HMH Portsmouth Serves Local Organizations for HMH Volunteer Week 2013

HMH Portsmouth Serves Local Organizations for HMH Volunteer Week 2013

At our Heinemann Publishing headquarters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, employees contributed time and resources to over a half-dozen nonprofit organizations during HMH Volunteer Week 2013.

Multimedia from this Release

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 10:30am

CAMPAIGN: HMH Volunteer Week 2013

CONTENT: Blog

Written by Anita Gildea, HMH Portsmouth Community Investment Council:

There was plenty of activity before, during and after Volunteer Week at Heinemann Headquarters.  

Volunteer week kicked off with a bake sale netting $186 for Seacoast VeloKids at the “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Event” in Stratham, New Hampshire, on Saturday, October 5. Heinemann staff also manned the registration table, and handed out swag bags including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles, “Holy Spokes! A Biking Bible for Everyone” and “Curious George Rides a Bike.” Velokids is a newly founded NFP that believes cycling to be a sure way to stimulate a child’s mind and body, but their ultimate goal is to foster an environment that helps them enjoy the outdoors in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. This first annual event was a huge success with 140 kids and their parents hitting the trails, doing the bike rodeo and racing. Tour de France cyclist Ted King was on hand to greet kids and lead a trail ride around the park while three local bike shops provided bike inspections and helmet checks.

The Naughty Knitters, a small but mighty group, made close to a dozen hats for troops overseas. They will be distributed by the Pease Greeters at Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth. This volunteer organization provides services and supplies to incoming and outbound service men and women, welcoming them home and seeing them off as they are deployed.

A group of 20 staffers assembled 250 Prayer Flags for On Belay over a two hour time period. Prayer Flags are little works of marketing art, naming the impact that On Belay has had on the kids who have participated in the various adventure programs. Executive Director Stephanie Beck was on hand to share the importance of this simple craft. Prayer Flags carry a powerful message, spreading the word on how being in community with nature and other kids whose families are negotiating the challenges of cancer, can make a world of difference. At a recent focus group On Belay hosted with various stakeholders including Heinemann staff, oncology caseworkers, parents, financial supporters, and other volunteers, the most poignant feedback came from the kids who had experienced the program. Prayer Flags help make that difference by becoming a great conversation piece in an oncologist or counselor’s office, a student locker, or the hallway of a busy office building. Stephanie also shared that one of hour of a voluntee’s time is worth about $22 to the organization.

The office kitchen smelled absolutely heavenly as a steady crew of baker angels churned out dozens of delicious cookies as part of a fundraiser for New Beginnings Transitional Housing and Training Program (NBTHTP). The activities were part of a fundraising event, “Spokes for Hope” held on Saturday, October 12. In a Ride Against Homelessness, motorcycle riders sporting “Spokes for Hope” T-shirts provided courtesy of the Portsmouth CIC and designed by our own David Stirling, took a two-hour ride through beautiful southern Maine. In an effort to end generational homelessness in the seacoast areas, NBTHTP has already raised $90,000 toward their goal of $190,000. Funds will be used to purchase a multi-family home outright, to help transition homeless families back into the community. A crew of about 18 Heinemann staff baked more than nine batches of cookies, raising $119 in the office, with the remainder going toward the motorcycle ride luncheon. Any leftovers went right into lunches/dinners for the homeless.  In addition, at the event itself, they raised $1700.00! In addition to providing T-shirts for all of the riders, Heinemann staff also volunteered at the post-ride cookout and raffle.

On Thursday, Heinemann hosted its first ever Community Partners Learning Workshop. The idea for this event stemmed from conversations we’ve had with our NFP partner organizations around their greatest areas of need. Each one could identify some specific expertise that they lack, whether it be leveraging social media, generating effective marketing collateral (flyers, websites, email design), event planning, budget development, or public relations. A lot of this expertise lives in HMH, and/or we can use our resources to bring in an expert. So we partnered with PixelMedia, to host the ultimate community building event! Emma Doherty graciously agreed to provide a brief workshop entitled “Public Relations 101” which was very well received. PixelMedia offered us a unique and inviting meeting space, and the CIC provided light refreshment and networking time. Pens were out, pages of notes were taken, email and phone numbers were exchanged, and productive conversations peppered the entire event. Feedback has been incredibly positive and we are surveying participants for future workshop topics. We highly recommend this kind of event. As one of our partner organizations shared with us, “We are so grateful that you are partnering with us for the long-haul. You can’t know the difference that makes.”

To close out the week, Heinemann staff also volunteered at the Memorial Bridge Road Race, this past Saturday, October 12. This event was sponsored by The Community Child Care Center of Portsmouth as well as Prescott Park Arts Festival. The crossing of the newly completed Memorial Bridge was a symbolic way for the community to welcome back the beloved city icon. Post-race festivities included a Kid's Fun Run around Prescott Park and the infamous WHEB Chili Cook-Off.