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Meet the board 

 
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Denyse Richter, Founder

Step Up Parents was born out of a desire to lend a hand. With a good friend now raising her granddaughter as a result of her own child’s long battle with substance use disorder, I felt a call to help.

Her story and other life experiences have brought me to this mission to help kinship caregivers and their children.

My greatest joy in life is my family. My husband and I raised three wonderful daughters in the beautiful Seacoast of New Hampshire. I was a stay at home mother and have worked with my husband in different business ventures over the years. With an interest in schools and education, I also served two terms on my local school board. In 1985, I graduated from Boston College with a degree in Marketing.

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KATHY TERRY, CO-FOUNDER

In 1996 my husband and I chose to make the NH Seacoast our home. We raised two beautiful children here and cannot imagine living anywhere else. As our children grew, so did my involvement in the community.

With an interest in education and our schools, I served as a classroom volunteer, PTA President and two years on our local school board. This is where I met the two amazing women who have brought me to this passion project. The first is raising her granddaughter as a result of her own child’s substance use disorder and has served as my inspiration to lend a helping hand to other everyday heroes such as herself. The second is the person who asked me to take this leap with her and make Step Up Parents a reality. Our friendship, our devotion to family and our mutual desire to help these selfless kinship caregivers has brought us all together once again in an effort to help these families as they navigate their new normal.

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STEPHEN MORRISSEY

Twenty-five years ago I chose to raise my family in Seacoast NH. My wife and I are blessed to have a blended family of four wonderful children and one grandchild. I graduated from Mass Maritime Academy, have a Masters in Business from Southern New Hampshire University.

I have worked in the nuclear industry for over thirty-two years. In that time, I have personally witnessed how devastating the loss of a loved one from substance use disorder can be on a family and saw how quickly my friends stepped up both emotionally and financially to care for their grandchildren. My wife works in law enforcement and shares with me that she is confronted with effects of the opioid crisis on almost a daily basis.

I believe this crisis is a direct threat to the quality of life in New England and in particular New Hampshire. We are at risk of losing a significant portion of a generation if this issue is not addressed as well as the risk of repeating the cycle if these opioid orphans are not properly cared for. For these reasons and many more I am happy to be involved with Step Up Parents.

I am thrilled to bring my experience to Step Up Parents. I have been involved in community service since I could walk thanks to the example set by my parents. I cannot wait to serve the families of New England through Step Up Parents.

A graduate of the University of New Haven with a degree in Criminal Justice, I studied at length the social and logistical implications of family displacement. I firmly believe that Step Up Parents will provide invaluable resources and opportunities to the families of New England and beyond.

Step Up Parents aligns with my personal and professional interest in helping young children grow into healthy, happy and productive adults. I began my professional life as an attorney and later earned my teaching credentials and master’s degree in education. I have been teaching in Montessori preschool classrooms on the Seacoast for the last fifteen years.

Two years ago, I became a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate), where I am able to utilize both my legal and teaching expertise to advocate for children in the Family Court system. Step Up Parents provides me with an additional opportunity to support children and the families who love and care for them.

As a mother, a teacher and a legal advocate, I have deep empathy and compassion for family and generational struggles surrounding mental health and substance misuse. The children who witness those struggles need strong and resilient caregivers and those caregivers need support. I am looking forward to being part of an organization whose purpose is to assist the relative caregivers who step up when it matters the most.