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Lights On Afterschool event at Lakes Region Boys & Girls Club today

LACONIA — Today, children, parents, business and community leaders are all invited to attend the annual Lights On Afterschool events planned at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region and our local elementary schools, Woodland Heights, Elm Street School and Pleasant Street School. Lights On Afterschool is a yearly event that celebrates the achievements of afterschool students and draws attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. More than 7,500 events across the nation will be emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and doors open after school.

When deciding how to celebrate this year's event at the Boys & Girls Club, it was left up to Project Torch Club to brainstorm some ideas and come up with a plan. After much deliberation, they decided on a couple great ideas. First, they made papier-mâché light bulbs as a visual display of Lights on Afterschool. They also decorated white paper bags and will be placing tea lights in them to illuminate the sidewalk outside of the Boys & Girls Club. Finally, the middle school members decided that they wanted to put together a dance party for the younger members of the Boys & Girls Club. To match the theme of the dance, middle school members will be making "electric lemonade" and light bulb themed sweet treats to serve to the little ones.

Woodland Heights Project EXTRA is going to be all about community, games, and celebrating. They are going to be playing their annual K-5 game of knee tag, taking their yearly Lights On picture, showing off their Lights On statue, and splitting up into smaller groups for fun activities such as parachute challenges, light bulb coloring, and the lights on robot challenge.

Elm Street School students have organized this year's Lights On event. They are providing a variety of activities for everyone to participate in, including light bulb cookie decorating and stress ball making, just to name a few. Students will also be revealing their 6'x3' light bulb they constructed with the support from Giguere Electric Incorporated, who donated the materials for the sculpture.

Pleasant Street students will celebrate by wearing yellow or neon clothes, glow in the dark bracelets, and light bulb tattoos. They will light up the gym with their very own premiere of their group video! A giant light bulb photo collage will also be on display.

The events follow the release of new America After 3PM data showing a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In New Hampshire 35,302 children participate in an afterschool program, yet 60,756 would be enrolled if a program were available. Further, 96 percent percent of New Hampshire's parents are satisfied with their child's afterschool program, and 82 percent agree that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind. More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep New Hampshire kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 08:26

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Lakes Region Community Services employee wins statewide award

LACONIA — Connie Whitcher of Wentworth,  was recently selected as the Direct Support Professional of the Year by the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities. The award was given at the DSP Statewide Conference held at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on October 10. Whitcher, who has been supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in the community for the past 18 years, was visibly surprised when her name was called to step forward to receive the honor. Her colleagues and family members had managed to keep the award a surprise. When the announcement was made, her husband Ron and brother Butch stepped into the room to celebrate with her. Whitcher commented, "I've never been so shocked in my whole life, honestly I was stunned."

"Being chosen as DSP of the Year is a significant honor. Connie embodies all of the best qualities in a person any family would want supporting their loved one," said Lakes Region Community Services Executive Director Christine Santaniello. "As an organization, LRCS is very proud to have her on our team."

As Connie's career has progressed, she has played a critical role in developing new employment opportunities for individuals supported by LRCS. She helped develop STRIDE, a sector-based internship program with Sodexo and Plymouth State University. Connie has been instrumental in helping to start several agency-run businesses in the community that employ people with disabilities.

"Connie was recently working with a young woman who lived at home with her mom and experienced minimal employment," said StaffWorks of LRCS Director Laurie Vachon, Connie's immediate supervisor. "Connie helped her obtain several part-time jobs to help her build confidence in herself and alleviate her family's fears. "With Connie's support, this young woman blossomed over time and decided she wanted to work in the food service industry. Connie worked with a local employer to create a work-based internship opportunity, which quickly turned into paid employment. This young lady now lives in her own apartment, has obtained her driver's license through a special training program and loves her job. This is just one example of how Connie's creativity and dedication has an amazing positive impact. Her schedule is different every day, but she is always helping someone with a disability attain their goals."

LRCS also nominated Barbara Foster of Laconia for Home Provider of the Year. Barbara has been an outspoken advocate for the individuals she supports in her home, working every day to further their independence and presence in the community.

LRCS has offices in Laconia and Plymouth which combine to serve families residing throughout Belknap and Southern Grafton Counties. To learn more about the Lakes Region Community Services contact Joanne Piper Lang at 603-524-8811.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 08:16

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Leinenkugel Brewery organizing WOW Trail clean up event Saturday

LACONIA — The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery is taking "Canoes for a Cause" local to Laconia and putting together a Clean Up Day along the WOW Trail which will take place Saturday, October 25.

Check in starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake Opechee Inn & Conference Center parking lot in Lakeport. Cleanup starts at 10 a.m. and runs until noon. Trash bags and gloves will be provided. The first 50 participates will receive t-shirts.

An after party will be held at Patrick's Pub & Eatery in Gilford from noon to 2 p.m. to enjoy some Leinenkugel beers and appetizers.

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery is currently being run by the 6th generation of Leinenkugel's. It was started in 1867, by Jacob Leinenkugel on the Big Eddy Spring, in Chippewa Falls, WI, once dubbed the purest water in the world

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 08:09

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Community dinner Saturday to help family of cancer victim in Sanbornton on Saturday

SANBORNTON — This Saturday the community is invited to come together on Saturday afternoon at the First Baptist Church off Route 127 for a fundraiser to benefit Dennis Hicks and his family.

Hicks, who is the son-in-law of town Health Officer and retired State Representative Bill Tobin, was recently diagnosed with an extremely rare form of bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.

"It's a rare disease that usually only children get," said Faith Tobin.

This Saturday, the community is joining in a benefit for Hicks and his family. Members of the Sanbornton and Tilton community are making homemade soups and stews and other homemade goodies for a community dinner. Businesses from the region have donated gift certificates and other items that will be auctioned off by Bill Tobin – a noted amateur auctioneer.

Because of the diagnosis and subsequent treatment, Hicks is scheduled to have his foot amputated and is undergoing treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.

"He had insurance but he had to quit his job as a mechanic," said Faith, who said coverage he currently has pays for much of his health care but many of his medicines and the costs of going back and forth to hospitals in Boston has been overwhelming.

"They just don't have a dime," she said. "They've spent it all."

She said her son-in-law desperately wants to get back to work but with the foot amputation and the chemotherapy, she said his doctors expect it could take as much as a year for him to be well enough to return to work.

Faith Tobin said what started as a small fundraiser in the community room of the church has morphed into a large community event that will be held inside the church as well as under a big tent in the field.

All of the money raised will go to the Hick family and their three children.

The event begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church and is scheduled to end at 6 p.m.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 08:01

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