MANCHESTER — It was a night of celebration for Friends of Aine’s Center for Grieving Children & Families as it received the Business & Industry Association’s New Hampshire Advantage Award and a special grant.
Friends of Aine, which provides bereavement support services and resources to children and families who have suffered the death of a loved one, received the award Oct. 25 at BIA’s 110th Annual Dinner and Awards Celebration, presented by Eversource, at the Doubletree By Hilton Manchester Hotel. The award was accepted by the center’s founders, Christine and David Phillips.
The New Hampshire Advantage Award celebrates businesses, organizations or projects that enhance the Granite State’s special character and quality of life in meaningful ways. Friends of Aine’s services are provided at no cost thanks to the generosity of donors.
The night was even more special as Ken Sheldon, state president for Bank of America, which sponsored the New Hampshire Advantage Award, announced Friends of Aine will receive the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s 2023 Neighborhood Champions grant. The grant provides $50,000 over two years, plus leadership development and capacity building insights from national speakers.
“I’m ecstatic to announce Friends of Aine was selected to receive this year’s award,” Sheldon said during his announcement. “So, in addition to presenting BIA’s prestigious 2023 New Hampshire Advantage Award to Friends of Aine’s Center for Grieving Children & Families, their terrific staff and volunteers will be receiving a little extra bonus.”
Friends of Aine offers a peer-to-peer model of small, age-based groups for children aged 4 to 18. The program features three 8-week sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the academic year in the center’s beautiful Victorian house in Manchester. Friends of Aine also offers help for adults on how to parent a grieving child and a space to talk about their own grief.
The center extends its help through its “Grief Backpack Initiative.” Purple backpacks with a program to help social workers, counselors and teachers assist grieving children and their peers are now distributed to over 140 schools across the state. And Friends of Aine offers grief education training workshops and consultations for educators and community workers, as well as community-building events.
Christine and David Phillips said the grant and recognition by the BIA will help Friends of Aine achieve its vision: “A world where no child grieves alone.” Christine Phillips stresses Friends of Aine is a place where children feel safe.
“When a child comes in here, they think they’re the only kid this has happened to, but they learn they’re not alone. It’s amazing to see,” she said.
BIA also presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to Dean Christon, former executive director and CEO of NH Housing; state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester; and Sherilyn Burnett Young, founder, shareholder and past president of Rath, Young and Pignatelli. Nearly 700 business, nonprofit and state leaders attended the sold-out event.
For more about Friends of Aine, visit FriendsofAine.com.