RiverWoods Reaches Out

Have you thought about volunteering in your local community, but don’t know where to start? Last month, RiverWoods residents didn’t even have to leave campus to find out more about volunteer opportunities in the Seacoast area. Many of those organizations came to the volunteer fair, held on October 28th at Boulders Hall.

Eighteen services and organizations were represented at the fair, arranged by the Outreach Committee, pictured bottom, center.

Services and Nonprofit Organizations in the Seacoast Area

The Outreach Committee, comprised of ten RiverWoods residents, had been brainstorming for a while about ways to encourage newer residents of the RiverWoods community to volunteer. The committee’s brainstorming sessions led to working together with Cathleen Toomey, VP of Marketing, to set up the “RiverWoods Reaches Out” volunteer fair at Boulders Hall. At least 70 visitors came through the fair within the first hour of the event.

With assistance from RiverWoods staff, the committee invited over 20 different volunteer opportunities and local organizations to attend. On the day of the fair, eighteen of them were represented. Each table provided information about their service/cause and signed up volunteers who expressed an interest.

Organizations in attendance were:

  • Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Friends of the Exeter Public Library
  • Bedrock Gardens
  • SELT (South East Land Trust)
  • American Red Cross
  • Cross Roads House
  • Friends Forever International
  • James House
  • Project Linus
  • AIR (Arts in Reach)
  • Black Heritage Trail NH
  • End 68 Hours of Hunger
  • Seacoast Science Center
  • Girls on the Run
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • American Independence Museum

A Long List of Outreach Opportunities

The Outreach Committee put together a binder listing out 50 different volunteer opportunities, by area of interest and by name, and provides a copy at each of the three campus buildings.

“This is a time in our lives when we elders can bring our years of knowledge, our life experience, and our maturity to help and guide others. In return comes the satisfaction of knowing we have contributed to another’s wellbeing,” writes the Outreach Committee.

Now with lockdowns (hopefully) being a thing of the past, residents are reengaging with causes in the town of Exeter and within the larger Seacoast area. The committee hopes residents will use the volunteer fair (which they plan to repeat yearly or bi-annually) and the binder as resources to connect with a nonprofit organization in the Seacoast area that would be of interest and enjoyment to them — and which they may not have known existed.

RiverWoods Has a History of Being of Service

RiverWoods residents have always been an active group of citizens both within RiverWoods (from serving on a committee to starting a new initiative or helping run the library or country store) and outside it. This past year, residents have arranged for food drives — filling two buses twice with food for St. Vincent de Paul — and they will be collecting toys for the Exeter Fire Department Toy Bank in November.

Staff also get involved. They support their favorite local causes, from providing gifts for families in need at Seacoast Family Promise to participating in the Annual Walk to End Altzheimer’s.

“We use a quote in the binder,” said Tina Morris, who is one of the co-chairs of the Outreach Committee, and was taking down names of attendees at the fair:

“Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”