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New Hampshire Children’s Trust Announces Three New Board Members January, 2023

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

Karen Kersting, Patricia Robitaille, and Christine Tappan are the new appointees, and all will serve three-year terms. “Karen, Pat, and Christine bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Children’s Trust Board and will play a crucial role in advancing our mission to create safe, stable, and nurturing environments for children across New Hampshire,” says Cliff Simmonds, Executive Director of the Trust. “Their expertise and commitment will help guide our efforts to strengthen families and build resilient communities so all children thrive.”

Karen Kersting has been the Executive Director of UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Goffstown since 1998, where she has paired her love of horses with a desire to partner with them to improve the lives of children and families through equine-assisted services and therapies. A former Vice President in Cash Management at Citizens Bank, Karen brings her skills in financial analysis, product development, and project management to the organization. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Emerson College with a BA in Theater Education, Karen enjoys singing and can often be found performing throughout New England with her band Karen Morgan and Pony Express. Karen previously served on the Board of the New Hampshire Court Juvenile Diversion Network, is the former co-chair of the PATH International Center Advancement Committee, and sits on the Granite United Way Youth Enrichment Partnership Team.

Pat Robitaille graduated from Rivier University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, obtaining her CPA license in 1991. She brings over 30 years of accounting experience with a wide range of industry knowledge. Starting a career with a regional CPA firm as an auditor gave her experience in all business areas, but she realized quickly that she enjoyed working in the non-profit sector. In 2009, until retirement in 2020, she was hired as CFO of a large local non-profit that specializes in housing, healthcare, and supportive services for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness and/or living with behavioral health disorders. Pat remains active as a retiree by consulting with small non-profits and enjoys spending time with her two daughters and six grandchildren.

Christine Tappan specializes in applying progressive practice, program, policy, strategy, and financial expertise across the health and human services spectrum. She brings 25-plus years of experience working in the public, social, and for-profit sectors, as well as primary and higher education, both in the United States and internationally. Throughout her career, she’s focused on building partnerships that use data and analytics to drive collaboration and integrate transformational change at key intersections of the social determinants of health, including early childhood, economic mobility, housing, behavioral health, child welfare, and juvenile justice. Currently, Christine is the Chief of Strategy and External Affairs with Ascentria Care Alliance a 150-year-old New England-based non-profit that empowers people of all backgrounds to rise together and reach beyond life’s challenges. Previously, Christine served as the Associate Commissioner of NH DHHS overseeing all human services and behavioral health services including those supporting and strengthening children, families, and communities across the state. Christine is also the founder and lead guide for BirchWalking, a social impact organization that “brings beings together in nature and creates safe spaces to deepen connections that promote resiliency and capacity for all to thrive and live well”. Christine has a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire. She also holds a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Education & Leadership from Plymouth State University and is a Certified Forest and Nature Therapy Guide and Trail Consultant through the Association for Nature and Forest Therapists (ANFT). Christine is also certified as a Workplace Mindfulness Facilitator (CWMF) through the Mindful Leader Institute, Brown University.

New Hampshire Children’s Trust ensures parents have easy access to high-quality resources and support to help children develop the skills they need to thrive. We educate direct-service professionals, advocate for better policies to support parents, and connect with local agencies to strengthen families and lay the foundation for children's success. The mission of NHCT is to lead the drive to ensure safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for children by educating, advocating, and collaborating.

For more information about New Hampshire Children’s Trust call 603-224-1279 or visit



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