Welcome, Mary Nolin!
“Then we have to do Connections...” That simple sentence was my first introduction to the Connections program by my co-teacher at Second Start. I have used the program in my English as a Second Language (ESOL) classroom for the past two years. Experiencing Connections as both a teacher and participant first has brought an invaluable perspective on the impacts that the program can have on people. Coming from the public-school environment as a former social studies teacher, I had always used stories as a way to engage my students in historical content. Connections was something different. Students were captivated by the stories, beautiful illustrations, and powerful themes for discussion, even in the simplest of picture books. It provided an opportunity for students to practice their English skills in a safe and welcoming environment. But more importantly, my students were building a sense of community and deeper reflection on their own life experiences through the books. I am hoping to use this perspective and positive experience in my new role as manager of the Connections program.
Since coming to New Hampshire Humanities in August, I have had the opportunity to use my own life and educational experience in the Connections program. My bachelor’s in history and master’s in education have fueled my intellectual curiosity for the humanities and now I get to apply that knowledge as a teacher and program manager. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, I am able to continue my love for working with and learning from people from around the world through my work with the Connections program. Having a young son at home, books and stories have become a centerpiece of our family life. I am hoping to encourage this culture of reading to individuals and families across New Hampshire.
- Mary Nolin, Connections Program Manager