Nancy Elliott, Board Member
Nancy was born and raised in New Hampshire. Raised by her mother, she was an only child. Loving the outdoors, she enjoyed her childhood skiing Mt. Sunapee and riding horses in the backwoods and trails of Bradford, NH. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents were farmers, and her greatest role models were her grandmothers.
Nancy knows first-hand how adverse childhood experiences impact children throughout their lives. Her father was an abusive alcoholic, and domestic violence and poverty have affected her life. She is proof that people do not have to be defined by their traumatic experiences. With hard work, grit and grace (and a little humor doesn’t hurt), people can become the best version of themselves. Because of her experiences, she has become a resilient, life-long advocate for children and their families.
Nancy currently lives in Keene, NH, with her husband of 35 years, Jeffrey. They have four grown children and two amazing grandchildren. Nancy and Jeffrey were therapeutic foster parents for a number of years.
She worked at Symonds School for over 20 years, primarily as the lead teacher in the ARC Program for students with significant social and emotional challenges. In order to continue to grow in her profession and chase her passion, she accepted the position of Behavioral Interventionist at Franklin Elementary School and will be working in collaboration with the Wellness Team.
Her husband suffered a spinal cord injury 6 years ago, doing something he loved, mountain biking on Drummer Hill. He is now a paraplegic. Thankfully he was able to go to Spaulding Rehab, where the most amazing team helped him learn how to live the most fulfilling life possible. Through the generosity of the Keene community and friends, he was able to return home and continue riding bikes. He and Nancy have been determined to adjust to their new lives, and they can be seen riding their bikes around the local rail trails. Both enjoy gardening, traveling to Boston for weekend adventures, going to concerts and cheering on the Boston Bruins.
They will be biking across NH during the summer of 2022, as well as getting back to camping. “Life happens, sometimes it isn’t pretty, and can seem downright cruel, but we have so many blessings to be grateful for,” Nancy says.
Nancy became familiar with Dusty Dog Farm, Cooper’s Crossroad and the “Farming for Resilience” program, after receiving a grant that allowed her students to participate. She was amazed at the relationships her students were able to form with not only the horses, but all of the amazing volunteers who helped with the handling the horses.
Students who were unable to take risks and find success within the school community were suddenly confident and taking risks, leaving their worries behind. It was such an overpowering experience witnessing these children transform. Students learned to embody the lessons taught at the Farming for Resilience Program; to be kind, cooperative and confident and have gratitude. Best of all, their laughter was uncontainable as they experienced pure joy and belonging.
Nancy is grateful for the generosity of the Rotary Club of Keene, Advocates for Healthy Youth (AFHY), and Dick Cate, principal of Symonds School, for supporting the program for future students impacted by trauma.