Arts In Reach empowers teenage girls through inclusive, creative community.
Since 1997, Arts in Reach (AIR) has empowered teenage girls from the Greater Seacoast of NH through innovative mentoring and arts programs. AIR programs create a community where teens feel safe to express their authentic selves, build confidence, and take on challenges through the arts.
To download and read our FY 2019 Annual Report click here.
- Develop new art skills and ways to be creative. AIR expands teens’ opportunities in performing, visual and literary arts.
- Build self-confidence and voice to manage personal challenges. AIR teens engage in the arts as tools for healthy self-expression, risk-taking and reflection to instill resiliency and hope.
- Build healthy relationships within an inclusive community. AIR programs create a supportive community of peers and adults where a diverse group of teenage girls thrives.
- Develop essential skills for future success. AIR provides mentoring and structured activities to promote skills and aspirations for both education and career opportunities.
- Become more culturally and civically engaged. By working with professional artists, art venues and the local cultural community, AIR teens broaden their life goals and connect with the Greater Seacoast.
- Develop the ability to be reflective and to set life goals
- Increase literacy and critical thinking skills
- Develop strong resistance skills to help our young women avoid risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse, as well as teen pregnancy
- Build strong relationships and conflict resolution skills
- Gain knowledge and understanding of the arts and cultural expression
- Identify local art resources and be inspired by local artists
- Volunteer in service to community to demonstrate the potential of youth
Arts In Reach (AIR) was established in the summer of 1997 by two UNH art history graduates, Kristin Forselius and Amanda Tappan, as an interdisciplinary arts day camp. Growing up they wished they had more opportunities in the arts. “I had never entered a fine arts museum until I was in college!” stated Kristin. Kristin and Amanda wanted to improve the lives of teenage girls by making the arts accessible to all, especially those who were underserved. With the support of local businesses, friends, and family, they raised enough funds to buy art supplies, pay for weekly field trips, and rent program space. Nine girls, ages 11-13, participated in six weeks of programming, including creative writing, outdoor painting on the Isles of Shoals, theatre workshops, a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and sessions led by local teaching artists. The summer ended with a final showcase of their original artworks. The program was free of charge and included transportation, as it does today.
That first AIR summer camp was popular and sparked interest from local schools and other families. AIR helped girls feel stronger about themselves and what they could accomplish. AIR enhanced their cultural awareness and skills. Girls’ experience at AIR improved their relationships with family and peers, and they gained a renewed interest in academic learning.
Debra Holloway Executive Director
University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D. Education: Curriculum and Instruction
University of New Hampshire, MA English, BA English
Before becoming Executive Director, Debra’s worked with AIR began in 1998. She conducted a two-year research study of AIR and its impact on participants from 1998-2000. In 1999 she co-led the AIR summer program as a staff member and became AIR’s first board member and chair. She helped design, analyze results, and report on the 2015 AIR Alumnae Survey. From 2016 to 2019 she served on AIR’s Program Committee and Advisory Panel, and from 2017 through 2019 she was AIR’s part-time grant writer. Debra’s career began as a writing teacher. She taught writing at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Great Bay Community College. After graduate school, she became an educational researcher focusing on the role of “voice” in the transformation of individuals and communities. She documented how the arts function as strategies to reflect on ourselves and others, try on others’ voices, express our own voices, and discover new possibilities for our lives and our communities. Her research with AIR inspired her to study painting and drawing for three years at the Colorado Academy of Art. She also has served on many non-profit boards, including the UNH Art Museum, Rye Education Foundation, and New Hampshire Learning Initiative. Debra lives in Rye with her husband Scott Marion, their youngest daughter Anna Rose, and dog Luke.
Click here to hear from Debra in an episode of the Creative Guts podcast.
Favorite Dog Breed: Black Lab
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip
Rebecca Romanoski Program Director
University of New Hampshire, M.Ed. Secondary Education, BA English Teaching
Becca grew up in Southern NH and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with young women in her own community. During her graduate program, Becca gained experience teaching middle and high school level English, while focusing her research on the integration of visual arts into the language arts curriculum. After completing her studies at UNH, Becca served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the New Outlook Teen Center in Exeter, NH, where she worked with the center’s Young Women’s Adventure Group and coordinated service learning opportunities for teens. Becca served again as an AmeriCorps VISTA for AIR for two years, and has since become our program director extrodinaire!
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Grapenut
Favorite Harry Potter Character: Professor McGonagall
Cara Cabral Program Manager
University of New Hampshire, BFA Painting and Drawing
Cara holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of New Hampshire. In 2011 she was awarded the UNH Museum of Art Fellowship which provided hands-on experience in the areas of collection management and exhibition preparation. A self-proclaimed Renaissance woman, Cara has worked as an antiques dealer, picture framer, barista, cursive artist for a pottery studio, studio assistant for a painting conservator, and interim assistant director of the UNH Museum of Art. She is delighted to be joining the AIR staff and considers her role as Program Manager her most important and meaningful job to date. Cara has been involved with AIR since 2014, first serving as program volunteer and teaching artist. Cara is an active member of the non-profit arts collective, Wrong Brain, and serves on their Board of Directors. When she isn’t working for Arts in Reach, she can be found gardening or making strange art.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate Raspberry
Favorite Seltzer: LaCroix Key Lime
Elizabeth Lavoie Marketing and Research AmeriCorps VISTA
College of the Holy Cross, BA English
Elizabeth Lavoie grew up in Manchester, NH and is excited to return to the Granite State after attending college in Worcester, MA. She recently graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a BA in English and Creative Writing. While in college, Elizabeth enjoyed taking part in Big Brother, Big Sister and aiding in ESL classrooms. Following her graduation, she traveled to France where she worked at a summer camp focused on English language immersion. From an early age, Elizabeth has loved exploring the arts and has recently found a passion for writing poetry. She is thrilled to explore the Seacoast area and serve as an AmeriCorps Vista at AIR!
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate
Favorite Disney Movie: Peter Pan
Professional Teaching Artists
Catherine Stewart Theatre Director
Catherine, a native of Scotland, emigrated to the US in 2012 and soon settled in the Seacoast of NH. Catherine is a writer and director for both theatre and film, making work that aims to ignite social and political change. She has maintained teaching and facilitation as part of her creative practice for the past six years working with all age and ability groups in educational institutions, community settings and with non-profit arts organisations. She is part of the Teaching Artist Roster for New Hampshire, and specialises in cross-curricular learning that utilises the arts. Catherine co-owns a media production company, Film Unbound, with her husband Michael, creating fiction, documentary and promotional work for clients. She is currently in production for their first feature documentary about the American Public Education System. She is a regular contributor to numerous media outlets including writing for the Doing Good blog for Stay Work Play NH, and she is the creator of the Females in Film article series on NewEnglandFilm.com.
Catherine’s spare time is often filled by her passion for advocacy, volunteering for organizations such as Slow Food Seacoast and RESULTS, but you might also find her cooking, knitting or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Catherine on Twitter: @MakeCreateMore
Sam Paolini Lead Visual Artist
Sam Paolini is a visual artist, illustrator, printmaker, clothing designer, community organizer, curator, publisher, and teacher living in Dover, New Hampshire. They have been a professional artist since dropping out of Massachusetts College of Art in 2008. In March 2010 they founded Wrong Brain, a zine featuring the art and writing of local creatives. Wrong Brain has since expanded to 9 zines, 3 audio compilations, annual alternative art fairs, gallery shows, poetry readings, and other multimedia art events. From 2010-2013, Sam directed the curatorial committee of 30 Under 30, a locally renowned annual art exhibition featuring the Seacoast’s best emerging artists. They have been teaching art at the non-profit art center Main Street Art in Newfields, NH since 2011. In 2012, the children’s book Dream Detectives: Something Funny About the Cake was published, featuring 30 pages of illustrations by Sam. They are resident artist for rock band People Skills, and have also worked for Dean Ween and Tera Melos. Sam’s work can be viewed online at www.sampaolini.com.
Rachel Pantazis Lead Vocal Instructor
Rachel Pantazis is a voice coach and professional performer originally from Manchester, NH. After attending Plymouth State University for a degree in English, Rachel changed career paths to be a classical singer, musical theatre professional, and cruise line performer. Rachel has performed on ships for Carnival Cruise Lines as well as theatre venues like The Seacoast Repertory Theatre, The Firehouse Center for the Arts, The Ogunquit Playhouse, The Hackmatack Playhouse, and the Mac-Haydn Theatre. Rachel believes in a healthy mind and body as the building blocks for successful singing technique and strives to build her singers up with confidence and scientific knowledge of their instrument. Rachel continues to teach voice lessons virtually out of her own studio when she isn’t performing on the ocean!
Roxanne O’Connor SongWorks 2015 Lead Musician
University of New Hampshire, Bachelor of Music, Music Education
Roxanne grew up in a household that fostered a love of music (you might see her dad out and about, performing with his blues band or playing for the AiR girls). As a high school senior project, she started a choir for non-singers. Passing her love of music onto her self-named “non musical” peers was such a powerful experience that she changed her college major from performance to education. Roxanne graduated from the UNH in 2009 and has been working in the school system in some form or another since then. She is currently the music teacher at Bow Elementary School, as well as the director of both the Junior and Senior Choirs at Lee Church Congregational. When she isn’t making music, Roxanne enjoys watching football with her husband Dan, snowboarding, and playing with her adorable pug, Gronk. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with the AiR girls – it refreshed her love of music and reminded her why she decided on this career path.
Favorite Ice Cream: Cookies n’ Cream
Favorite Animal: Owl
Stephanie Lanzenby Theatre Director
Stephanie received a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and Performing Arts from Emerson College in Boston, MA and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from The New School for Social Research, New York, NY. Stephanie is a curriculum based Theater Workshop Teacher with the City of Portsmouth and created a workshop to fulfill a need in our educational system for increased learning through the arts. All three elementary schools in the Portsmouth school district take part in the workshops. As the Assistant Director of Education with Patrick Dorow Productions, Stephanie co-directed and developed the summer camp program, culminating in performances of two musicals, as well as co-created the after-school program for ages five through thirteen. Since 2011, Stephanie has been the After-School Enrichment Theater Teacher for the City of Portsmouth and is the Director and Creator of the Dondero Drama Club.
Larissa Fogg Dance Choreographer
Larissa has been studying dance for 15 years, with the last four years spent in advanced classes in Boston. Her favorite styles are hip hop, contemporary, and jazz. She attended master classes and dance intensives with lots of well-known professionals in Boston, NYC, London, and Buenos Aires. She currently performs with a professional dance company out of Boston (Boston Community Dance Project) and was a summer intern with them for two years. Prior to that, she performed with Boston Youth Moves (a pre-professional company) for three years as well as with many local dance schools. Larissa has been teaching dance classes for the past four years. She was hired as the dance teacher/choreographer for Arts In Reach in 2015 for their after school program and vacation camp. She also teaches hip hop at the Kittery Community Center as well as private and semi-private classes. She has a strong grasp of the history and culture of hip hop. Larissa is passionate about dance and loves to share her enthusiasm and talent with dance students of all ages.
Natalie Safley Theatre Director
Natalie has been a consumer of the Arts since her mother put her in a drama class when she was 14 years old. At that moment her life changed forever! Natalie holds a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Stage Management and a MA in Theatre Education both from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Additionally, she acquired a MA in Directing from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. Life has taken her on many adventures however teaching and directing theatre have been at the heart of everything for the last nineteen years. She has taught theatre in high schools in Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and is currently the Theatre Director at Freeport High School in Freeport, Maine. Additional teaching endeavors include: Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College, Adjunct Professor Southern New Hampshire University and Adjunct Professor NHTI, Concord’s Community College. She resides in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and two small children where they try to spend as much time as possible outside.
Elissa Margolin SongWorks Musician
Elissa Margolin is a singer-songwriter from Portsmouth, NH. With 18 years of classical piano training and a passion for the acoustic guitar, Elissa blends these instruments and her lyrics with the talents of many area musicians. EDGE Magazine and the Seacoast Media Group awarded Elissa the Spotlight Award for “Best Singer-Songwriter” in 2015 and most recently named her latest CD with her band, River Sister, one of the best releases in 2017. Elissa has been a guest artist for AIR’s arts intensive 2013, SongWorks 2014, 2015 and 2016 and is the past president of the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center. You can find Elissa performing around the region with River Sister and at home practicing her cello.
Sarah Duclos Dance Choreographer
Sarah Duclos is a freelance New England based choreographer and dance educator who holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre and Dance from the University of New Hampshire. As a young dancer, Duclos worked directly with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange during their two year residency leading up to The Shipyard Project – sparking a lifelong interest in site-specific, community-based dance work. While studying at UNH, Duclos founded Neoteric Dance Collaborative (NEO) a multi-disciplinary dance company with a mission to stop dance from disappearing in rural and suburban communities by building community through the art of dance. NEO has performed Duclos’ choreography on stages in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and at City Center in New York City. Duclos has worked as a freelance performer and choreographer, for both theatre and concert dance, and as a dance educator, notably working as a master teaching artist for Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives, a faculty member at Phillips Exeter Academy’s department of Theater and Dance – where she served as Interim Director of Dance during the 2015-2016 academic year and internationally as a dance facilitator at the Abhainn Ri Festival of Participation and Inclusion in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. She specializes in teaching classical ballet (Vaganova method), choreography and composition, dance history and Giordano jazz technique. Duclos was appointed to the juried New Hampshire Arts in Education Roster in 2016 and continues to produce, direct and teach with Neoteric Dance Collaborative. http://www.vimeo.com/
Kathy Fink Voice Intensive Accompanist
Kathy Fink has been seen at many area theaters as both pianist and musical director. She is pleased to be a part of the Arts In Reach family! She teaches all levels & styles of piano in her home studio and at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC). Kathy co-leads the Fourth Street Jazz Choir, serves as choral instructor at the Cocheco Academy of the Arts (CATA), and is the Director of Music for St Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Dover. She has a BA in piano performance & MA in music history from UNH. Her accompanying career began at the age of 9 for the 4thgrade chorus in Leeds, England. She accompanied first full-length musical at age 15. Kathy has worked at Prescott Park Arts Festival, the Rochester Opera House, the Rep, The Bell Center, Hackmatack Playhouse, the Palace Theatre, Garrison Players, Governor’s Inn, Players Ring,& more! You may recognize her from the local band Crossfire, which she played in from 1979-1988. Kathy lives in Dover with her husband Greg, and her beagle Cookie who offers moral support!
Katie Gall Voice Instructor
Voice teacher and performer, Katie Gall, moved back to the seacoast area after performing and teaching in NYC for the last 10 years. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Steinhardt School at New York University in Vocal Performance as well as a post-Master’s degree in Vocal Pedagogy. Most notably, Katie has taught at New York University, Mayo Performing Arts Center, and Highbridge Voices in NYC, and through the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth. Additionally, Katie is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and believes in a whole body and mind approach to healthy performance. Most recently Katie has been seen in “The Hunchback of Norte Dame” at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre and at the Rochester Opera House in “Happy Days: The Musical”!
Amanda Reimers Singer/Songwriter
Amanda Reimers is a singer/ songwriter, musician, black belt karate instructor, and AIR alum, who currently works as a residential rehabilitation specialist for a non-profit mental health center.
She grew up in Lee, NH participating in AIR programs throughout her adolescence, where she transformed her passion for music and the expressive arts. She earned her bachelors degree in Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA in 2018, and has been working for Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, NH ever since.
She resides in Dover, New Hampshire with her husband and three furry children: two cats and one dog. When she is able to find some spare time, she loves to cuddle up with her pets, practice and teach karate with her 4th degree black belt-husband, and sing and play covers and original songs on her YouTube channel. Anyone can view her YouTube channel by clicking the following link: https://www.youtube.com/
Board of Directors
Glicka Kaplan President
Glicka Kaplan joined the AIR Board of Directors in April 2011. Glicka is an active Seacoast community member and is a former teacher of the deaf for the Portsmouth School system. She also helped initiate art enrichment programs at Portsmouth Dondero School through the PTO. Glicka’s board experience includes the Children’s’ Museum of Portsmouth, where she served on both the special interest committee as part of a Capital Campaign and the Road Race committee. She was also a Board Member of the Portsmouth Public Library. In addition, Glicka held executive positions on boards for the Dover Temple Israel and The Birchtree Center, a school helping youth with Autism. She brings a wealth of fundraising experience to the Board as well as connections in the arts community and interest in positive youth development.
Virginia Skevington Vice President
Virginia Skevington joined the AIR Board in March 2018. As AIR’s former Executive Director, Virginia brings insight to the internal workings of the organization. Virginia works as Manager of Operations at Charter Oak Capital Management, Portsmouth acting as Director of Human Resources and supporting the long-term execution of the firm’s strategic goals.
Virginia brings diverse experience from the nonprofit, private and government sectors. Previously, Virginia ran two arts nonprofit agencies on the Seacoast, creating Art Connects NH, a partnership of the New Hampshire Institute of Art and New Hampshire Art Association. Before moving to New Hampshire’s Seacoast, she attended graduate school in Roanoke, Virginia and worked as a Washington lobbyist in energy and telecom for several years. She holds her Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech.
Virginia is a native of Washington, DC. She resides in Newfields, New Hampshire with her husband John, and their four-year old son, Britton and two-year-old daughter, Charlotte.
Leslie A. Martin Secretary
Leslie’s appreciation for Arts in Reach (AIR) began more than nine years ago. Both of her daughters had social and emotional issues when reaching middle school. The illness and death of the girls’ father compounded the family pressures. Participating in the AIR programs provided a safety net and opened opportunities for social learning and exposure to the arts. Now both daughters are flourishing in college. Leslie credits the AIR program with growth in self-esteem and important family healing.
Leslie joined the Board in 2016. She is committed to promoting the gifts of AIR participation to other teens and families. Her career background includes marketing and project management in both profit and not-for-profit organizations. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton College and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Eve M. Hoefle Treasurer
Eve is a senior executive with over 35 years of experience in banking and finance, commercial real estate and private equity. Eve began her career at Bank of Boston as a commercial lender and co-founded a real estate private equity firm where she served as CFO and COO for 17 years. After leading a Specialty Lending team at Boston Private, Eve joined Two International Group, a Portsmouth-based commercial real estate developer and operator, where she divides her time between seeking new projects and leading asset management efforts for an active commercial portfolio. Eve has served on multiple for-profit and non-profit boards and joined Arts in Reach in 2019 with enthusiasm. She passed on her parents’ creative and musical genes to the next generation and greatly appreciates the value the arts have provided for her four children. She lives in Rye, New Hampshire with her husband, Dan.
Judith Rubenstein learned of AIR in 2012. Quickly inspired by its vision and mission, she joined the board later that year. The personal resonance with AIR runs deep—In her own teen years, music and singing were anchors during difficult times. She also has two daughters, now grown, and relates strongly to girls’ needs for acceptance and empowerment. Judith is a senior manager at Measured Progress, a not-for-profit educational assessment firm in Dover, NH. A communications and publishing leader, she brings to the AIR board her years of management experience, including extensive hiring, mentoring, and coaching.
Karin Barndollar left her native Germany in the early seventies and spent a number of years living in England, France, and the United Arab Emirates, where she met her husband Steve. They moved to Portsmouth in 1982, started a business and raised their son and daughter here. They chose Portsmouth because of its vibrant arts scene, as well as its proximity to the mountains and the ocean.
Karin’s first volunteer experience was with the Little Harbor and Middle School Parent Teacher Organizations where she was instrumental in helping to bring arts and other enrichment programs into the classrooms. She subsequently served for several terms on the Music Hall Board and has always been very supportive of the arts in the community. Karin is currently a member of the Board of Families First Community Health Center and believes that health care is a human right. Through Families First parenting programs, she became particularly familiar with the issues faced by many Seacoast families, which led her to become an AIR supporter.
There has always been an international focus to Karin’s life, as a business person, a traveller, and a Board member of Education for All Children, a New Hampshire based non-profit that sponsors high school and university students in Kenya, again with the focus on supporting girls and young women.
Karin is the lucky grandmother of two little girls who live in her neighborhood.
Susan Gold is a career sales & marketing professional, and a strong advocate for networking to build relationships and connect people. In her spare time Susan is an artist, painting, drawing, creating fabric art and quilts or just exploring new media. She believes that everyone is an artist in their own way and often helps others find their creative courage. Dedicated to community service, Susan is a member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club and participates in fundraising for many local charities. She has been involved with Arts in Reach since 2014, assisting with the first Tablescapes event. Susan lives in Portsmouth with her husband Alan, her son Sean and the family cat, “Sam-kitty”. She has a daughter and two beautiful granddaughters who also reside in NH.
Katyanne Zink joined the AIR Board of Directors in March of 2018. Growing up in Somersworth, NH Katyanne participated in AIR programing from 1997 – 2004 and knows firsthand the value AIR provides young women. Katyanne credits AIR for finding her inner strength and self-worth at a very vulnerable age through art. Without the foundation AIR built, she would not be where she is today.
Katyanne earned her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and her Master of Science in Nursing Informatics from Walden University. She obtained her board certification in Nursing Informatics by the American Nurse Credentialing Center. During her college years, Katyanne planned and led teams on volunteer projects, including traveling to Washington, D.C where she volunteered in homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Katyanne has also volunteered as an Alumni advocate for TRiO programs at a state and national level. Within this role, she advocated for equal opportunities for access to post-secondary education to the Senate Budget Committee’s 2013 Hearing on the Impact of Budget Decisions on Families and Communities in Washington, D.C.
Katyanne is currently employed as a Clinical Informatics Nurse at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH. In her role, she leads implementation of clinical systems and provides support and education related to the technologies used by clinical staff. In 2016, Katyanne moved back to her hometown of Somersworth, NH with her husband, daughter, and family dog. She is grateful to be able to give back to the program that gave her so much.
After earning his master’s at the London School of Economics, Emmett returned to his home state of New Hampshire to establish himself as a serial entrepreneur. Using crowd-sourcing technologies, he opened Teatotaller, a tea-house and venue in historic Somersworth, and later worked with other area-natives to open Leaven, a craft beer bar and sourdough bread bakery.
His most recent role has included technology start ups. As Chief Product Officer of Weather Analytics, he brings together a team of developers, designers, and data scientists to continually push the bounds of new business intelligence solutions. Emmett has spearheaded gathering of user requirements and design of nine decision-support applications for the insurance and U.S. Intelligence Community. He also is leading design and delivery of five smartphone and tablet application for parametric insurance programs.
As a serial entrepreneur in the granite state – from tea houses and gastro pubs, to green tech and incubators, his passion for innovation has contributed to the economic and cultural revitalization of his home city, Somersworth. He has sat on multiple boards, including an arts nonprofit, and the board of governors for York University. He was named one of New Hampshire’s top Upstarts by NH Business Magazine at the age of 25, for his continued engagement in ventures large and small – and ones that cut across consumer and business enterprises –as well as having founded the Makers and Shakers organization, which promotes and celebrates entrepreneurs in semi-rural areas.
Emmett earned his Master of Science from the London School of Economics and his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from York University, in Toronto, Ontario.
Derek moved back to his home state of New Hampshire with his family at the age of 15 and has been an active and engaged member of the Seacoast Community ever since. In 2016, he worked as a Songworks Mentor for Arts In Reach and has continued to be a part of the program every year. He feels moved and inspired to be part of this community and relishes the opportunity to help other young songwriters express themselves. He has worked in the field of Social Work for over a decade and his values are rooted in his profession. After graduating with degrees in Social Work from UNH in 2012, Derek went on to become a Licensed Therapist at Seacoast Mental Health and has worked there for over five years with adults who experience mental illness. In addition to his day job, he is a lifelong musician and poet and records and performs indie rock music with his band Pangea Pop which includes his good friends and father on lead guitar.
Derek attributes his passion for being of service to others and creative expression to the values of his parents and the family he is in. When he was young he often felt like he didn’t fit in and now as an adult, he is more confident and tries to use his gift as an extroverted networker to facilitate bringing people together with the important value of inclusion: that everyone has a place at the table. In college, he was a community organizer and activist for environmental and social justice, being a member of the Peace and Justice League, The Student Environmental Action Coalition, as well as The Friends of Forest Park. He is still an involved member of The Waysmeet Center, an inclusive community center in Durham that provides services and hosts events for UNH students and Seacoast community members. He is currently a member of the D.I.Y. creative collective Sue’s Space, based in the lower Rollinsford mills where he helps with the production and booking of music, theater and comedy shows.