said.

With preliminary costs of about $270,000, the project has already garnered nearly $40,000 in support from area companies, including Pike Industries, Bourassa Construction, Terra Firma Landscape Architecture and AndHow.

“Ideally, the project would ‘break ground’ this summer and be completed in about 8 weeks,” added Keefe.

For Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home, the project has long-term potential to impact the nonprofit agency in several ways.

“It not only addresses infrastructural and safety concerns, it creates a new face for The Chase Home,” she said. “This is a home for dozens of youth each year, many in crisis. It is very important we create the most welcoming environment possible for them.”

Keefe agreed and added, “This is really about emphasizing the ‘home’ in Chase Home, and it will require a community effort to do that.”

To learn more about The Chase Home, or support the campaign, visit chasehome.org.

Local Resident to Lead Renovation Project at The Chase Home

The Chase Home to Participate in Bangor Savings Bank’s Community Matters More

Selected for the first time to participate in Bangor Savings Bank’s Community Matters More, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is asking the community for its vote.

Each year, Community Matters More allows community members to become actively involved in grant giving as they decide which nonprofits will receive financial support from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation. The two nonprofits with the most votes in each geographic region will receive a $5,000 grant, while the remaining agencies will receive $1,000.

The Chase Home (76 of 92) (1)
Exterior of The Chase Home

“We are thrilled to be on the 2020 Community Matters More ballot,” said The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “This is a wonderful initiative.”

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.

Voting for the Community Matters More campaign takes place during the entire month of February. All votes must be completed by online ballot at www.bangor.com/cmm. Only one online ballot per person is eligible for submission.

To learn more about The Chase Home, or how you can support us, please visit www.chasehome.org.

The Chase Home to Participate in Bangor Savings Bank’s Community Matters More

The Chase Home’s Summer Program in Jeopardy

14066469_1742555312652597_7402010286160885767_oEvery summer, The Chase Home provides youth that live there with experiential learning opportunities that enhance the work performed by clinical staff. An unexpected funding shortage, however, jeopardizes the program.

“We expect to receive a little less than half of what we expected from a very consistent funding source to offset the cost of the summer program,” explained Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home. “The shortfall is about $7,000.”

Activities that take place during the summer includes camping, gardening, fishing, day trip to parks and recreation areas, education seminars and more.

“Our summer program empower our kids and helps build their confidence,” she added. “It is part of the therapeutic and clinical guidance provided by our staff year-round.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home serves nearly 300 at-risk youth and families annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs.

“We serve kids who have been abused, neglected, or who are starting to get in serious trouble,” said Wheeler, who hopes the community can rally around The Chase Home to “help our kids.”

“Our summer program is so important to them,” she said. “This program makes summer a special time for kids who really need one.”

The Chase Home’s Summer Program in Jeopardy

Tuscan Market donates $1,100 to The Chase Home

IMG_1520Recently Tuscan Market donated $1,100 to benefit The Chase Home’s Summer Program, which provides activities and experiential learning activities to at-risk youth.

“It’s a program that provides youth who live here with opportunities they have most likely never experienced with their families,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home. “We are so grateful for the support of Tuscan Market.

Recently, Tuscan Market also hosted  a lunch for these same youth, an opportunity staff at the Wheeler said meant  “a great deal to them.”

“These are kids that have experienced very difficult circumstances in their lives,” she said. “When they have a chance to experience something they never would have otherwise, it is something they remember…It’s also something that can help our staff reach these kids, help them understand the community cares about them.”

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home serves nearly 300 at-risk youth and families annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs.

Wheeler said Tuscan Market’s donation is particularly impactful given possible funding shortages related to the program this summer.

“There is a chance we may receive much less from the state than we anticipated to fund the activities,” said Wheeler. “This is a potentially serious problem for us and our kids this summer, which is why we cannot thank Tuscan Market enough for stepping in to help.”

Tuscan Market donates $1,100 to The Chase Home

Grand Opening of Tuscan Market to benefit The Chase Home

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On Monday, July 1, Tuscan Market will open in downtown Portsmouth with 10% of the day’s proceeds to benefit The Chase Home.

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home serves 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.

Tuscan Market will also host a special lunch for youth who live at The Chase Home, an opportunity that staff at the nonprofit agency said will have “a big impact on the kids.”

“Anytime we can provide the kids with a community-based experience, it makes them feel good and better about themselves,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director at The Chase Home. “We are so thankful for this opportunity.”

This opportunity for The Chase Home builds off an existing relationship with Tuscan Brands. In addition to hosting fundraising events for The Chase Home, Tuscan Kitchen in Portsmouth has made numerous in-kind donations as well as prepared meals on-site for youth residents.

Joe Faro is founder and CEO of Tuscan Brands.

“We are thankful for Joe’s support of not just The Chase Home, but other nonprofits in the area,” added Wheeler.

Tuscan Market in downtown Portsmouth will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Grand Opening of Tuscan Market to benefit The Chase Home