Souhegan Valley Chamber hosts ‘mini’ expo for networking

Telegraph photo by GEORGE PELLETIER Enjoying the Wednesday Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours social event are, from left, Pat Moquin, Steve Brown and Dick Ver Eecke of Score.

MILFORD – Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce officials conducted their monthly Business After Hours social event on Wednesday night, while combining it with a “mini” expo, which provided several area businesses the opportunity to network and promote their companies.

The event took place at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club in Milford.

Chamber President and CEO Wendy Hunt welcomed guests and spoke about chamber members becoming committee members.

“It’s a great way to get involved and meet people,” she said, “as well as network and grow your business. And our next big event is going to be the Kid Festival, so if you have a kid business or a business that is somehow related to kids, this is going to be a huge event with the YMCA. They have 24,000 members that they’re going to shoot all of this information out to.”

That event takes place March 20 at the Westwood Park YMCA, located at 90 Northwest Blvd., Nashua.

The ‘fest,’ sponsored in part by The Telegraph, will feature kids’ games and activities, bounce houses, live music and performances, interactive booths and concessions.

One of the businesses exhibiting on Wednesday was Score, a mentoring firm that provides confidential business advice and training for companies through a network of 10,000 business professionals.

“We’re a volunteer organization,” Score’s Steve Brown said. “We’re made up of a group of industry professionals. Some are in sales; some are in finance; some are in marketing. And if you have a business and you’d like mentoring assistance, we’ll sit down and talk to you and steer you down the right place.”

Brown said there is no charge for their services and they also provide workshops on social media skills, with social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

“We seem to get more and more startups,” he continued. “Let’s say you’ve had a business for five or six years and sales have gone flat. We can help with matters such as that, or if you’re having some difficulty producing financial reports, we can step in and assist with that.”

Score offers mentoring via email, video chat, or face-to-face meetings within your local chapter.

Another firm represented at the expo was RSEC. Executive Director Judy Koch said the nonprofit agency runs programs for students with special needs.

“The five programs we offer are focused on student empowerment,” she said. “Sunrise Children’s Center (99 Route 1010A in Amherst), is for infants 6 weeks old through youth 10 years of age and offers full-day childcare; Vista (310 Old Nashua Road in Amherst), which is only a couple of years old, is for grades 5-12 and offers diploma-granted high school, academic programs and behavior consultation. It’s a 210-day program.”

Koch added that students there require more individual attention and might have behaviors more associated with autism.

Another RSEC program is Longview School, located at 55 Reservation Road in Deerfield. It provides art, adventure and hands-on learning with vocational and summer programs, as well as therapeutic and transition services. It offers 154 acres for outside learning.

The Academy high school, also located at 31 Old Nashua Road, Amherst, offers direct systematic small-group instruction, experimental and adventure-based education and summer programs and courses.

“The Academy works with 35 students and we’re an approved for special education and non-public school by the state,” Koch said. “That means we can grant diplomas for high school graduates. The students there have specific learning disabilities, speech and language disabilities, and maybe they’re high-functioning with Asperger’s.”

Koch said no class exceeds eight students.

The other RSEC program is the Academy middle school for grades 5-8, which provides competency/standard based curriculum and grading.

Koch also said by creating exceptional educational environments, children and students increase achievement in nurturing and therapeutic settings specially designed for their individual needs.

RSEC’s board of directors includes Andrew Corey, superintendent of schools, SAU No. 41, Adam Steel, superintendent of schools SAU No. 39, and Jessica Huizenga, superintendent of schools, SAU No. 40.