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Hard work, and fun at the foundation

October 28. 2012 9:04PM

I was honored to introduce E.J. Powers as the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's 2012 Emerging Leader in the Manchester Region last week. Powers is vice president of strategic Communications at Montagne Communications, but I've always thought his name sounds like he would be better suited to a job as a secret agent or an undercover superhero.

At Tuesday's annual meeting for the foundation's Manchester Region, where 28-year-old E.J. accepted the award, I talked about how all the work he does in our community, for organizations like Easter Seals, Taste of the Nation, and MYPN, does make him sort of an undercover superhero. Our community is very fortunate that he and his wife, Gina (Rotondi) Powers, both decided to stay here after graduating from Saint Anselm College. E.J. is from Massachusetts and Gina, a lobbyist with Rath, Young and Pignatelli, is from Rhode Island.

I sit on the advisory board for the Charitable Foundation's Manchester Region, and our annual meeting is always a special evening to thank and update donors about what the Manchester Region is doing. In addition to honoring an emerging leader (someone under 40 who has already demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to volunteer service, philanthropy and community involvement) we also honor an individual or couple for a Lifetime of Service to the foundation. This year's award recipients were Anne and Kimon Zachos, who are both incorporators of the foundation's Manchester Region. Their longtime friend and fellow incorporator Alice DeSouza gave some very touching remarks as she presented them with the award.

But, my favorite quote of the night was from Kimon Zachos, who said, 'It's a great place, it's a great community and great state. You're lucky to be here.' I think he is absolutely right.

Festive at the Food Bank

Tuesday's Charitable Foundation event was my first time visiting the New Hampshire Food Bank's East Industrial Drive building. I'd like to thank Executive Director Melanie Gosselin for opening the food bank's culinary training facility for our special soiree. It's a beautiful space that transitions well from a production facility churning out thousands of meals a week to a gathering space. The Recipe for Success Culinary Job Training students prepared some exquisite and delicious food for the event. This program is designed to help individuals with financial hardship find a job in the culinary field, and any restaurant would be lucky to employ the students I encountered Tuesday.

Mo froyo

Over the past year or so I've developed a little addiction to frozen yogurt. Specifically to Tutti Frutti at the mall. I usually try to avoid the mall. But, ever since I tried Tutti Frutti I've been coming up with excuses to go there. It's a self-serve shop, and after you pick a cup size (which appear to be large, larger and ginormous) you can pick one or more flavors that are changed out regularly and add various toppings.

I've never checked the calorie or fat content, but I've convinced myself that since it's yogurt it must be good for me. I would eat it every day if I could. But, since it's at the mall, it's just not feasible.

But, now I'm in trouble. Getting my froyo fix just got a whole lot easier. Yo Flava!, a new self-serve frozen yogurt shop, has just opened in Northside Plaza. This one is dangerously close to my house and has convenient parking right outside the door. Really, the only thing stopping me from going every day is embarrassment. At least now I can rotate between Tutti Frutti and YoFlava! in an attempt to keep my froyo addiction under wraps.

The shop's owner, Victor Torres, said he decided to open YoFlava! In Manchester after his friend had success with a couple locations just over the border in Massachusetts. Torres offers 10 different flavors, which he rotates often. His space is bright and clean and would be a great place to bring a large group of kids for a post-season soccer party or other gathering.

YoFlava!, located in the same building as the New Hampshire State Liquor Store on Bicentennial Drive, is open daily starting at 11:30 a.m. You can find more information at

Girls at work

My good friend and former co-worker Jeanie Tancrede alerted me to a great local cause I have never heard of before and an upcoming event to support it. Girls at Work, Inc. is a nonprofit program started by Elaine Hamel to teach at-risk girls in New Hampshire and New England how to safely use power tools to build with a team of girls. The experience allows them to discover their inner tools of strength and courage to help them survive their challenging situations, some of which include abuse, neglect and abandonment.

Girls at Work also offers fee-based programs to help fund its mission. These include summer camp programs and options for adults like corporate team-building for men and women and women-only workshops. I think the most brilliant offering is Power Parties, birthday parties for girls that teach guests to safely use several different power tools while building a project of their own to take home.

You can learn more about Girls at Work and support its mission at the third annual MusicFest this Saturday at the Millyard Museum. The evening, from 6 to 9 p.m., includes live music by singer/song writer Chris Phillips, the acoustic-pop-folk duo The Rafters, and Chelsea Berry. Food will be provided by the Common Man and other area restaurants. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at or at the door. Event of the Week

There is so much going on this week. If you're someone who likes Christmas craft fairs, then I highly suggest you check out There are a bunch. But I refuse to encourage any premature Christmas cheer, so this week's Event of the Week is the Manchester Marathon, excuse me, the Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay. This long race with a really long name kicks off on Elm Street Sunday at 8:50 a.m.

This year's course is slightly different. You can see the new route and find out more about the race and the accompanying Sports and Wellness Expo at

If you know someone running this weekend, I suggest you get out and support them. I've never run a full marathon, but I have run a half-marathon and there is nothing that breaks the monotony like seeing friendly faces along the route, even if they are strangers.

Sometimes runners will write their name on their shirts. This is not because they are so tired they might forget their own names, it's so strangers can give them some personal encouragement along the way. I will be running on Sunday, in the shortest leg of the marathon relay, but I will still need some cheering along the way. I hope to see you there.

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