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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Agency opens door to kids

By JARED ANDERSON
Special to The Telegraph

NASHUA - The Front Door Agency has been assisting families at risk of homelessness in Greater Nashua for nearly 30 years.

With strong community support, we are able to offer security deposit loans, assistance with back rent and utilities, a Rapid Re-Housing Program for those facing eviction and a Transitional Housing Program for single mothers and their children. ...

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NASHUA - The Front Door Agency has been assisting families at risk of homelessness in Greater Nashua for nearly 30 years.

With strong community support, we are able to offer security deposit loans, assistance with back rent and utilities, a Rapid Re-Housing Program for those facing eviction and a Transitional Housing Program for single mothers and their children.

Our Transitional Housing Program empowers motivated young women to build a brighter future for their families through education and to heal from the crisis that brought them to our agency, be it addiction, domestic violence or another serious situation.

We are often moved by the children whose families are in crisis - many of them suffer the strong negative consequences of a family out of balance.

Joshua, for example, is 9 years old and in third grade. He had grown up his whole life watching his father physically abuse his mother. When Joshua and his mom came to our Transitional Housing Program after months of "couch surfing" at friends' homes, they didn't have a car and Joshua was missing a lot of school. He never knew from day to day where he would sleep or where he would eat his next meal.

Today, Joshua's life has improved dramatically. Fear, uncertainty and chaos are gone from his young life; he is enrolled at a neighborhood school and is a thriving 9-year-old.

Thankfully for Joshua, his mom and others just like them, the Front Door Agency operates in a caring, compassionate community where volunteerism is strong. This fall, we were overwhelmed with gratitude once again by the tremendous outpouring of volunteer involvement during our 25th annual Penny Picker Drive. During the drive, teams of volunteers - many of them students - go door to door to collect spare change to support our programs.

We would like to express heartfelt thanks to the many dedicated students from the Nashua High Schools North and South football teams, Interact and honor society students, soccer players from Souhegan High School and Nashua Community College students. We are grateful to Rivier University student-athletes who turn out in large numbers each year to canvass neighborhoods. We are also deeply grateful to residents who answered their doors and responded generously to the drive, helping us to raise $12,300 to date - including a generous $5,000 matching gift.

In honor of our 25th annual Penny Picker campaign, this year's drive featured a "High 5 Give 5" theme, focused specifically on helping children whose families come to the Front Door Agency for assistance. Our goal is to raise at least $5 from 4,000 households in our community to help kids just like Joshua.

If our volunteers didn't make it to your neighborhood, there is still time to be part of High 5 Give 5. Please visit www.YouCaring.com/frontdoor to see an inspiring video featuring student-athletes who choose to give generously of their time and effort. Show them you value what they do and what the Front Door Agency is doing to combat homelessness by giving a gift in any amount.

In a difficult political season filled with so much negative news, it is gratifying to see young people give of themselves to improve the lives of people in need. More importantly, we are happy to see children like 9-year-old Joshua thriving thanks to strong support from a caring community.

Jared Anderson is a certified financial planner at the offices of Weisman, Tessier, Lambert & Halloran in Nashua and also volunteers for the Front Door Agency, for which he serves as board chairman. For more information about the organization, visit www.front dooragency.org.