Many thanks to all who have extended their congratulations and good wishes to me as the new editor, and to those who were able to stop by the News Guide’s Open House last Friday. Your kindness, warmth and enthusiasm confirms what I’ve known all along — this is a great place to live and work, with
people who go out of their way to welcome, celebrate and encourage each other.

We are a far-flung community, unified by the challenges of this beautiful landscape. I know from my own experiences that there are many people with a genuine desire to lend a helping hand to others, and it has fostered in my heart a deep gratitude and a desire to pass it on to the next person. We all need a little help now and then!

Neighborhood Connections is one of many area organizations that exemplifies this philosophy. A non-profit organization, Neighborhood Connections works to support and empower people in the communities of Londonderry, South Londonderry, Weston, Andover, Windham, Winhall, Jamaica, Landgrove, Peru, Bondville and Grafton. Neighborhood Connections started five years ago as the vision of four remarkable women: physician Delores Barbeau, social worker Gloria Dawson, businesswoman Carole Robbshow, and nurse Carol Olson, now deceased. Aware of a tremendous need in these mountain towns, and with no organizations serving that need, they created one.

Today, Neighborhood Connections provides school-based health care and education, and assistance with State and Federal social service programs. They partner with individuals in need of guidance, help people problem-solve situations, provide intervention, advocacy and referrals, negotiate housing issues, provide employment guidance and find transportation, to name a few. Their efforts are funded by the generosity of others, through private donors, foundations and fundraisiers. Their fundraising event, the Chocolate (and Cheese) Fest, which took place August 5 at the Landgrove Inn, was a huge success this year. The generosity of local businesses and individuals, countless volunteers and guests helped Neighborhood Connections raise $21,000, all of which will go towards helping others.

There are so many worthy organizations and individuals in our region that deserve recognition and congratulations for all that they do. I hope you’ll let me know of some of them. I will certainly do what I can to spead the word.

We all have a contribution to make, whether it’s time running errands for an elderly friend, letting someone with only a few items go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, or
giving a few dollars for someone who’s a little short this week.

This applies to your loved ones, too. Give hugs. Encourage. Take a few minutes every day to reflect on your blessings, and express gratitude.Not only will you brighten another’s day, but you’ll feel great, too.

I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you as VNG’s new Editor. If you know of a unique experience, an interesting place or a local personality, I hope you will share it with me at [email protected]