The Hand-in-Hand program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities connects youth volunteers in the North Country with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners who need help with home maintenance. The youth volunteers spend a week in the summer pruning, painting, swinging hammers.
Judy O’Leary, along with her husband Bob, coordinates a team of youth volunteers. She describes it as a a win-win situation. “It keeps our youth busy, and it helps our elderly who are really in need of help as they get older.”
Kathleen Saffien hosted a team of young workers to help her repair her fence. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a big project, “It’s 30 eight-foot panels, six and a half feet high. I had almost given up hope that we would be able to do something with the fence.”
But then she got a call from the O’Learys. They explained that one of their planned projects had fallen through, and asked Saffien if she had any work that needed doing. Saffien jumped at the offer, and a crew was scheduled to come to her house that weekend. “It’s a funny thing, but when I woke up that weekend, I felt like it might be Christmas. I woke up with such a happy heart.”
Saffien is hugely grateful for all the work the youths managed to do. “The fence needed painting. They had to landscape it, they had to wash it they had to scrape it. They’ve been just Herculean in their efforts to do this job. It’s an amazing thing they’re doing for me.”