It is with great sadness and regret that the Institute on Disability announces the passing of Jonathon Drake on May 23, 2018.

Jonathon first started working at the IOD as an undergraduate work-study student. That was the beginning of more than 15 years of his relationship with the IOD which included participating in the IOD’s LEND Program while he studied for his Masters in Social Work at UNH. Jonathon was introduced to person-centered planning while in the LEND Program, and the rest, as he once put it, “was history.” After graduation, Jonathon began working on what is now the RENEW project, working in schools to support youth with emotional and behavioral challenges. He spent 12 years working with Dr. Joanne Malloy, Kathy Francoeur, and Heidi Cloutier building the project. As the project grew, so did Jonathon’s responsibilities and impact.

In the past few years, Jonathon provided coaching and technical assistance to New Hampshire high schools and mental health centers implementing RENEW, while also working to bring the program to a national and international audience. He was passionate about giving youth a voice at the table and was working with Youth Move NH to build that voice in New Hampshire. In addition to all of this, Jonathon was on track to complete his certification as a high school principal alongside his wife in the fall, and it was his dream to lead a New Hampshire high school one day.

“Jonathon had beautiful qualities that will stay with our team,” shared Dr. Joanne Malloy, the Director of RENEW. “He was always positive, saw the good in everyone, and never gave up on anyone, no matter how difficult the situation may have been.  We will miss him dearly but our team will work even harder to help children and youth who struggle and their families.”

Jonathon represented the best of the IOD. His booming laugh and smile brightened up the entire office and turned many a day around. His love for his wife and two sons was apparent in the stories he regularly shared around the office.

Over the years Jonathon’s work has been highlighted by the IOD and celebrated by the greater NH education community. Here are some past highlights of Jonathon’s impactful work:

A full obituary is available online, and the National Wraparound Initiative has a beautiful tribute as well. A fund is being set up with the NH Charitable Foundation to support his work with youth who have emotional and behavioral challenges. More information on how to donate will be available soon.