Current Projects

Image of group discussion

Student Voice, Family Engagement and Educational Equity in Schools

NH Listens works with school districts to strengthen and integrate authentic engagement of students, families, and community organizations into the life and operation of a school. We support school and community engagement to build innovative approaches to teaching and learning aimed at meeting the needs of all students. Project components include organizing school board orientations and professional development workshops, engaging with students, and facilitating community-wide dialogues.

Role: Coaching community partners and school leaders for authentic engagement, youth voice, and school-family and school-community partnerships.

Local Civic Health

Community and Campus Listeners 

Our work with the Endownment for Health

Participatory Budgeting

Elected Leaders

NH Blue and You: Strengthening Community Through Connection

We believe change comes from all directions. We need law enforcement and criminal justice professionals working from the inside to create needed change and we need people on the outside demanding change. NH Listens works at the intersection of that work for sustained and just community police relations. Learn More

NH Listens is hosting learning exchanges aimed at equipping and mobilizing seven communities around the state to take local action that will protect children from the entirely avoidable, lifelong health impacts caused by lead poisoning. In doing so, we’re working with local leaders and groups to leverage the recent improvements made to New Hampshire’s lead laws (SB 247: Preventing childhood lead poisoning from paint and water).

Role: Serving as project manager and lead convener

Partners: Funded by the Endowment for Health and supported by the Conservation Law Foundation, NH Legal Assistance, and NH Housing Finance Authority

About Lead Free Kids NH.

Community of Practice meeting

The Community of Practice for Supporting Youth Leadership is a capacity building project with each component designed to build long term capacity for youth leadership and action in participating organizations and in New Hampshire. Group activities, including retreats and monthly community of practice meetings, will focus on building competencies for the work, increasing connection in the field, and applying those to strengthen program models for greater youth voice and participation. This work will lay a foundation to network existing and emerging groups to get to know each other and increase the likelihood of future collaboration to deepen youth empowerment and organizing.

Participating organizations in Cohort One include: Concord for Change of the American Friends Service Committee, Dover Dream and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Organization of Refugee and Immigrant Success, Pittsfield Youth Voice in it Together/Pittsfield Listens, and Young Organizers United/Granite State Organizing Project. This work is generously supported by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

With leadership and support from the Endowment for Health, the Race & Equity in NH Series focuses on advancing the understanding of why race and equity matter for New Hampshire and addressing inequities for the betterment of our state and residents. The series is addressing race and equity in six specific sectors: Civic Engagement, Economic Development, Education, Government, Health, and Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice. These sectors were identified at the October 2017 Inaugural Symposium on Race & Equity in NH.

Role: Core planning team member focusing on designing facilitation and engagement components

Partners: Endowment for Health

About the Endowment for Health.

NH Listens is working with North Country Health Consortium to design an educational series this fall on a growing, and often stigmatized, public health concern in rural New Hampshire.

“HIV: Let’s Face It. Harm Reduction and Rural Health: Taking Action for Our Communities” is a four-session North Country educational Town Hall series hosted as online gatherings from September through December, culminating on World AIDS Day on December 1st. The series includes national and regional public health speakers to raise awareness of the risks of HIV and infectious disease outbreaks in rural communities, as well as share strategies to reduce harm, including Narcan and Syringe Service Programs.

NH Listens will bring its resources and expertise to design online gatherings that are informative, engaging, and bring community stakeholders together to spark ideas for collaborative work. In a region that continues to experience challenges related to opioid use, engaging in the difficult conversations about HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis, and other infectious diseases in northern NH can help to decrease stigma and increase prevention and promotion of other harm-reducing strategies. For more information about attending the educational series, visit the North Country Health Consortium website.

The Treat Fellowship program was established at UNH in 2018 in memory of the late New Hampshire Judge William W. Treat to provide students with a platform for engaging in civil discourse around social and political differences. Treat Fellows conduct meaningful conversations on promoting equity, diversity and shared understanding with individuals from different social identities. Fellowship recipients receive a stipend of $1,000 for a semester for the active engagement in the program (100 hours to be completed by the end of the semester) with NH Listens. Treat Fellows assist in the design and facilitation of Campus Conversations, Policy Deliberations and Dialogue programs.

Role: Treat student fellowship advisor, convener of Treat fellowship advisory group

Partners: At UNH: the Carsey School of Public Policy, the Civil Discourse Lab in the Department of Communication; the Discovery Program; the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; and the Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity, and Residential Life.

Learn more.

Local Listens organizations are key partners with NH Listens in building, strengthening, and sustaining the civic infrastructure in the Granite State. These organizations are locally controlled and operated and take on a range of affiliations with local community organizations, such as chambers of commerce, Rotary Clubs, or youth-centered organizations. Local Listens groups build authentic relationships across their communities and develop the sustained capacity to address a wide range of issues over time.

NH Listens invests in people, and a network of NH Listens Fellows to support projects, partnership building, Local Listens formation and engagement, research, and civic leadership efforts. The core elements of our work are:

  • Create engaged community conversations on local and statewide issues.
  • Serve as a resource and support network for new Local Listens groups.
  • Cultivate a network of facilitators for public engagement.
  • Build coalitions for sustained civic engagement and action.

NH Listens is facilitating the Oyster River School District’s multi-year, school-wide equity development plan, with training and activities focused on:

  • Identifying individual, cultural, and institutional patterns that have historically acted as barriers to student and family full participation
  • Designing strategies and experiences that will allow all students to reach their full potential in an educational environment that is fully inclusive and equitable for all students, families, and staff.

Role: Facilitating professional development for all school staff, coaching school leaders, and engaging in action research

Partners: Oyster River Cooperative School District and UNH Department of Education

In partnership with the National Institute for Civil Discourse and Living Room Conversations, we are sharing resources and supporting NH residents during the political season, and helping to heal relationships harmed by political disagreements.  

  • Ready to invite your friends and family to sit down for a real conversation?  Use this Discussion Guide to take you through it:  Dialogue Across Divides for Family and Friends is a combination of great resources and questions from our friends at the National Institute for Civil Discourse and Living Room Conversations.
  • Need a few tips for effectively listening and engaging with family and friends whose politics are different from your own?   Check out this tip sheet from Living Room Conversations.
  • Looking for more?  The National Institute for Civil Discourse has lots of tools as part of their Setting the Table for Civility efforts. 

The 2019 Civic Health Index will benefit the residents of New Hampshire by providing additional information for strengthening civic life and addressing the challenges faced by our communities. A key project goal will be educating residents on the value of civic health data as a component of community problem solving strategies. The Carsey School and NH Listens are partnering with the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) on the second-ever civic engagement report for New Hampshire (the first being published in 2013). This research project will explore civic health in New Hampshire, based on information from the 2017 Volunteering and Civic Engagement Supplement and the 2016 Voting Supplements to the US Census Current Population Survey. The report helps us to understand how the people of NH contribute to the civic fabric in their communities, and it highlights opportunities to strengthen civic engagement through policy, strategic initiatives, and investments.

Role: Researching for and writing the publication component of the 2019 Civic Health Index

Partners: National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), Carsey School of Public Policy

Learn more.

NH Listens appreciates the opportunity to partner with organizations to achieve our mission of helping NH residents talk and work together to create communities that work for everyone.

Past Projects

For the past 18 months, a steering committee has engaged with educators, students and residents of New Hampshire’s Androscoggin Valley to identify and create the structures necessary to increase collaboration with regional school districts. Community stakeholders share input and feedback aimed at shaping a strategy for stronger, healthier relationships with school districts in New Hampshire’s North Country.

Role: Coaching and facilitating engagement components

Partners: Funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation with Berlin Public Schools (SAU 3), Gorham Public Schools (SAU 20)

Thanks to funding from the Democracy Fund, the Carsey School and Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation have partnered to explore how the U.S. Congress can become more inclusive during congressional field hearings. New Hampshire is rich with civic engagement, and this research will create opportunities to pilot ideas, methods and even develop new deliberative norms for both broader and more curated participation in Congress. This project will engage everyday citizens and experts on a contemporary issue of public concern.

Role: Lead designer of deliberation phase

Partners: UNH Carsey School of Public Policy, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University

GSS is a proposed AmeriCorps Service Program aimed at addressing the needs of the state’s aging population and the high cost of tuition for college and university students. GSS offers a multigenerational approach to promoting healthy futures, which the Corporation for National and Community Service identified as a priority need area. Participating New Hampshire high school graduates will take a ‘gap year’ between high school and college and can access tuition assistance at statewide colleges and universities. GSS participants will work on providing services to older adults, including home modifications, technical support, transportation, and social networking.

Role: Designer of planning meetings

Partners: Carsey School of Public Policy, the Center on Aging and Community Living, and the New Hampshire Theatre Project

Learn more.

SELT has formed a working group to explore and evaluate the management options for the Franklin-McElheny Preserve in Rollinsford and Dover. Management practices will center on containing the woolly adelgid insect infestation on the property.

Role: Facilitating the working group

Partners: South East Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELT)

About SELT and the Franklin-McElheny Preserve.