A community leader emerges

Amanda Saye was still hauling boxes into her new home in Lamprey River Cooperative in Raymond when she was asked to join its board of directors.

The resident-owned community needed a treasurer, and Amanda had kept the books for her dad’s roofing business so, well, sure. But the 23-year-old stay-at-home mom, with a second baby on the way, had never been on a board of any Amanda Saye and her sontype. Heck, she wasn’t even sure what happened at meetings. Motions? Seconds? “It was intimidating at first,” she said. “I kinda sat there and didn’t say anything.”

Four years later, a confident Amanda had to chuckle as she described her former self as “a turtle who slowly peeked out once in a while.”

“I was a totally different person, from the outside to the inside. Very low confidence in anything I had to say, so I didn’t say much. Didn’t care what I looked like, didn’t care how people saw me …”

As a new board treasurer responsible for managing a budget, creating reports, and hundreds of financial details, Amanda got a lot of individual training and support from ROC-NH staff. The more she learned, the more she craved. So when ROC-NH’s Lynn Booth mentioned an upcoming grant-writing seminar, Amanda tagged along.

It was a revelation. “Before, I would hear about scholarships or grants and it was just like, ‘Nobody gets that …’ or ‘Oh the lucky ones.’ But then I was there and all these people were regular people and they were writing grants, so why couldn’t I?”

Soon afterward, she heard a radio ad for a beauty school that offered scholarships. She applied, got the scholarship and attended beauty school. Didn’t have to pay a penny. “It was all because I went to that seminar,” she says.

Since, she has attended ROC-NH’s Leadership Training and anticipated testing her grant-writing know-how on a co-op project.

“If I’d never gotten on the board, I never would have had these opportunities,” she says. “It just makes you keep thinking ahead, ahead … what else can I do now?”

This story was published in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund's 2009 Annual Report.