19 Grove St. ~ PO Box 58 ~ Peterborough, NH 03458 ~ 603-924-3235 

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Community Conversations: Disability and Our Community

October 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Disability and Our Community

The Monadnock Region, like most areas, struggles to integrate people with disabilities into our schools, our workplaces and our communities. Almost 20% of Americans experience a disability. People with disabilities experience the highest rates of poverty and sexual abuse, the poorest health outcomes, and the lowest rates of employment and high school graduation of any population in the U.S. This Community Conversation examines the ways our community responds to the challenges faced by people with disabilities. What are we doing right, and can we improve the way our institutions, companies and organizations work with individuals? What can we do locally to identify and change barriers to “the good life” for people who experience disabilities?

At this Conversation, we will hear from four “conversation sparkers” from the community: Kimberly Rizzo Saunders, Superintendent, ConVal School District; John Richards, Disability Professional and Brain Injury Survivor; Robert Gillis, Associate Director, Monadnock Worksource; and Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director, ABLE NH. The moderator for this conversation is Jeanne Dietsch.

Following the presentations, the floor is open for comments, questions, and conversation.

Disability and Our Community panel:

Kimberly Rizzo Saunders, Superintendent, ConVal School District– Kimberly Rizzo Saunders has been working as a New Hampshire educator for 22 years.  As a teacher and adjunct professor she has taught sixth grade through graduate students in classrooms from North Carolina to New Hampshire. Kimberly’s doctoral work has included the areas of curriculum, assessment, instruction, professional development, and leadership.  She is presently working on her dissertation, which focuses on how district leaders make decisions around professional development.  

John Richards– John Richards is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire who has worked in human services for over 30 years, including the Brain Injury Associations of New Hampshire and of America, Crotched Mountain Rehab Center and he was the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Disabilities.  His career took an unexpected turn in August 2000 when he sustained a cerebral cavernous malformation, more commonly known as a brain bleed. Consequently, he has been on both sides of the disability conversation, having worked to support people with brain injuries and other disabilities, and then to become a survivor himself.

Robert Gillis, Associate Director,  Monadnock Worksource– Robert “Rob” Gillis lives in Hancock, NH with his wife Noel and brings nearly 35 years of experience working with individuals who experience developmental and intellectual disabilities.  He has established deep connections with local businesses leaders, community members, therapists, school districts, and disability services vendor agencies throughout the Monadnock region.  Rob came to NH in 1984 to work with the Crotched Mountain Foundation where he stayed for over 20 years. He ran the Harrisville General Store from 2005-2009 before joining Monadnock Worksource in February of 2009 where he supported adults who experience disabilities. He was promoted to his current position of Associate Director at Monadnock Worksource in 2012. 

Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director, ABLE NH– Lisa Beaudoin, a trained cultural anthropologist, ran Herban Living Bed & Breakfast and Farm while raising her two sons in Temple, NH.  Upon witnessing the structural inequities of special education and other societal barriers people impacted by disability face, Lisa completed the NH Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities graduate program at UNH to join state and national disability professionals working toward systems level change.  She is Executive Director of ABLE NH and serves as chair of the federally mandated NH State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students with Disabilities.

Community Conversations are free and all are welcome!

Community Conversations is a series that explores many of the issues impacting our communities. A partnership between the Monadnock Center for History and Culture and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, each Conversation features local experts talking about challenges faced by our communities. Some issues are global in nature, but each conversation is designed to examine the topic from a local perspective. The program provides residents with the opportunity to learn more about issues impacting their communities, to engage in a civil dialog with speakers and with each other, and to come away with a sense that there are things that individuals and communities can do to foster change and improvement. 

Community Conversations begin at 7 p.m. These programs are held in Bass Hall at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, 19 Grove St., in Peterborough.


The Monadnock Center is proud to partner with the Monadnock Ledger Transcript to present Community Conversations!

Community Conversations are generously sponsored by

Additional support for Community Conversations is provided by



October 9
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Bass Hall: Monadnock Center for History and Culture
19 Grove St
Peterborough, NH 03458 United States
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