For Immediate Release
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Kate Benway, Granite State College
Granite State College and Community Loan Fund Announce Partnership
Collaboration designed to empower program participants to achieve their college degrees
Concord, NH – There’s a touching story contained within the most recent Annual Report from the Community Loan Fund. It highlights Amanda Saye, a member of the manufactured housing co-op in Raymond, who was invited to join the Lamprey River Co-op Board of Directors when she moved into the community. Despite having experience in accounting, she was unsure of herself and hedged at the thought that she might become a member of a board of directors. Ultimately, she made the leap of faith and, on the other side, found a version of herself she never knew existed.
"I was a totally different person, from the outside to the inside. Very low confidence in anything I had to say, so I didn’t say much," she said. But now, the fully-functioning board member, home owner, mother and wife sees a life without limits. "If I’d never gotten on the board, I never would have had these opportunities," she said. "It just makes you keep thinking ahead.…what else can I do now?"
Amanda’s story, it turns out, is the story of the Granite State College (GSC) student. Her new-found confidence – created through an empowering experience in which an organization and group of people believed in her – mirrors the transformations the staff at GSC see each and every day. GSC students often come back to college, terrified of failure and harboring tragically low self-confidence. But the GSC model is designed, like the Community Loan Fund programs, to empower, encourage and transform.
So, last week, thanks to shared stories and complementary missions, a partnership between the Community Loan Fund and the Granite State College was announced.
The ROC-NH Community Leadership Program, created and coordinated by the Community Loan Fund, is a six-month course designed to bring out the best in manufactured housing co-op leaders by helping them develop the leadership and management skills that are essential to co-op success. Sixty-four leaders have graduated from the program during its five years. Each is making an impact in her and his community in small and large ways.
Community Loan Fund plans to now leverage the success of that program by forming a partnership with Granite State College, New Hampshire's public college for adult learners of all ages. Part of the University System of New Hampshire, Granite State College has nine community-based academic centers and offers a wide range of resources, including career counseling and financial aid for part-time students.
The key: Community Leadership Program participants will have the opportunity to earn post-secondary college credit for completing the ROC-NH program. Credits will be earned upon matriculation into a full- or part-time degree program at Granite State College and will help inspire potential students to earn their degrees.
Ultimately, the partnership with GSC will help answer Amanda’s question: "What else can I do now?"
"Our new connection with Granite State College is a clear recognition of the quality of our leadership program and of the contributions our graduates make in their communities," said Craig Welch, vice president of housing for the Community Loan Fund. "We’re thrilled to connect our graduates with ways to take their leadership to new levels, in new places."
The Right Fit
For Granite State College, finding ways to encourage and empower students to return to college – often later in life – is a priority. GSC prides itself on providing real-world experiences and expertise, drawing adjunct faculty from the state’s business and professional communities. Strong relationships with the business community translate to graduates who are well-positioned to grow or re-position their careers.
"We so deeply believe in life-long learning and the notion that a college degree, professional development or additional schooling can provide life-changing opportunities, including a bold new sense of accomplishment and empowerment," said Dr. Karol A. LaCroix, president of GSC. "The Community Loan Fund offers a number of programs inspired by this same sentiment and it’s natural for us to welcome their capable and experience program participants into the GSC fold."
Granite State College serves over 3,500 students, many of whom are adult learners juggling families, full-time work and military duty both here and abroad. The flexibility, affordability and real-world experience offered at GSC create a winning proposition for students. For more information about Granite State College, visit www.granite.edu.
The Community Loan Fund turns investments into loans and education to create opportunity and transform lives across New Hampshire. It collaborates with a wide range of donors and lenders, and with business, nonprofit and government partners, to provide the financing and support people need to own homes, have quality jobs and child care, and become financially independent. For more information, visit www.communityloanfund.org or call 1-800-432-4110.