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Ann Hopkins, Spirit of the Seacoast 2015 winner, shows “unwavering compassion”
By Dave Johnson, United Way of the Greater Seacoast
“If you know me, you won’t get away without hearing about Seacoast Family Promise.”
So says Ann Hopkins, winner of this summer’s Spirit of the Seacoast Award, an award which recognizes an exceptional volunteer of one of United Way of the Greater Seacoast’s community partners. The Spirit of the Seacoast is awarded twice a year and comes with a $500 grant from Federal Savings Bank to a nonprofit partner chosen by the award recipient.
This time, Ann chose Seacoast Family Promise (SFP). Ann has volunteered with the organization, which provides shelter and support to families with children experiencing homelessness, for 12 years and sits on their board.
When asked what keeps her passionate about the organization after all this time, Ann cites multiple reasons: SFP’s mission, the dedicated and talented staff, her fellow volunteers, and seeing the success of families after they’ve gone through the program are just a few.
What it really comes down to, is that Ann believes in the program. She’s witnessed families struggle with homelessness, knowing how difficult it is for the children involved. She’s seen the strength of the community that SFP gives the families during those hard times. She’s watched parents and children move into their own homes and thrive after their stay with SFP. It’s all made her a life-long advocate for and a dedicated volunteer.
“Her compassion for SFP, its mission, and vision have been unwavering,” says Pati Frew-Waters, Executive Director of SFP.
More than that, Ann says, it’s important to her to give back and create opportunities for her fellow community members.
“We all have gifts, talents, and skills to share,” says Ann about her love of volunteering, “Really, you get back more than you give.”
Not chickens next door! 8 0ut 10 buyers shopping Exeter ask if this is permissible. Great schools, Parks, Emergency Services. A Faith Community, a downtown, environmentally aware, a place that cares and likes to live together with others and is always ready to lend a helping hand.
I had several weeks ago suggested to a few people that Neighborhood Associations are both unnecessary and not in the spirit of the wider Community. That these organizations can often adopt a bunker mentality at odds with others. I understand many neighbors of the proposed Seacoast Family Promise Daycare facility are indeed supporters.
We voted as a Community to insure that indeed these types of outreach facilities that foster new beginnings and offer guidance, recreation and respite are integral and should not be limited.
It would seem to me reading these minutes linked below that within the bunker there can be problems. If this battle continues to Court then for sure those living there and supporting this could indeed , perhaps, maybe, see their home value drop.
Especially in the eyes of someone shopping for a home in a Community.
I’m sure you know about article #9 on the town warrant next Tuesday — the citizens’ petition to eliminate the “Community Building” special exception in residential zones of Exeter. I hope you will spread the word to vote no on article #9 and keep community buildings in the Community.
If you care so much to volunteer and would hold a sign at the Talbot gym that can be arranged.
Then there is the March 17 ZBA rehearing of SFP’s request for a special exception to have 27 Hampton Rd. declared a Community building. We want as many SFP supporters as possible there that night. There will be an opportunity for public comment (though comments should be concise so the hearing doesn’t go to the wee hours).
The Zoning Board tonight found they erred in many respects(after consulting an attorney) and has granted the fine organization a rehearing of their proposal.
If you support Seacoast Family Promise and their goal to secure a site on Hampton Road to continue their mission think about attending tonight’s meeting.
Ok, all done thinking?
See you there.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED FOR TWO UPCOMING EXETER TOWN MEETINGS!
The Exeter Zoning Board of Adjustment:
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. in the Auditorium of Exeter Town Hall, across the street from the Exeter Town Offices to consider the following:
NEW BUSINESS: SFP Attorney Sharon Cuddy Somers will speak in opposition to this matter.
Your silent support will be needed.
The application of Exeter Farms Homeowners’ Association for an Appeal from an Administrative Decision made by the Code Enforcement Officer and Zoning Board of Adjustment at the November 18, 2014 meeting relative to the proceedings of Case #1480 (Seacoast Family Promise). The Applicant alleges that error was made with respect to the interpretation of the definition of “Community Building” and in determining compliance with Article 5, Section 5.2 Special Exceptions, subsection “A.” (That the use is a permitted special exception as set forth in Article 4.2, Schedule I hereof). The subject property under consideration is located at 27 Hampton Road, in the R-2 Single Family Residential zoning district. Tax Map Parcel # 87-36. Case # 1490.
OTHER BUSINESS: This will be closed to all public comment.
Request for re-hearing of the application of Seacoast Family Promise, 27 Hampton Road, Tax Map Parcel #87-36. Case #1480.
Exeter Planning Board:
Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. (We suggest arriving around 8 P.M. as we are not first on the agenda) in the Nowak Room of the Exeter Town Office Building, 10 Front Street, Exeter, to consider the following:
NEW BUSINESS: PUBLIC HEARINGS
Public hearing on the proposed zoning amendments for 2015 Town Meeting warrant. Copies of the full text of the proposed amendments are available in the Planning Office
7. Citizens Petition: On the petition of Christopher Gilroy and other registered voters of the Town of Exeter, to see if the town will vote to “Amend Article 4.2 Schedule I:Permitted Uses by deleting the present “Community Buildings” as a use permitted by Special Exception in the R-1, R-2, R-3 & R-4 districts.”
The hearing tonight before the ZBA on the Seacoast Family Promise day program will be conducted in the multipurpose room at the Exeter Public Library. This venue is not equipped to broadcast the meeting live to Channel 22. It would be a good thing if the meeting could be recorded for later viewing. I am not sure if provisions are being made for that purpose. If a decision is made tonight it won’t really matter.
The Nowak Room at the Town Office and the Morrisette Room at the High School are our only live tv venues.
This significant public meeting regarding Seacoast Family Promise might have benefited from selecting a venue that provided live tv coverage. It would seem that scheduling issues between various Boards and the prospect of a large crowd drove this decision.
The camera has a definite moderating effect on the level of discourse in a small Community. I mean really, do you want to be recorded as one who railed against apple pie?
Ok, not all the time (some folks dislike pie, prefer cake) but on this sensitive issue, helping others get a leg up, making room for the less fortunate in our Community, the camera would have been helpful.
The hearing scheduled for tomorrow evening Oct 2nd has been postponed till November 18th . This was rescheduled to allow SFP to prepare and respond fully to abutters concerns.
So we will all wait till November!
The month of Thanksgiving celebrations, when we gather in our homes with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks for the bounty, enjoy the warmth and comfort, and celebrate our own good fortune.