Girls at Work receives $50k grant from New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Lois G. Roy Dickerman Fund


A $50,000 grant from a donor-advised fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation will help Girls at Work, Inc. to reach more girls and help them build confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills.

Girls at Work is a non-profit that teaches at-risk, low-income New Hampshire girls inner strength through woodworking skills. The grant will help further Girls at Work’s mission of empowering girls with the tools to overcome adversity and build confidence to face current and future life challenges by providing after-school and summer programs to reach our girls in need of building up.

“We are delighted to be providing another year of support to Girls at Work,” said Arthur Desaulnier, Richard Roy and Ted Roy, advisors to the Lois G. Roy Dickerman Fund.  “We know they are bringing effective programs to young girls whose lives will be positively impacted for years to come.”

Mel Gosselin, CEO of Girls at Work reported that, “In 2017, funding from the Roy Dickerman Fund helped Girls at Work  reach 487 girls in need – up from 145 girls in 2016. This continued support will help us strengthen our program further. We have much more to do in 2018 with the hopes of furthering our work on solidifying our curriculum to increase the number of girls we reach throughout New Hampshire. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support as we build our infrastructure.”

About Girls at Work, Inc. Girls at Work empowers at-risk girls that struggle with feelings of powerlessness and defeated. The experience of building for the first time enables girls to overcome the fear associated with power tools, leaving them feeling powerful, strong and capable. For more information, please visit or call 603-345-0392. We welcome you to contact us to set up a meeting to tour our facility and witness first-hand the confidence we are building through our program.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of more than 1,800 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards nearly $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit or call 603-225-6641.

eTown recognizes Elaine Hamel – Girls at Work for “ECHIEVEMENT AWARD”

Girls are Powerful!Girls at Work, Inc. empowers girls with the tools to overcome adversity and build confidence to face current and future life challenges.

Their vision is a world where every girl feels confident and capable.

Only a handful of the girls they meet have had the opportunity to learn how to use power tools safely. They pride ourselves in providing girls with a safe and supportive environment to step out of their comfort zone and to build with other girls. Not only do they discover how capable they are, they also discover  how exciting it is to work as part of a team toward a common goal.

Click here to read more and hear the full interview.

Mike Cote’s Business Editor’s Notebook: Building the future with life skills and a band saw

WANTED: A BUS BIG enough to contain a woodworking shop and some volunteers to help build it.

Mel Gosselin poses with inspirational messages written on the walls by former students in the workshop of Girls at Work, where she was recently named CEO. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)Mel Gosselin poses with inspirational messages written on the walls by former students in the workshop of Girls at Work, where she was recently named CEO. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Girls at Work, a Manchester nonprofit that teaches girls and women how to make things with power tools and empower themselves in the process, wants to go mobile so it can expand its reach statewide.

Think of it as a food truck that smells like sawdust.

That’s a familiar scent to the girls ages 8 to 12 who participate in the eight-week after-school sessions at Girls at Work’s headquarters at 4 Elm St., in an old school building also home to the American-Canadian Genealogical Society.

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New CEO Mell GosselinManchester, NH – The Board of Directors of Girls At Work is honored to announce the recent hire of Mel Gosselin as Chief Executive Officer.

Gosselin brings 25 years of dynamic leadership in the for-profit and non-profit worlds, including 13 years as Executive Director of the New Hampshire Food Bank.   During her tenure food distribution grew from 1.5 million to over 12 million pounds.  She was also recognized at a national level chairing and serving on a number of advocacy and research committees such as Hunger Action Month and the Feeding America National Advisory Council.

“Mel has a proven strategic track record, extensive knowledge of the New Hampshire non-profit world, and a wonderful, sincere connection with our mission of empowering girls with confidence and competence. Her experience in fundraising, program development, and capacity building are exactly what Girls At Work needs as we are poised to grow and expand our programs to reach more girls,” said Samantha Luker, chairman of the board of directors.

“I’m so excited to see Mel put her considerable experience building relationships with diverse stakeholders to work for our little builders,” said Founder and Program Director Elaine Hamel.

“From my professional experience, and as a woodworker myself, I know the empowering feeling of completing a project you weren’t sure you could do. Girls At Work puts that power in the hands of girls from our city who are told by music, movies and TV that women and girls are weak. In our classes and camps, they learn how strong they really are,” Gosselin said. “I can’t wait to share this incredible program with more girls in Manchester and beyond.”

Girls At Work is a not-for-profit organization that empowers girls through woodworking. For more than 15 years, Girls at Work has shown girls their own inner strength, resilience, and problem-solving skills, in direct contrast to a world that tells them they aren’t strong, smart or powerful. Through woodworking with power tools, we believe girls can show us all – and themselves – what they’re really made of.

Thanks to our volunteers, Girls at Work, Inc.’s new Elm Street location blossoms just in time for first summer camp



Thanks to some dedicated volunteers from Timberland and the UNH Master Gardeners club, when our first set of summer builders arrive for our first camps in our new Elm Street shop, they’ll be welcomed by a lush garden landscape in the middle of downtown Manchester.

Every year for one day in May, Timberland shuts down to allow every employee of the Streatham-Based company to volunteer for a non-profit that benefits the community.

This year, 35 Timberland employees chose to work with our founder Elaine Hamel to build a maze of raised garden beds outside our shop.

The day before the installation of the raised beds, volunteers from the Master Gardeners tilled and prepared the area.

What had been a trampled city lawn was made ready to blossom — just like the transformation our builders undergo after working with power tools.

Girls At Work Inc provides after-school and summer camp opportunities for girls from low-income or other disadvantaged families to build wood furniture and other crafts with power tools, unlocking the power within themselves.

This year, our first in at a new shop at 4 Elm Street, the girls from our after school programs in Manchester will be able to attend a one-week summer camp at no cost.

The gardens will allow Girls At Work, Inc., to incorporate an additional layer to our summer camp curriculum: talking about gardening and healthy foods.

The eventual yield from the garden will be sent to the nearby Local Moose Cafe, whose staff will be part of the lessons about healthy food.

“It’s really important to have well rounded girls,” Hamel said. “Some of these kids, growing up in the city, they don’t know where vegetables come from.”

But, not every inch of every garden bed is given over to veggies. Hamel planted a few beautiful flowers, just because.

“When they arrive, I wanted to them to see the plants, the flowers, to feel good, to know this is a space that is all about them, and that it’s a beautiful space,” Hamel said. “From the time they walk into the parking lot, I want everything to say, ‘we care about you.’”

It costs $450 per girl to run our summer camps, but the effect on our girls is priceless. Some of the cost is offset by support from the local school district, but the rest comes from our supporters. Click here to make a gift to Girls at Work and send a girl to camp! Help our girls unlock the power within.

Girls at Work Diva Comedy Night

2016 Diva Comedy Night Recap

Girls at Work’s 2016 Diva Comedy Night was a total success! We had a packed house, hilarious talent, and a group of hard working volunteers that made this event our most successful one ever!

The comedians were Kevin Gallagher, Sue Schmidt, and Cindy Pierce. Their comic storytelling had the crowd of 200+ people engaged, enthralled, and laughing uncontrollably. We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all three of these performers!

During the intermission, it was an incredible treat to have The Endless Tricks perform a few songs acapella. The lead vocalist, Ana Liponis built with Girls at Work a few years back. She had said back then that she really wanted to be a singer. While she was getting started with singing, remembering her time with Girls at Work helped give her the courage to get up on stage and start her journey. Her story is another reminder of how powerful our girls are, and the amazing things they can do. The crowd’s jaws were on the floor as they watched this group of 14-year-olds sing so beautifully.

The unsung heroes of the night were our volunteers. City Year New Hampshire stepped up and provided over a dozen incredible volunteers to help us set up, break down, and tend to our attendees in between. This group of people selflessly provided help when we needed it, and made the night a complete success. We really could not have pulled it off without them!

We’d also like to thank our amazing sponsors, St. Mary’s Bank, Granite State Candy Shoppe, Redfin, Van Otis, Berry Dunn, Trayce Gregoire Photography, and NAWIC NH,.

And finally, the attendees of the event were just so wonderful. So many of you opened up your hearts and minds to listen to our story and our mission, and provided some great feedback. We also had a vast majority of attendees donate to our cause, which was just incredible to see. The result of the many donation envelopes we collected is that we are able to offer all of the little girls in our after school workshops a chance to participated in a two week ‘Build You’ Up’ series of workshops this summer. These workshops will be held in our shop in Manchester, and if you would like to stop in for a visit to see the impact of your donation, please let us know.

Girls at Work Bench

Girls at Work Diva Night NHIA

Girls at Work Diva Night

Diva Comedy Night – March 19, 2016

diva comedy night 2016The second annual Girls at Work, Inc. Diva Night will be an evening of hilarious comedic storytelling with top-billed comedians, including New Hampshire Magazine’s “Remarkable Women of the Arts” award winner Cindy Pierce, Moth and Extempo Story Slam winner Kevin Gallagher, and Sue Schmidt, 2015 winner of the New England Public Radio Valley Voices Grand Slam.

Doors will be at 5:30 pm, with the show starting at 6 pm. There will be lots of delicious chocolate on hand, plus a wine cash bar. Get a general admission ticket for $25 online ($30 at the door), a VIP ticket for early entry and a seat upfront for $50, or buy a reserved table that seats 8 for you and your friends for $400!

Diva Night allows us to bring afterschool programs to our inner city girls and helps to make our Girls at Work mission part of girls’ experiences, all over New England.

If you’re interested in sponsoring this event, view the sponsorship levels, here.

This year’s featured comedians

Cindy Pierce is a leading social sexuality educator and comic storyteller who has been performing her one-woman comedic show and providing educational program around healthy sexual behavior and choices since 2004. Cindy has been honored as one of 14 Remarkable Women of the Arts in New Hampshire magazine and a Pioneer with three others in the category. Cindy is the author of SEXPLOITATION: Helping Kids Develop Healthy Sexuality in a Porn Driven World and is co-author of Finding the Doorbell. With three kids storming into their teens, Cindy is a bit of a social liability for them, but her husband, Bruce, keeps the family grounded. Cindy and Bruce live in Etna, N.H., where they own and run Pierce’s Inn.

Susanne Schmidt is a standup comic and comedic storyteller. She is a Moth Story Slam winner, host, and regional producer. In 2015, Susanne was voted the winner of both the New England Public Radio Valley Voices Grand Slam and Vermont’s Extempo Tell Off. She has appeared in the Green Mountain Comedy Festival, the Boston Women in Comedy Festival and the Toronto SheDot Festival, as well as in venues from Maine to Alaska. Susanne is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health and a faculty member for the graduate program in clinical mental health at Southern New Hampshire University.
Kevin Gallagher is a mental health therapist by day and hilarious storyteller by night. A Moth and Extempo Story Slam winner, Kevin has appeared in shows throughout the country. Kevin is an international speaker in the areas of team building, working collaboratively and using stories as a way to engage people in meaningful interactions.


Thank you to our sponsors!
St Marys Bank