The 2014-2015 NH Leadership Series Wraps Up with Gala and a Graduation Visit from NH Governor Hassan
On Saturday, April 11, 2015 30 individuals graduated from the 2014-2015 New Hampshire Leadership Series (NH Leadership). New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, a 1991 graduate of the program, attended the final session to offer her congratulations.
Saturday’s graduation was the end of a busy week which included the Annual Reunion Gala and Fundraiser on Friday, April 10. The most successful event thus far, more than 130 alumni, families, and supporters joined the 2014-15 class to celebrate the program, catch up with classmates, and raised more than $18,000 to support future years of NH Leadership.
“The Gala is both a reunion and fundraiser and is an important time for alumni to reconnect and share their interests and stories” explains Ann Dillon, the NH Leadership Coordinator. “It is always inspiring to see so many people come back and work together to raise funds for NH Leadership so others can have this amazing, life changing opportunity.”
During the Gala, Beth Dixon, a founding member of NH Leadership and its current Outreach & Development Coordinator, received the Brianna Dillon Leadership Award, for her decades of work as a champion for social justice and civil rights for individuals with disabilities and their families. This award is presented annually at the NH Leadership Reunion to an individual who has shown creative leadership in, and commitment to, the full participation of all people in the political and cultural life of New Hampshire.
“Since graduating from the first NH Leadership, Beth has gone on to challenge the existing system and cultural expectations for people with disabilities and their families and has been working tirelessly to create a new landscape,” explains Mary Schuh, the Institute on Disability’s Director of Development & Consumer Affairs. “This new landscape represents a culture and community who believe in every person’s competence, seeks out and celebrates everyone’s gifts, holds high expectations, and supports individuals to not only create dreams for themselves, their families, and their communities but to make those dreams a reality.”
The gala is supported by many individuals and organizations across the state. Sponsors of this year’s event include the Community Support Network Inc. (CSNI), Community Bridges, Community Crossroads, Community Partners, Gateways Community Services, Lakes Region Community Services, Monadnock Developmental Services, The Moore Center, Northern Human Services, One Sky Community Services, Pathways, New Hampshire Healthy Families, and Well Sense Health Plan.
NH Leadership is an intensive, eight-month program that provides leadership and advocacy training for individuals with disabilities and their family members. Since 1988, the program 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. As a result of the work of its hundreds of alumni, NH has achieved national recognition for its innovative approaches to supporting people with disabilities and their families in their communities. Alumni of the program have passed state legislation, founded advocacy organizations, and serve at all levels of New Hampshire local and state government. For more information visit the NH Leadership website.