Join ABLE NH and join the movement

Taking the next steps to create positive change for people with disabilities and their families



Kathy Bates, who uses a wheelchair, receives assistance from friend Robin Carlson at Evo Rock + Fitness Climbing Gym in Concord at the ABLE Rocks event in June 2017.

Deborah Genthner photos

Filled with new visions for themselves, their families, and communities, many NH Leadership Series graduates were looking for ways to stay involved, connected and engaged in creating positive change.

ABLE NH (Advocates Building Lasting Equality in NH) was created to serve this purpose. ABLE NH is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that was launched through a collaborative effort with the UNH Institute on Disability, NH Developmental Disabilities Council and the Disability Rights Center to serve as an independent voice to create positive change in the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

At the core of its mission is advocating for the civil and human rights of all children and adults with disabilities and promoting full community participation by improving systems of supports, connecting families, inspiring communities and influencing public policy.

What has ABLE NH done?

•  ABLE NH has successfully supported efforts to achieve accessible playgrounds, schools and businesses in Concord, Nashua and Peterborough.

•  ABLE successfully led the charge on New Hampshire’s seclusion and restraint legislation.

•  ABLE supported legislation that banned the subminimum wage in New Hampshire, legislation that caught the attention of the rest of the nation.

•  ABLE led the charge on waitlist funding, which resulted in $3 million to support adults waiting for services in New Hampshire in 2012.

•  ABLE members supported local leaders working on pediatric in-home nursing care and consistently support the full efforts of the disability advocacy community on budget-related work by writing letters and going to hearings.

ABLE NH has experienced extraordinary growth this past year. ABLE NH hired a full-time community organizer, Linda Quintanilha. The board of directors expanded to include new members; membership has risen to more than 100 dues-paying individuals.

An issues assembly was held in November 2016 to identify the most pressing issues individuals with disabilities and their families face. Many issues were identified and three formal task forces to create positive change in the following areas were created:

•  The Right to Communicate

•  Transition and Employment

•  Managed Care Task Force (ongoing)

In addition to the task force groups, ABLE NH supports seven chapters throughout the state. Chapter members work together alongside schools, businesses, legislators, etc., to create change on a local level.

A few examples of work the chapters have completed:

Concord: The beautiful and accessible Main Street project has been completed after years of work and planning. It began with the small ABLE NH action of trying to get a member who used a wheelchair into a local
but inaccessible business. Partners and city planners spent several years hammering out the details and the result is a better, more welcoming Main Street that everyone can enjoy. A current issue includes the accessibility of Concord’s premier playground, White Park. New members are welcome and needed.

Manchester: Manchester parents have started a chapter and as a first step, the group identified issues experienced by parents with children in the Manchester School District. In July 2017 they held a picnic at Lake Massabesic and continue to build a community of people who understand and are willing to work for inclusion, equity and opportunity for everyone. This includes accountability and implementation of IEPs.

Peterborough: The Peterborough chapter held a candidates’ forum in November 2016 and have continued to meet with their representatives around issues that affect all of us. In July 2017, the chapter organized a Blues Barbecue in Temple to get people together for good food and music and to celebrate the recent successes in their community.

If you have an interest in starting or joining a chapter, contact Linda Quintanilha at quintanilha.linda@gmail.com or go to www.ablenh.org for details.

As president of the board of directors, past NH Leadership Series coordinator, and a parent, I am excited to continue to witness and have a role in developing leaders to address the issues facing individuals with disabilities and their families.

Join ABLE NH and join the movement. By becoming a member of ABLE NH, you invest in an organization that has been effective in changing the lives of people with disabilities and their families, their schools and their communities.

None of us are alone — we are Advocates Building Lasting Equality in NH (ABLE NH).

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