This week I had the honor of speaking with Naomi Hastings, a young professional giving back and leading with love. Born and raised in Lebanon, she now raises her three beautiful girls just up the road in Grantham. Naomi is a water operator and administrative assistant in Eastman, and the President of the Faith, Hope, and Love Foundation, a volunteer organization helping children and youth suffering from homelessness and poverty. She is very active in her local fire department, her church, the local summer camps and she is a passionate volunteer with the Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome (FCS) Foundation. This foundation supports those with a rare lipid disease that her husband and three daughters live with.
When I asked Naomi why she decided to stay, work and play in New Hampshire she said: “While growing up in the state, I fell in love early with the variety of things to do. I have always believed that you don’t need to leave the state to have some of the best adventures. Adventures range from up the road to just a couple of hours from me! I love how on any day of the year, every view changes. My first love was with New Hampshire forests and mountains. I adore the simple aspects of just going for a nice three hour drive taking in all the beauty around me, or going for a quick hike through the woods or up a mountain. I love the thrill of strapping on skis and leaving my cares behind as I conquer my fears and a mountain. Skiing has become my favorite pastime, and there is nowhere else I’d rather ski than here in New Hampshire.”
When Naomi isn’t working, or volunteering you will be sure to find her on one of our mountains or camping in the woods. Her favorite place to ski is Whaleback Mountain, a local non profit community mountain that holds years of memories and traditions for her family. She also enjoys skiing with friends and family at Wildcat, enjoying the views of Tuckerman’s Ravine. She loves hiking and camping in the White Mountains, and exploring the hidden gems along the road to fish.
When I asked Naomi how she got involved in volunteering and giving back she said, “I got involved in my community because I saw what my friends were doing, and they led by example. I realized one person can indeed change the world! I had a high school friend who spent her time off helping with Habitat for Humanity, and although I could not do the same, I could start in my community. Growing up in my church, the thought of losing yourself in service was one that was spoken often, and in serving others I found myself. When I feel lost, once I start to give back or doing random acts of kindness as simple as holding a door, giving a smile, entertaining a baby in a line, or teaching youth how to do their own hair for prom, I find myself again! My husband with his rare medical condition has pushed me to do more, give more, and love more. The people I surround myself with have led me to the path of self discovery through giving back.”
A few facts about her love of giving back:
- She created the “famous” Grantham Fire Department’s chicken BBQ recipe and it’s now served every Independence Day. She has created over one hundred recipes for those living with FCS.
- The last six years, she has been teaching girls from various state, ages 12-18, how to shoot rifles and gun safety courses.
- One of her favorite things to do is leaving flowers on doorsteps with notes like “You are loved.“
- Naomi has been teaching girls for the last 15 years how to do their hair for prom, and ways to save money on that expensive event. She loves showering these youth with love and knowledge, and making them feel beautiful.
- Naomi and her husband, Justin, have outfitted over 35 young people in skis and boots – and in some instances ski pants and helmets. They want all children to have the opportunity to enjoy the mountains of New Hampshire.
When I asked Naomi what advice she had for others looking to give back, she said,
Start with what you love. You can always pair your passion with service to others! If you love cooking, then help out at a food kitchen. If you love running, find the races that give back to charities that align with your beliefs. If you have passion or love for it, those emotions will shine through and help those around you more than can be measured.”
As long as you lead with love, you will never go wrong. – Jonathan Jones
There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own backyards!