Non-profit musings: My take

WORKING IN THE NONPROFIT SPACE 

 I have been lucky enough to have been impacted by non-profits since before I can remember. Yet, wildly enough, I never gave serious thought about working for one until my Junior year of college after a conversation with one of my mentors.  This not only sparked a change in my major(yes, as a Junior in college), but also made me passionate about my school work.  Beforehand, I was in nursing school for no other reason than people telling me I would make a great nurse. Yet, my new major of Health Promotion (a mixture of communication, public health, and non-profit management) was a perfect blend of my previous course work and let me still take a full Biology course load.

Fast forward, I found a job that I was really excited about at a non-profit hospital, York Hospital. When I applied for the Drug-Free Communities grant position.  This position taught me a lot about myself,grant work, and I gained first hand non-profit experience. Between the funding highs and lows, community outreach, grant writing, and of course managing a state contract (which at the time was on the cutting board quite often).  I learned much more than occupation-related things though, I learned the value of a team and community who come together to solve problems, whether that was making recovery resources, hunger security, or tween seat belt safety. I also learned incredibly important tools about managing people thanks to several amazing women.  When my supervisor told me she would support me looking for more sustainable jobs, knowing I also wanted to get back into New Hampshire, I luckily heard about the position open at the Partnership for a Drug-Free NH.

While this position was a challenge, I happily accepted after an interesting and week-long interview process, it was also like drinking from a fire hose. My whole world was proving myself and the brand to everyone I met.This role in short, what was I love about working with nonprofits: the work made my heart warm. Of course, given this specific topic, it was grueling and defeating with every overdose that occurred, or family’s story I would hear.  Yet, the emails, phone calls, and even facebook messages about how a brochure inspired a mom to talk to their family doctor about early signs of substance misuse, or inspired a teenage girl to understand her mom’s disease or ask for help when she saw her friend struggling. This list goes on, and that’s what is important. At the end of the day, non-profit politics can be, well… a lot. Between funding changes, mergers, communication breakdowns, state contracts, and more; I was always pushed to use my head, but also my heart.

That is the thing… anyone who has worked with a nonprofit could list off so many negatives.  But regardless,when we take a step back it is all worth it. Why? The work betters people lives, in many cases even saving them. The amazing people that non-profits serve (and employ) keep the optimism alive in us.  The outcomes from the work, that is why.  I used to keep a rose-colored notebook in my desk that I like to look back on, I referred to it when I needed to put my rose-colored glasses on.  In it are pages upon pages of things that remind me of all the wonderful things that happen in a non-profit. 

As I move on to another nonprofit role, after thoughtfully turning down a few for-profit positions. I have had time to thoughtfully realize that the non-profit space is where I belong; so I will be purchasing a larger rose-colored notebook.

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Christmas Tree Farm, the pros and cons

It’s that time of year again! And while it may be too late for your Christmas tree decision making this year, I felt it necessary while on the top of my brain to write out the pros and cons of fake and real Christmas trees! 

First things first, we went to get our tree on December 1st. Some farms near us were flooded with the Seacoast, NH rains that we have had, but we ended up at a great local farm just 20 minutes down the road. Indian Hill Farm in South Hampton, NH. The first lesson: people tag their trees back in October, making tree pickings slim for folks like us who went in December.  It was muddy and pretty scarce… compromise was the name of the game. I love fat and wide trees, while Matt likes them leaner and more what you might consider a picture-perfect tree. 

Now, I have had the tree in our house for a few days and I feel like this tree is a big responsibility… here are the cons. 

CONS OF A REAL TREE (and pros of a fake one)

  • Watering – I can barely keep a house plant that requires water every week, this thing goes through almost the entire tree stand’s worth in one day 
  • Needles –  this isn’t too bad, but requires getting the vacuum out every so often to clean up 
  • Ornaments – Our fake tree in the mudroom (where our wood stove is and would dry a real tree out very quickly) hold ornaments really well, all I have to do is bend the branches to secure everything perfectly
  • Cash money – Our tree this year was $65, it included any size, so it is a bargain for large trees…. YET, it is more expensive than our fake tree which will last year after year 


PROS OF A REAL CHRISTMAS TREE

  • THE SMELL – I love the smell of a real tree, nothing beats it.  We use scentsicles on our fake tree, but it isn’t the same as the real deal 
  • THE EXPERIENCE – As much as I have cons about trekking in the mud trying to find the right tree, there is something very magical about getting your tree and sawing it down to bring it home… I think that is the biggest pro that outweighs all the cons. 

Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy your trees!