Connecting with People Is Her Forte

Nellia article 

Published in the Monadnock Ledger Transcript on April 25, 2013. 

By Jeannette Nieder, Manager of Intern and Volunteer Services

As the manager of intern and volunteer services at Crotched Mountain Foundation I have the pleasure of working with incredible people from across the state who give freely of their time, talents and interests to work directly with our clients and in many behind-the-scenes capacities. So often, volunteers can brighten a client’s day and that has an incredible impact. Nellia Hickerson, who volunteers in our hospital, is one such person. When she walks through the door, she lights up the room for patients and staff alike.

Nellia is a resident of Wilton and a junior in the nursing program at St. Anselm’s College. She came to us in 2009 as part of a volunteer program through Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative High School. She began by reading to a patient at our hospital. She took the initiative to learn about this patient’s individual interests and found books and stories that would appeal to him. She came every week, quickly completing the requirements of her program… and then she just kept coming! Today – nearly four years later – she continues to read to patients and assist them with indoor gardening, board games and discussing current events.

At Crotched Mountain, we believe that building relationships is vital to the healing process, and Nellia has the innate ability to connect with everyone – even people who cannot communicate verbally. A wonderful thing about Nellia is that when she spends time with a patient she focuses on that person completely. Their interests become her interests. She is observant and makes a real connection with everyone she meets. In fact, the parents of one patient who is non-verbal always called us after Nellia has visited their son because they love to hear the details of the time they spent together. As she gets closer to earning her nursing degree, Nellia’s commitment to Crotched Mountain and the people she cares about hasn’t wavered. Even with college finals on the horizon she makes time, often shifting her schedule to meet her school commitments, to volunteer every week because she wants to be here. Nellia initially came here to volunteer for a short time. But like so many of our volunteers, she never stopped coming. We are incredibly grateful that even when Nellia’s requirement for school ended, her commitment to the people she befriended didn’t.

Jeannette Nieder is the manager of intern and volunteer services at Crotched Mountain Foundation. Nellia Hickerson is one of over 100 volunteers who make a difference by giving of their time and talents within our school, hospital, accessible recreation programs and administration. To learn more, contact Jeannette at 603.547.3311, ext. 1486, or by visiting


Above photo: Nellia Hickerson of Wilton, NH (center) enjoys a game of bingo with two patients at Crotched Mountain Specialty Hospital, Dorothy Sullivan of Concord, NH (left) and Geralynn Mullen of Hudson, NH (right).

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