Building on Hope Completes First Major Component of Nashua PAL Youth Safe Haven Renovation Project

Volunteer group constructs elevator shaft and adjusts construction schedule amid social distancing, seeking volunteers and contributions leading up to a grand reveal in the fall

Nashua, NH – Building on Hope, a volunteer organization of New Hampshire designers, architects, suppliers and builders, recently constructed an elevator shaft in Nashua PAL’s Youth Safe Haven, one of the first major components of the full renovation of the building. While following social distancing guidelines given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Building on Hope team was able to stick with its original plan to construct the elevator shaft at Nashua PAL last month, and will continue construction in phases throughout the summer. Over the past decade, Building on Hope’s team of volunteers have completed more than $4.1 million in community-supported renovation projects throughout New Hampshire.

Every other spring since 2010, hundreds of volunteers from all over the state and beyond work around the clock for 10 straight days to renovate a New Hampshire nonprofit. This year is different for Building on Hope. This May, the group would have been right in the thick of Build Week, leading up to a grand reveal of the completely renovated Nashua PAL Youth Safe Haven, the group’s sixth nonprofit renovation. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, in place of its usual 10-day extreme makeover-style Build Week, Building on Hope made the decision to complete renovations in phases throughout this summer for the health and safety of its volunteers and the community.

Over the next few weeks, Nashua PAL will vacate the building. While Building on Hope makes construction progress leading up to the grand reveal celebration on October 4, 2020, when families will see the completely overhauled building for the first time, Nashua PAL will continue to provide services virtually and out of a neighboring building as needed.

Tax-deductible contributions, volunteer commitments and material donations are essential to completing this project. Building on Hope is seeking financial contributions and volunteers in the trades who may be interested in donating their skills and time for a short period.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit:

“There’s no way to predict how long we’ll be feeling the impact of this health crisis. Rather than postpone Build Week and try to recreate the process we’re used to at a later date, our team is dedicated to forging ahead with flexibility, taking it one day and one project at a time in order to keep the health and safety of our volunteers and Nashua PAL our priority,” said Karen Van Der Beken, Building on Hope co-chair. “After 10 years of rallying businesses in the community to donate time, materials and funds, this group is more than familiar with facing challenges and overcoming obstacles. We always find a way to make it work and this project is no exception!”

Every two years, Building on Hope takes on a new challenge, rallying volunteers, gathering resources and focusing attention on a project selected for its potential to create enduring positive change for the immediate community and the state as a whole. In May 2019, Building on Hope announced it had selected Nashua PAL as its 2020 project, and has since been meeting regularly to plan for the complete transformation of the building.

In place of weekly in-person meetings, Building on Hope’s group of nearly 300 volunteers continues to move forward with plans for the $1 million renovation of Nashua PAL by video conference and regular email communication.

“The Youth Safe Haven is here for the community and one of our priorities for the renovation has been making the building accessible to all community members. The addition of an elevator will allow for more welcoming youth programming, sports programs, and community events to take place here,” said Shaun Nelson, Nashua PAL’s Executive Director. “We are looking forward to many more accessibility updates as the Building on Hope renovation continues, and are immensely grateful to the Building on Hope committee for its flexibility and determination through the current situation. This project will benefit so many youth and families in Nashua for years to come.”

More than 50 people and 16 businesses donated their resources, materials, labor and contributions to the construction of the elevator, including:

  • Academy Roofing (Rindge, NH)
  • All Pro Plumbing of (Haverhill, MA)
  • Atlantic Prefab, Inc. (Wilton, NH)
  • Eversource Energy
  • JET Concrete (New Ipswich, NH)
  • JG MacLellan Concrete (Lowell, MA)
  • Metro Walls (Manchester, NH)
  • Milton Rents (Chichester, NH)
  • Moore Concrete Cutting (Brentwood, NH)
  • Nashua, NH Fire Rescue
  • Nashua, NH Police Department
  • NorthPoint Construction Management (Hudson, NH)
  • Pichette Brothers Construction (Manchester, NH)
  • SL Chasse Steel (Hudson, NH)
  • Southern NH Concrete (Londonderry, NH)
  • Stellos Electric (Nashua, NH)
  • Streamline Waterproofing & Caulking (Londonderry, NH)

“Just the planning, generosity and volume of donors involved in the elevator alone demonstrate the resources that go into making these community-funded renovations possible,” said Jonathan Halle, Building on Hope co-chair. “While we adjust to the new normal, nothing about our motivation and commitment to the youth, staff, and volunteers of Nashua PAL has been put on pause. While it doesn’t come as a surprise, based on the generosity of our volunteers and donors over the years, we continue to feel humbled and grateful to the hundreds of companies and individuals who have pledged to stick with us and see this project through, despite the hurdles we face in this uncertain time.”

Project History

Nashua PAL was founded in 1989 and the group has been operating out of the Youth Safe Haven since 2004, located in what is locally referred to as Nashua’s inner-city “Tree Streets.” On any given day, up to 60 “PAL kids” between the ages of seven and 18 come to Nashua PAL after school and during vacation periods to participate in free activities, including homework club, one-on-one mentoring, cooking, crafts, photography, boxing, open gym, gaming, young female empowerment opportunities, field trips and more, with the support of staff, Nashua police officers, community volunteers and interns from colleges and universities across New England. More than 400 Nashua youth are cared for each year at Youth Safe Haven at no cost to families.

Building on Hope’s renovation will allow Nashua PAL to optimize its space and to increase services. By removing unnecessary design barriers, expanding and separating existing spaces and renovating common spaces for ADA compliance, along with overall upgrades throughout the building, Nashua PAL will be able to offer a safer and more efficient program space for Nashua’s at-risk youth community.

Previous Building on Hope projects include:

  • 2010: Easterseals NH – Building on Hope’s inaugural project was a $350,000 renovation of the Easterseals NH Intensive Residential Treatment Facility. Located in Manchester, the Krol House is home to boys who, for any number of reasons, cannot live with their families. Residents may have behavioral problems, learning disabilities and other setbacks. Many have had severely traumatic life experiences along the way, but they come to the Krol House because they are working through those problems and have plans for a better future. Building on Hope generated national attention from Parade Magazine and PepsiCo for the remodeling, landscape, redesign and refurnishing work.
  • 2012: Girls Inc. – The Manchester Girls Inc. headquarters was in need of major renovations to better serve the hundreds of girls and their families participating in its programs. The $600,000 project involved a new roof, an air conditioning system, playground, extensive program enhancements and a completely new kitchen and dining area.
  • 2014: Opportunity Networks – At its core, Opportunity Networks in Amherst is committed to providing vocational opportunities and activities that promote life-enhancing skills for adults with developmental and acquired disabilities in the Greater Nashua/Souhegan Valley community. The $850,000 project centered around the dreams that the Opportunity Network Board and staffs’ dreams to provide additional services and value to their clients. Building on Hope created a fully interactive theatre, library, art space, commercial kitchen, movement room, computer lab, renovated offices and a ‘snoozelen room.’
  • 2016: Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL) – MPAL’s Michael Briggs Community Center in Manchester encourages positive relationships between law enforcement and young people through fitness and after-school programming. The $1.8 million renovation of the 16,000-square-foot, 105-year-old facility was Building on Hope’s largest undertaking. A total of 17 rooms, including a state-of-the-art kitchen, homework room, game room, workout areas, offices and more, were transformed to create an open, light space complete with new furnishings and positive and inspirational messages throughout the facility.
  • 2018: Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire (CCCNH) – CCCNH is the only agency exclusively dedicated to working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Merrimack County. A $500,000 renovation nearly doubled the capacity of its emergency shelter, from four bedrooms with 13 beds to seven bedrooms with 23 beds, while also making it wheelchair accessible with a lift on the porch and an ADA-compliant kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Building on Hope’s renovation allowed CCCNH to move its staff office to a separate location and to begin operations at its new Center for Survivor Support, an expansion plan CCCNH believed was years away from reality.

For more information on Building on Hope’s Nashua PAL project, visit