Force of Nature


“Haven Magic” is the collective power of community

When former Executive Director Sara Kobylenski came to the Haven in 2009, “staff and volunteers assured me of an invisible force called ‘Haven Magic.’ Puzzled but polite, I accepted the words and joined in the work. It was not long, though, before I understood that there is indeed something quite real in those two words.”

Barbara Henzel, the Haven’s former resource coordinator, explains the concept like this. “I call it the ‘woo woo factor.’ Mary Feeney calls it ‘faith in God.’ Others call it ‘Haven magic’… I remember a December day when we were running out of spaghetti sauce and peanut butter. We expected a lot of people and it was snowing outside. I was getting on my gear to go buy food when a donor came in with five cases of peanut butter and 100 jars of spaghetti sauce. I hadn’t told a soul we were low!

“Haven Magic is the power of an engaged community,” Kobylenski observesIt is the ‘will’ that led the founders to organize the Haven 40 years ago and the energy of two more generations keeping the Haven ‘morphing’ in response to the ways poverty and human need present themselves at any moment in time. It is the faith and trust that community members have had that some will come to bring their hands and heads to work and that others will bring their hearts and resources to join them. It is a living, dynamic force, beyond any single individual and beyond the usual definition of an organization. …If people choose to see the Haven as an organization rather than the manifestation of shared values, the Magic would disappear.”

As the Haven enters its fifth decade of service to the Upper Valley, we rely on the community’s ongoing investment in respect and well-being for all, with hands, heads, hearts, and resources to continue to make the Haven Magic happen. 

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