The Grapevine mission is to promote family and community health and well-being through support, education and the sharing of resources. Grapevine programs and services support:
- Parents and Family Members as the best teachers of their children;
- Children, so they will be healthy and ready to learn, and
- Our Community, as a healthy and supportive environment for all.
In early 1996, a small group of townspeople got together and helped to form a play-and-learn group for young children and their parents. Families And Communities Together, a small nonprofit organization based in Greenfield, assisted the group in its efforts and successfully applied for a grant from the Health Care Fund Community Grant program to open a family and community resource center.
During the summer of 1997, The Grapevine moved from a small storefront to The Aiken House,
donated to the Town of Antrim by Jim and Carol Rymes. In March 1998, the people of Antrim voted to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to renovate The Aiken House. That summer, a group of community members formed a trust to purchase the Aiken Street Barn for temporary use by The Grapevine. When it became clear that renovating The Aiken House was not feasible, the people of Antrim again supported The Grapevine at Town Meeting 2000 by voting to purchase the Aiken Street Barn. The barn was remodeled in early 2003 and, in June 2003, The Grapevine moved in. By this time, the original play-and-learn group had grown to three parent- child programs, a group for parents and infants, a parent-cooperative preschool, and other family support programs and resources. In October 2006, The Grapevine celebrated 10 years serving the community.
Early in 2003, a group of citizens from Antrim, Hancock, Bennington and Francestown began meeting together with The Grapevine to take a look at the health and well-being of people in our towns. The “4-Town Citizen Group” talked about how many people–especially our elders and our young people–are isolated, are not connected to the “center” of the community. We came to the conclusion that the first step in building community health and well-being is helping people to connect with each other, and with the community. In the fall of 2003 we organized free community suppers in each of the towns, which are still going strong. When the suppers were up and running, the 4-Town group supported The Grapevine in developing a neighbor-helping-neighbor project, “The People’s Service Exchange.”
Also in 2003, The Grapevine convened a group of representatives from Antrim’s organizations and government, including law enforcement, parks and recreation, the library, churches, the schools, scouts and civic groups. An early focus of the group—eventually named the Brown Bag Coalition, or BBC—was our youth, both the lack of childcare for young children of working families and the need to coordinate and expand community offerings for adolescents and teens. In August of 2005, the BBC opened the Before School Club at the Town Gym, in cooperation with Antrim Parks and Recreation Commission and the schools. In September 2007, The Grapevine “adopted” the After School Club in order to keep it open. And, as a result of 9 months of planning and fund raising by teens and parents, the Avenue A teen center opened at 42 Main Street in November 2007. Discussion about a teen center first began in the BBC in November 2006.
The 4-Town Citizen group re-convened in July 2006 to re-examine the health and well-being of the community. “Aging in place,” community transportation, and youth activities were identified as priority community issues. In October 2006, the group convened the first 4-town meeting to identify transportation needs and resources in the community, and to begin developing a plan for local community transportation. The group was used as a model by the Contoocook Valley Transportation Cooperative to develop regional transportation options that meet the needs of people in the eastern Monadnock Region. In the Fall of 2008, the 4-Town group worked to ensure that people had the basic resources needed to be healthy and well in the coming winter as the recession began to take hold.
2012: The BBC continues to seek opportunities that will benefit the community, and the current focus is our elderly population. A recent meeting at the Antrim Area Senior Center explored transportation options, and as a result a regular bus trip to shopping destinations is in the works. Local foods and community gardens are also a current BBC topic, with a raised bed garden project at Antrim Village as a goal for Spring 2013. If you have interest in these initiatives, join us the first Tuesday of each month at noon.
The Grapevine Family & Community Resource Center
PO Box 637 4 Aiken Street Antrim, NH 03440 603-588-2620
Office Hours Mon-Fri 9am-1pm