CONCORD, NH – Nearly 500 individuals from New Hampshire and across the country participated in Volunteer NH’s virtual 2021 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism on May 11-14, 2021. The conference is an annual professional development opportunity that supports and strengthens New Hampshire’s volunteer programs and organizations.
Session recordings are available at https://volunteernh.org/2021-conference-details/.
The 2021 theme of the conference, “Moving Forward Together: Embracing Change,” invited participants to reflect on the past year’s events with the future in mind. Dr. Shanita Williams, Associate Vice President of Talent Engagement and Inclusion at Southern New Hampshire University, set the tone of the conference with her keynote address, “Community Building: How to Foster Inclusive & Connected Spaces.” Her opening session examined the power of community and the importance of belonging as everyone emerges from a year marked by isolation and division. ”Inclusion starts with “I” and I have to commit to unity,” she said during her speech, focusing on the individual’s responsibility in creating a connected community.
Also during the Welcome & Keynote session, Governor Sununu presented the 2021 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Manager of the Year Award to Kathleen Stuart, Program Coordinator of the NH Senior Companion Program. Senior Companions are AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers age 55+ who provide friendly visitation and respite services to homebound adults. Kathleen manages 50+ volunteers and 150+ visitees at any given time. She is regarded as a “sunshine spreader” who is equally as thorough and efficient as she is caring and understanding. During the past year, Kathleen has used her creativity and extensive knowledge to tackle all the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented. “I love all my companions. They’re all wonderful; they inspire me every day,” said Kathleen upon receiving the surprise award. “I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Senior Companion Program.”
The conference offered engaging sessions focused on volunteer management, professional development, marketing, fundraising, and more. As part of Volunteer NH’s ongoing efforts around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, James McKim (Organizational Ignition) and Jules Good (Neighborhood Access) presented a series of spotlighted sessions exploring discrimination and accessibility within the volunteer realm and beyond.
The conference was free for all attendees thanks to generous contributions from 2021 sponsors, including Change-Maker Sponsor, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care & Tufts Health Plan Foundation, and Community Builder Sponsors, Normandeau Associates and the New Hampshire Elks Association.
Above: Watch the Welcome & Keynote Address, featuring Dr. Shanita Williams, Governor Sununu, and Outstanding Volunteer Manager, Kathleen Stuart
Volunteer NH is a nonprofit organization established in 2000, and is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Governor and approved by the Executive Council. Volunteer NH envisions our state as a place where people volunteer together to build strong and connected communities. We bring our vision to life by engaging those communities to solve local challenges through volunteerism.