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Monday, August 25, 2008

New England 2-1-1 Call Centers have now Expanded to include New Hampshire

By Noelle Southwick
New England Bureau Chief
(Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut)

I visited Hampton Beach this summer and learned that Hampton Beach, NH received acknowledgment as one of the cleanest beaches, with highest water quality in the United States. Hampton Beach, NH was one of only 3 beaches given 5-star ratings in the 2008 National Resources Defense Council report.

I also learned about a great networking resource now available in New Hampshire. It is the Dial 2-1-1 NH Call Center. 2-1-1 offers person-to-person assistance to find services and support groups that are available in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Call Center accessed by dialing 2-1-1 is a connection to thousands of resources. Its mission is to strengthen the way people access help & engage in civil life.

When I called the 2-1-1 NH Call Center I found their Referral Specialist to be very helpful & thoughtful about what services could support me in finding networks.

As a businesses owner the referral specialist offered me the numbers for Small Business Development Center 603-358-2602 and the Small Business Administration 603-225-1400. She asked for my location to be able to offer specific support groups and community services in my local area. The Call Center can help a business owner locate local Chamber of Commerce, business consulting organizations, business assistance centers, community economic development centers, local licensing requirements and much more.

If you are looking to network into career organizations they can help with that as well. Employment resources, career development, career counseling and education organizations are all part of the resources in the 2-1-1 database. They can also help direct employers who are looking to fill jobs to needed resources.

If you are new to New Hampshire the NH Call Center can offer support in finding local child care, parenting groups, library resources, community health centers and other resources a newcomer may need. The Call Center can also offer organizations that can assist individuals and family who need financial support.

The 2-1-1 Call Center is part of a national initiative. United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta launched the first 2-1-1 call Center in 1997, and the service is now available in 41 states. Each of the New England states has a 2-1-1 Call Center that is available statewide.

The NH service was officially launched in June 2008. Currently they handle just under 600 calls a month however, those numbers are expected to double by winter as more residents become aware of the service. Currently Maine, which has been available for 3 years, handles about 3600 calls a month & Heather Aicholtz, Director 2-1-1 NH Call Center, expects their monthly number to soon be in that range as well.

Ms Aicholtz also pointed out that the Call Center can direct people who are interested in giving back. The Call Center can offer a variety of volunteer opportunities if an individual or a business is looking for ways to contribute to their local community.

Ms Aicholtz reminds people 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service. She says they will help you find anything you are looking for, “Give us a call.”.

When I asked Heather Aicholtz if she had anything else to add about networking she said “we wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for the networking ability of the United Way and their relationship with the Public Service Company of New Hampshire. They are providing us support with the space to operate, technology and IT support.” She added that it was a collaborative effort that brought 2-1-1 together.

I did find it easier to locate the resources related to networking by calling the toll free number rather than searching on-line. The people I spoke with at the call center have all been extremely personable & caring.

If you are looking for resources in New Hampshire contact 2-1-1 NH toll-free by dialing 2-1-1 in state or 1-866-444-4211 from out of state. Access their resources on-line at or the national site for access to the service in any of the New England states at

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