Growing up in New Hampshire, Sarah Cohen learned from her parents the importance of contributing to her community. Today, as a massage therapist, Cohen continues that family tradition.
She has donated to Bridges New Hampshire, the Boys’ & Girls’ Club, New Hampshire Public Television and Autism Speaks, among other organizations—but it’s her new charitable project that she hopes will make a real difference.
Beginning March 1 and running through National Volunteer Week on April 25, Cohen will offer free or reduced massage sessions to volunteers and employees of nonprofit organizations.
Cohen’s Helping Our Helpers program rewards those people by discounting $10 off every hour-long session, for every 10 hours volunteered or 15 hours worked for a nonprofit. The benefits are cumulative, up to $30 off per hour.
Cohen says she was inspired to create the program by President Barack Obama. “I watched President Obama when he kicked off his ‘Renew America Together’ initiative in January,” she says, “His message is that every individual can make a difference, that we have a responsibility to make a difference. And that’s something that rang very true for me.
“Normally, I’ll donate chair massage services at an event, or gift certificates for a fund-raising auction, but those donations go to help raise funds for the organization,” she added. “While I’m not going to stop doing that, I really wanted to come up with a way to thank the volunteers and nonprofit employees directly.”
As of mid-April, Cohen told MASSAGE Magazine, she had booked 53 clients through the Helping Our Helpers program and fielded about 40 additional phone calls looking for more information.