This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Kitty Kiefer, the College Consortium Coordinator at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, Board Member of Remedial Herstory, and a Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains Troop Leader in the Lakes Region.
Kitty was born and raised in the Newfound Lake region where she was very active in her school’s theatre program and loved being near the lake. After high school, Kitty went to Marlboro College in Vermont and studied political theory and writing. When I asked Kitty why she decided to stay, work and play in New Hampshire she said, “I always wanted to be close to family and the area where I grew up. After starting a family of my own, I have come to appreciate how small towns do so much for young families, whether through the school, the library, the youth center or the parks and recreation department. In my professional life, I’ve found New Hampshire to be a very collaborative working climate with professionals who are willing to engage in multi-disciplinary efforts. Finally, the natural landscape is a huge factor–every day when I get outside, I feel grateful to live in such a beautiful place.”
When Kitty is not working or volunteering you can find her visiting Squam Lakes Science Center, going to events like the Multicultural Festival in Laconia and Concord’s Market Days, getting dinner at Giuseppe’s in Meredith or Fratello’s in Laconia, exploring local microbreweries such as Kettlehead Brewing Company in Tilton, enjoying time with her book club ladies, going camping and doing small hikes with her family.
Kitty first got involved in volunteering between college semesters at a New Hampshire domestic violence crisis center. She worked the phone hotlines and would arrive at hospitals to support victims of assault. She would then transition to working at the crisis center where she became the educational outreach coordinator. Kitty loves giving back to her community! Over the years she has walked in a charity fashion show to raise awareness about human trafficking and has been a celebrity in the Lakes Region Dancing with the Stars show raising funds for domestic violence crisis centers.
She enjoys volunteering with the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church where they have provided lunches for the Isaiah 61 Cafe, made Thanksgiving food baskets, and helped to buy gifts around the holidays for children in need. With her work with Remedial Herstory, they provide educators with ready-to-use inquiry-based lesson plans on women’s history, in addition to educational podcasts and videos. Kitty is the co-leader of a young Girl Scout Troop in the Lakes Region and together they’ve created care packages for those experiencing housing or food insecurity, and made holiday cards for patients at Lakes Region General Hospital and residents at local nursing homes. They’ve also collected personal care items to express gratitude to frontline healthcare workers and are now making window draft blockers for a local nursing home.
With her work as a College Consortium Coordinator:
- The focus is to support the efforts of New Hampshire college campuses in enhancing their response to sexual and interpersonal violence.
- The role includes helping to strengthen relationships between campuses, crisis centers, law enforcement, and other community partners, providing technical assistance and training, facilitating resource sharing, and representing the Consortium on statewide committees and initiatives.
- Since the Attorney General’s office provides a dedicated coordinator, so there is always someone who can apply a statewide lens, build capacity, and focus on the Consortium as a proactive professional organization. This allows the Consortium to be more effective in carrying out its mission and purpose while the members continue to fulfill their crucial roles on their respective campuses and in their communities.
- If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault or relationship abuse, advocates are available through the statewide hotlines: 1-800-277-5570 (sexual assault) or 1-866-644-3574 (domestic violence/relationship abuse). Services are free, confidential, and available 24/7.
When I asked Kitty what advice would she give a young professional wanting to give back in their community she said:
Get connected to your local community and find out what’s going on. There are so many opportunities to volunteer in all kinds of settings, with varying skills needed, and a range of commitment levels. Find some organizations that you’re interested in and follow them on social media, as many will post about upcoming opportunities. Talk to people in your circle about what they do to see what’s out there. If you’re worried about over-committing or having trouble finding something that’s the right fit, start with community building and pursuing your interests without an official role—consider going to a book talk at your library or a group snowshoe event. Being around people with similar interests may lead you to an opportunity that’s just what you’re looking for. Finally, look for balance. If you’re in a helping profession or high-stress job, consider something radically different from your day job, maybe something outside or creative, and make sure it’s something that brings you joy.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own backyards!