HAVEN earns Champion in Action award for violence preventionBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
July 14. 2017 1:50AM
PORTSMOUTH — A local nonprofit organization on a mission to prevent violence and improve the well-being of children and families was named a 2017 Champion in Action in the area of violence prevention on Thursday — an award that also came with a financial boost to help expand its work in southeastern New Hampshire.
Portsmouth-based HAVEN, which formed in 2015 through the merger of A Safe Place and Sexual Assault Support Services, was given the award by Citizens Bank and the New Hampshire Union Leader.
The award included $35,000 in unrestricted funding along with promotional and volunteer support for the organization’s work, which includes comprehensive services and 24-hour support for those affected by sexual or domestic violence.
HAVEN plans to use the money to bring its Safe Kids Strong Teens violence prevention program to more schools.
The Safe Kids Strong Teens program is taught by three educators who provide an age-appropriate, interactive curriculum for children in kindergarten through grade 12. The curriculum teaches the students about their right to be safe from child sexual abuse, domestic violence, sexual harassment, bullying and teen dating violence.
Nearly 10,000 students from dozens of schools participated this year. The additional funding will allow HAVEN to add a fourth educator.
HAVEN Executive Director Kathy Beebe said the organization was honored to receive the award.
“We know that our programs are working. We are always happy to hear from survivors who tell us that they are now safe and free from violence. We often hear from school guidance counselors or we go to the local child advocacy center and learn that perhaps a child is there disclosing their abuse because they learned that it was OK and they found that trusted grown-up and they got the help they needed to be safe,” Beebe said.
The Champions in Action program was developed in 2002 and since then has awarded 317 nonprofits with more than $8.6 million in contributions and promotional support. In New Hampshire alone, 48 organizations have earned the award and received $1.2 million in unrestricted grants, according to Joe Carelli, president of Citizens Bank New Hampshire and Vermont.
Carelli said he hopes the award raises awareness of HAVEN and its mission while also attracting more volunteers and donors.
Carelli said through A Safe Place and SASS, HAVEN has had significant reach over the decades.
“Citizens is proud to support HAVEN as our next Champion in Action as they continue and expand on their mission to prevent sexual and domestic violence,” he said.
Brendan McQuaid, president of the New Hampshire Union Leader, said HAVEN has helped many lead safer, healthier lives.
“The New Hampshire Union Leader is proud to join Citizens Bank to honor HAVEN as a Champion in Action,” he said.
New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid also commended HAVEN, saying the organization offers not only shelter “for the people who really need it at that time” but also education. He said HAVEN has a model that others want to follow.
“Anything that we can do to spread that word and let people know about HAVEN and what you’re doing, we’re happy to do it,” he said.
Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout New Hampshire.