Finally, despite a persistent winter, it looks like spring is finally here. Not just on the calendar but in our gardens, in the woods and in the wetlands. But, the global pandemic is still also here and continues to impact the lives and routines of us all. Fortunately, vaccinations are becoming available to more and more of us. We hope, with the majority of people being vaccinated, we can resume more of our community outreach programs such as visiting our local care facilities in the months to come. While weather and the pandemic have made us adapt how we operate, we also persist and grow. We celebrate 10 years as a non -profit in June of 2021!!!!!
It is with great pleasure that we announce plans to expand Aurora Bakery! Doubling the size of our bakery will let us add menu options to include soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as lots of space for café seating. And, even more importantly, it will provide more opportunities for more participants to learn and practice new skills and interact with the public. This opportunity to expand both our footprint and our impact in the community has been made possible, in part, with a $2500 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Bio X Cell Fund. We have also received a $5000 grant to support the bakery’s operating budget through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation-Community Crisis Action Fund.
While we are still in the early stages of the expansion, the bakery continues to operate, providing participants the opportunity to learn, practice and master skills associated with many aspects of working in a retail environment. We are excited to provide more and more varied opportunities for them in the near future. And we look forward to continuing to meet and serve you. Aurora Bakery will be participating in the Sunapee Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
The Farm Program is also growing. With the coming of Spring, we are gearing up to start another season with local alternative school programs. We currently work with students at Kearsarge High School and Sunapee Middle/High School and are taking donkeys to work with students at the Warner and New London Elementary schools. Additionally, we are starting our garden program in anticipation of the Newport Farmers Market, which is set to open on June 11. We will also be participating in the New Hampshire Summer Reading Program, Tales to Tails at the Newbury Library in July and hope to add some other locations. We are delighted that after all the trials and tests of the past year, Road To Independence has persisted. And, in fact, is growing.
While Covid has limited our Farm adventures we have been able to safely participate in either remote or distanced activities!
Our Newport Winter Carnival entry in the reverse parade – “Life is a Circass – Just Assk Us “won First Place. With assistance from Visions for Supported Living residents our remote entry for the Woodstock Virtual Wassail Parade won the Best Group Entry.
In the Spotlight:
This month we introduce you to Amanda Page who has been volunteering at Aurora Bakery for almost two years. She was already volunteering with Got Lunch Newport and the Food Pantry but was looking for more ways to help the community. She met Aurora Bakery manager, Megan Walker at an Expo at Newport Middle High School, where she is now a sophomore, and felt this would be a good fit. Twenty months later, that is certainly true.
Once or twice a week, Amanda is at the bakery where she helps Megan in a wide variety of ways. She can stock and close the bakery case, makes and decorates a wide range of baked goods, enjoys counting the cash drawer, greets and serves customers and frequently makes suggestions on everything from menu items to background music.
When asked what she likes best at Aurora, Amanda didn’t hesitate, “The friendly community here, helping participants and working with customers” What have you learned at Aurora? Again, she replied quickly, saying, “How to manage my anxiety in complex, adult situations”. Amanda is looking forward to the expansion at Aurora and plans to work more when she has more time this summer.
Finally, I asked Amanda what she would tell people who might be considering volunteering with Road To Independence. “It’s good for your own mental health.” And we can all use more of that!
Thanks to New Funders and Old Friends. As always, we are grateful to our supporters and volunteers who assist when they can. We would like to thank our landlord, Sarah Kelly at our Aurora Bakery location and Penny de Peyer at our Farm location. Without their support and we would not exist!
Our Supporters over the past 10 years have been the Newport Service Organization and United Way of Sullivan County www.scunitedway.org.
We would also like acknowledge the generosity of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH with their grant and Jumble support!
Bio X Cell Fund is made possible by the Bio X Cell employee-originated philanthropy fund with a mission to give back to the community. Bio X Cell is located in Lebanon, NH. For more information, please visit their website at https://bxcell.com/about/
For more information on the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Community Crisis Action Fund, please visit their website at https://www.nhcf.org/.
The Agnes M. Lindsay Trust provided funds for RTI to update its antiquated technology. Learn more about them at: www.lindsaytrust.org
We are grateful for Kemo’s inclusion in Aliza Eliazarov’s book “On The Farm” -Heritage & Heralded Animal Breeds in Portraits & Stories. Aliza and her husband spent about 8 hours photographing our donkeys in June 2019. We were honored to be included in the final product with a nice write up about Road To Independence.
Claremont Savings Bank Foundation generously donated funding for new barn doors. www.claremontsavings.com
Full Circle Farm has been a generous and collaborative partner in addressing the varied needs of those we jointly serve. www.fcftherapeutic.org
WISH LIST – While we have received start-up funding for our bakery expansion projects, we know that we will need additional resources –additional expansion funds, equipment and always volunteers to join our growing community! You can assist us in the following ways: by mail, PayPal, our growing Amazon Wish List, gas cards for donkey transport or gift certificates to Kelleyville Horse Supply in Newport.