Thank you for 30 years of support for Leadership!

By Beth Dixon
January 26, 2018

In April, the NH Leadership Series will celebrate its 30th year.  The New Hampshire Leadership Series has been a pivotal change experience for family members and adults with disabilities by providing state-of-the-art information and strategies to effect change on disability-related issues locally and across the state. 

On a personal note, I attended the first Series (then called “Family Leadership”) in 1988.  Our class consisted of 30 parents from around the state who had been nominated to attend and it was sponsored by the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities.  My younger son was 5 years old.  For the first time in his 5 years of life I learned what was possible and how to reach those goals, rather than listening to what he would never do.  Life in our family changed as a result of this Series as we all began to dream again.  Our class played a pivotal role in the passage of family support legislation as we tested our organizing and legislative skills.  Success taught us the power in numbers, how important it was to tell our personal stories, and that we should never give up our goals and dreams.  

It was clear that this Series couldn’t end after just one class so recruitment and fundraising began.  Since 1990 there has been a class every year, the Series expanded to include people with disabilities as well as family members.  It expanded to include people with a variety of disabilities – after all, we were all fighting for better lives for our children and ourselves.  Thirty years later, there are over 950 Leadership graduates from all over NH creating change in their schools, on school boards, in their workplaces, in the medical community, as community organizers, on their town/city councils, on Statewide councils, on Boards of Directors and Family Support councils, in the NH House, Senate, Governor’s office, and the US Senate to name just a few. 

This is a quick summary of the change that has happened in NH and why we are so grateful to our NH Leadership Series sponsors.  The Series is totally reliant on sponsorships, grants, personal donations, and fundraising to keep going.     

When we asked our sponsors why Leadership continues to be the recipient of such generosity even after 30 years we received amazing replies including: 

The Leadership Series has been an important effort in the State of New Hampshire. Educating and informing parents and consumers of services so they can use their voice is critical. The Leadership Series has created some impactful leaders in our state. Participants are listened to, they do not just speak for themselves or their family, they do for all families. What a treasure we have in New Hampshire!
- Christine L. Santaniello, Director, Division of Long Term Supports and Services 

Community Crossroads has been supporting people to attend the NH Leadership Series since it began in 1988. We have always considered it an investment in our future and the future of New Hampshire and I don’t know where we would be without the many talented graduates involved with our agency.  Currently, we have nine graduates on our staff; eight on our Board of Directors; and virtually all of our Family Support Council. Talk about a Return on Investment! 

I am convinced that the primary reason that New Hampshire continues to lead the nation in services to people who experience disability is because of the New Hampshire Leadership Series and we will continue to support it into the future.
- Dennis Powers, CEO, Community Crossroads 

Congratulations to the Institute on Disability in celebrating the 30th anniversary of The NH Leadership Series.  Congratulations also to the many consumers and family members that have graduated with a strong sense of responsibility to the welfare of all who rely on community services.  The evolution of the community system has run parallel with the NH Leadership in that graduates left with a set of skills to effectively advocate for the many unmet needs of consumers and families.   I know of no major advancement in the service delivery system that has not been a result of those many strong voices who have not settled for second best.  I also have been witness to the incredible opportunities children and adults with IDD have as a result of this advocacy.   I trust that NH Leadership graduates will remain watchdogs against public policies that are introduced without their voice and that NH Leadership will continue to strive for full inclusion for all people with disabilities.
- Brian Collins, ED, Community Partners 

The NH Leadership Series would not exist without YOU -- our donors and sponsors.  We are very grateful for your support!   

View a complete list of Sponsors and Donors.  (personal and private donor names are not listed without permission) 

THANK YOU ALL!  Please join us as we celebrate together our 30th year on Friday, April 6 at Fratello’s Restaurant in Manchester.