On May 5, 2022, the conference room in The River Center was dedicated as the Bonnie Harris Parent Room to acknowledge the outstanding service and contributions to River Center programming and parent education in the Monadnock area and beyond. Staff members and board members were in attendance to celebrate her and her accomplishments.
Our River Center families know that connection is at the heart of all of our programs: parents connecting with other parents, children playing with other children, and parents building stronger connections with their own children. Our group facilitators plan age-appropriate activities that allow for children to explore their environments and provide parents with the opportunity to meet and discuss topics important to them and their families.
The New Hampshire Children’s Trust (nhchildrenstrust.org) is helping us celebrate prevention month. Here is what they say about it: “Prevention, at its core, means helping families identify and build on their strengths, like effective communication, a strong support network, and having the ability to bounce back from tough situations.
It is the way we connect and support each other in order to build environments that strengthen families and create success for individuals and throughout society.
Did you know that The River Center, physically located in Peterborough, provides services for individuals and families in a number of towns? Our focus is on serving residents in Greenville, Mason, New Ipswich, Rindge, Jaffrey, Dublin, Peterborough, Greenfield, Temple, and Sharon. If someone lives outside these towns, we may be able to support them but will encourage them to connect with a family resource center closer to home.
Consider with me for a moment what it would feel like to live with absolutely no financial back-ups. No money saved, no friends who would help you if needed, no family who are talking to you. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon. According to Prosperity Now of Washington DC, in our corner of the world, almost 1 in 5 residents lack enough money to live at the poverty level for 3 months if they should lose their job. Some of these folks do have some savings, just not enough to keep going for more than 3 months. Some can’t get through next week without income.
It may be cold outside, but things are cooking here at The River Center. We have things to do and places to go for families of all shapes and sizes. And, of course, I want to remind you about our free tax program!
This month, Bonnie Harris is stepping back from her active role at The River Center as a parent educator. I am grateful for her inspiration, passion, dedication and expertise that she has channeled for the betterment of many Monadnock parents and families over the past 30+ years.
After Bonnie Harris had her first child, she joined a baby group and discovered that she loved talking about parenting. She was an actress in New York City at the time and decided to shift career direction. She went back to school, receiving a Master’s degree in Parent Child Development.
I have just spent two weeks with my daughters and their families, including six grandchildren ranging in age from 7 years to 8 months. It was wonderful to be surrounded by family and I may even have learned something. The seven-year-olds reveled in having a cousin the same age. They built fairy houses, swam, created art projects, and slept together at night. The grown-ups didn’t need to do much except feed them and offer gentle guidance when needed.
Here we are – almost at the longest day of the year. Two months ago we were looking out the window at a foot of spring snow. Now we are sitting outdoors enjoying the sun, the green grass and the vibrant colors of the flowers.
Some of you have been planting your gardens and are already reaping a harvest from early producers. I see the care and attention given by passionate gardeners. Their gardens are weeded, watered, and watched carefully. They have the right amount of sun. They are protected from cute little animals.
You may have picked up on the fact that our daughters don’t live next door to us as adults. At one point all three of our daughters lived on the west coast. We rejoiced when they all gradually migrated to the same city in North Carolina and we were in the same time zone. Then the oldest moved to Rwanda and lived there for six years- with three of our grandchildren. Sigh.