I am truly saddened by the news that New Hope will be closing its doors after more than four decades of service to at-risk youth. The outstanding staff and volunteers are dedicated, caring people that have given their hearts to this outstanding program and school. In 2012, I worked with them during a fellowship with UConn. I share with you my speech I gave at their May fundraiser:
"Good Morning, my name is Kate Nicholas. I am very excited to be here today. I am on a fellowship from UConn. when the opportunity to do a project with New Hope arose as part of this fellowship I jumped at it. I jumped at it because I too know a story about a young girl, who before she came to New Hope was trapped in her life. Her father was an abusive alcoholic. Her mother enabled the abuse while abusing herself with prescription drugs. Back then we called them "Mothers little helpers." She was also involved with a boy who was into drugs and many bad choices. She found herself trapped with no way out.
She skipped school, ran away, why bother trying when you can't see any options. She began to take drugs herself to numb the pain and confusion. An overdose landed her in Manchester Hospital. She was saved by her big brother that night. The two of them were befriended by a nurse who suggested New Hope.
When she arrived at New Hope the staff helped her to bring balance to her life and taught her to take ownership of her behavior. She learned she had options and began to respond to treatment. She was rather headstrong so many times it was two steps forward one step back.
This young woman was a resident from October 1977 until she graduated the program that following year. She was able to recover her high school credits and graduate on time. She went to college. She went on to have a career in the corporate world. Became active in her town by volunteering, raising a family and giving back to the community, dedicating herself to kids who think they don't have many options.
She now has two grown sons who are successful in their own right. The road has not always been smooth but those fundamental lessons from New Hope have proved timeless. Because of those lessons this woman was able to break the cycle of abuse and addiction. That woman is me. New Hope can change lives, New Hope does change lives, YOU here this morning will change lives."
I believe it is the mentoring I recieved through this organization that inspired my own desire to give back to the community. So it is not goodbye, for the hope you instilled in a troubled 17 year old girl all those years ago lives on to bring New Hope to others. God bless.