Our Board

Nancy Vawter
Nancy lives in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and business partner, Brian.  Her son, Nathaniel, who has Down Syndrome, has been involved with Friends in Action since its inception in 2000.  Nancy was one of the founding members of the organization and believes passionately in it’s work and mission.  Nancy has a degree in Tele-Communcations from the University of Georgia and she and her husband own Atlantic Media Productions where they work on various videos ranging from feature length documentaries to not-for-profit videos.

Gail Brown

Lives in North Hampton, NH with her husband, son, and daughter Chelsea who has Down Syndrome. She graduated from Bay Path College in 1976 with an Associate of Science degree and Rivier College in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation, she began a teaching career in 1978 and taught at the high school level through 1985. Her last position was teaching Business Education at Dover High School from 1981 through the 1985 school year. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Child Development Center in Rochester, NH. She actively volunteered at the North Hampton Elementary School from 1992 through 2002, serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for three years and Fundraising Coordinator for two years. She enjoys skiing, golfing, and the beach. Gail has been a Friends in Action Board Member 2009.

Paul Butler

Paul has been a Friends Project Board Member since 2009. His son enjoys Friends in Action activities, especially Bowling Club and Friday Night Socials. Paul is on the Family Support Advisory Board and is the President of the Hampstead Challenger Little League Baseball Team. Paul is a Special Education Building Coordinator in Newton, NH, at Sanborn Regional Middle school.

Nancy Clayburgh

Nancy graduated from Emmanuel College and received a Masters Degree from Boston University in 1980. She moved to Portsmouth in 1986. Nancy is married with three children. Her son Michael has been enjoying Friends in Action since it began. Nancy has the honor of being the Assistant Mayor of Portsmouth. She has been on the City Council for three years and before that was on the School Board for eight years, four as the Vice Chair. While her children were enrolled in the public school system, she was an active volunteer in the PTA and other fundraising efforts to benefit the schools. Nancy has served on numerous Boards including the Seacoast Y, Prescott Park Arts Festival, and the Portsmouth Hospital Guild. Nancy is also a Board member of One Sky Community Development. Nancy has been a Friends Project Board Member since 2000.

Maryann Daly

Maryann has been on the Friends Board since 2008. Her developmentally delayed son loves Friends in Action and all the activities he participates in with the group. He has been active in the group since his freshman year in high school. Maryann graduated from Boston College and spent 12 years working in publishing as a Compensation Manager in the personnel department. Since she stopped working, Maryann has been very involved in volunteer work. She was on the North Hampton School PAL (PTA) board for eight years spending five of those as Treasurer. She was on the school’s Enrichment Committee for four years and spent 12 years as a classroom volunteer in various capacities. Maryann spent six years on the Abenaqui CC Women’s Golf league Board. She currently serves on Abenaqui’s Social and House Committees and is a past member of the Nominating Committee.

Justin Finn

Justin is originally from Portsmouth, NH and comes to Friends In Action with the perspective of giving back through community volunteerism. As well as serving on the Friends In Action board, he is also a member of the Portsmouth Rotary club and sits on the Salvation Army advisory board. Justin is an investment adviser representative for an investment firm in downtown Portsmouth, NH.

R.J. Lincoln

R.J. lives in Rye, NH with his wife, Britt and their 2 daughters, Alex and Adrienne.  He has been the Director of Sales of a local company, Connecting Point Marketing Group, Inc. for the last 8 years. R.J. is a past member of the Rye Lions and also a past member of the Rye, NH Budget Committee.   R.J. was first introduced to Friends in Action in 2006 and fell in love with the program and what it does to help teens and young adults with developmental disabilities.  He is excited to work with Friends in Action and help grow the number of programs and accessible activities that are available to teens and young adults.

Laurie Melanson

Laurie participated in the development of Friends in Action. She has been a Student Academic Service Teacher at Portsmouth High School since 1984. She has her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Geneseo State College, New York, and her Masters in Education from Lesley University, Massachusetts. Laurie was originally hired to teach in a self-contained classroom with students on the autism spectrum. This progressed into the development of a more inclusive educational model over the next few years. Being involved with Special Olympics, she realized that there needed to be more social opportunities for students with varying abilities and brainstormed with parents and other professionals about what could be done to foster relationships and social opportunities; thus Friends in Action was born.

Mary Pappas

Mary has been a Critical Care Nurse at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital since 1988. She has been a Friends Project Board Member since 2007. Her daughter enjoys many of the programs. Mary is Board President of Seacoast Friends in Action and is the Assistant Secretary for Marshwood Football Boosters. She is VP of Marshwood Baseball Boosters, Exec VP/Tournament Director Marshwood Youth Baseball, a Committee Member/Webmaster for Horizons Critical Care Nursing Symposium, Medical Co-Captain for the Pumpkin Man Triathlon and Co-Captain for the USTA Ladies Tennis Team.

Nancy Splaine

Nancy graduated from University of New Hampshire in 1981 with a Bachelors Degree in Communications. Today, Nancy has an Events business that hosts executive forums in the Retail and Hospitality markets. She and her husband Arthur have two wonderful daughters; Kelsey, who participants in Friends in Action, and Colby, a student at Portsmouth High School. Nancy joined the Board in 2006.


Barbara Archilbald

Barbara has lived in Rye, NH since 2010, when her husband retired.  Barbara raised her three sons, moving 7 times, while her husband worked for a large chemical company.  She has been involved in many different PTA’s, while serving as room mother, hospitality chair and helping in any way she could. Barbara has volunteered at a battered women’s shelter for 3 years and a food cupboard for 6 years.  She has been on the board of The Seacoast Newcomers since 2012.  Barbara has been involved with Friends in Action for five years, both with the annual fundraising and by hosting a whiffle ball game tournament each summer


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