Offering Healthy Starts for Kids with Miss Kendra

Mariah DavisPosted by Mariah Davis on December 1, 2021

TLC Family Resource Center (TLC) imagines a place where every child and every family can enjoy economic, physical, social, and spiritual security. Their mission is to promote the optimal health and development of children, youth, and families in Sullivan and Lower Grafton Counties.

Located in Claremont, New Hampshire, the nonprofit accomplishes their mission through four primary program areas:

  • Family Supports: supporting healthy starts for parents, caregivers, and children
  • Rural Outright: offering support and social connections to the LGBTQ+ community and their allies
  • Recovery Programs: partnering with individuals and families on their recovery journey
  • Youth Programs: building skills for healthy decision making with teens and young adults

In 2021, the Hypertherm HOPE Foundation learned of an opportunity that would allow TLC to offer Miss Kendra programming in the Claremont (NH) School District, if funding could be found. Miss Kendra is a curriculum for kindergarten and first grade students and their parents, based on a story about a woman who experienced adversity through the death of a child that inspired her to help other children and listen to their worries. It is a trauma-informed learning program and school-based public health approach that creates safe spaces for children to address trauma and adversity early and often. Melony Williams, TLC’s Licensed Clinical Mental Health Provider and Miss Kendra facilitator, shared, “There is magic in the connection that happens between the students during Miss Kendra time. When a student shares a worry and their classmates listen and help them to find a solution, it builds empathy and friendship.”

The HOPE (Hypertherm Owners’ Philanthropic Endeavors) Foundation approached Mascoma Bank’s Donation Committee to see if the employee-led group would be interested in making a matching donation to support the delivery of this programming. In addition to common geography of their headquarters’ communities, Hypertherm and Mascoma Bank also have active employee engagement and leadership in their local philanthropic efforts, representing a cross-section of departments within the companies.

Both the HOPE Foundation and Mascoma Bank chose to make $5,000 donations in support of the program, for a total donation of $10,000. “The HOPE Foundation has a strategic focus area of Early Childhood. We are excited to fund the Miss Kendra program at the Bluff Elementary School in Claremont as this supports our Youth Resilience pillar,” said Stacey Chiocchio, Community Citizenship Manager at Hypertherm, Inc.

“We are proud to partner with the HOPE Foundation on this matching donation,” said Samantha Pause, Chief Marketing Officer at Mascoma Bank. “Offering Miss Kendra programming to the students at Bluff Elementary School is just one example of the impact that TLC makes on children in our community. We are happy to support TLC and their mission focused on the health and developmental well-being of children and families.”

“With this generous donation from the HOPE Foundation and Mascoma Bank, TLC will bring Miss Kendra to over 40 children in two kindergarten classrooms at Bluff Elementary. Students will learn to understand the importance of safety, emotional expression, connection, and empathy. We cannot think of a better investment to start their education than with these basic social/emotional lessons being an integral part of what they learn,” said TLC’s Executive Director, Stephanie Slayton.