March 22, 2019


On Saturday, March 16, 2019, NFI North, Inc. Array of Services presented the first annual I Matter: A Girl Empowerment Conference at the Medallion Opera House in Gorham, New Hampshire.  The event attracted over 40 girls and women from across New Hampshire and Maine.  The purpose of the event is to help girls turn up the volume on their own voice, build confidence, explore pathways to the future and live their dreams.

The conference began with stories shared by youth from NFI North’s Davenport School and Array – stories about what they have overcome and how their experiences have empowered them to move forward in their lives.  “It was truly brave for these young women to share this part of themselves and many people in attendance commented that hearing those stories was the most empowering aspect of the conference for them,” said Program Director, Debi Weeks.

Five local female leaders share their stories and wisdom with attendees throughout the day.  They included;

  • Brigette Olson, Assistant Director of Conferences & Events at Castleton State College;
  • Karen Cusano, Assistant Executive Director at NFI North, Inc.;
  • Rhianne Dube, Student Transition Specialist at NH Department of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation;
  • Jessica Hebert, Quality Assurance and Support Services Supervisor at North Country Home Health and Hospice; and
  • Rebeka Dumont, Store Manager at North Country Shop & Save.

Each of these strong women shared their stories and journeys to becoming who they are today as well as what it is like to be a woman in their particular career.

We are truly thankful for each speakers’ time and their willingness to share their stories.  We learned so much from the experience and are excited to host this conference again in March of 2020,” said Kathryn Peters, MSW, LICSW, Clinical Coordinator for the NFI North Array of Services.

In addition to a day filled with wonderful speakers, the conference hosted twelve booths for participants to visit.  The booths featured Castleton State College, White Mountain Community College, Air Force and Army recruiters, local hair salons, massage therapists, and tattoo artists.

To have the youth start with an idea, raise money and MC this event was inspiring beyond words. Each of these young women has shown their own sense of strength today and I am honored to have shared in some small part of such an incredible event,” said Karen Cusano, NFI’s Assistant Executive Director.

NFI North, Inc. is a multi-service agency that provides programming, consultation and individualized support services to children, youth, families, adults and seniors in a variety of settings. From high levels of clinical treatment, specialized academic programming, school and day programming, intensive residential services, in-home and individualized wraparound services. NFI’s continuum of services are visible throughout rural, suburban and urban communities across New Hampshire and Maine. NFI North, Inc., is a subsidiary of North American Family Institute, Inc., (NAFI/NFI) and was established as a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation in 1992.  NFI NORTH’s mission is to inspire and to empower people to achieve their full potential so they can live successfully in their own home and own community.

For more information about NFI North, Inc. or the Array of Services, please visit our website for Davenport Array.