Board of Directors
Derry Friendship Center Board:
Carol Bowden graduated from Notre Dame High School in Cambridge Mass and went on to Cosmetology School and has worked in the field for the past 40 plus years Carol is involved in continuing education in that field. She attended the School for Life Long Learning, finishing several semesters in adult education, including management and psychology.
She has owned her own Business in downtown Derry for the past 23 years, and is a contributing member of the Greater Derry, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, and is on the Downtown Economic Development Committee as well.
She has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Derry Friendship Center for the past 8 years, and continues to bring her expertise and passion to serve as such.
John Sweeney graduated from Wentworth Institute with a degree in Electronic Engineering and Daniel Webster College BS in Management Information Technology.
“Most of my career was spent as a high functioning Alcoholic in Science, Engineering and IT Projects. But each time the bottom got lower and lower and I found my way into the Derry Friendship Center and it changed my life.”
Prior to retirement John worked for the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services at the State of NH as a Project Manager/Systems Analyst. He coordinated all NH State data on Treatment programs reported to the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
John is a CCAR Certified Recovery Coach and has also had their Ethics training. While volunteering for HOPE of NH he was part of a Federal funded program to provide Recovery Coach services to specific groups of people that had substance abuse, those coming out of the criminal justice system, multiple DWIs, and Veterans. While at HOPE John was the Recovery Coach Director where he coached clients provided by the State as well as the Recovery Coaches. John enjoys art, photography, running and riding motorcycle.
Leah is a New Hampshire native and has lived in Derry for 10+ years. She is passionate about community service, helping others and believes in leading an active and healthy lifestyle. This includes supporting the recovery community.
Leah began her involvement with the Derry Friendship Center in 2017 as a volunteer planning the annual fundraising event. The DFC has helped people near and dear to her and so supporting this community is important. She has been on the board since 2019.
Leah is a Vice President at ALKU, a specialized staffing company in Andover, MA. Leah is also an active board member for the Derry Homegrown Farm & Artisan Market. She lives with her husband and two children, loves CrossFit, food and taking walks in the woods with their dogs.
The first “third” of my life was spent as a student and teacher of French and Spanish. I earned a BS and MS in French literature and loved my years living in France.
I got sober in 1994 and realized a truer calling, which led me to be honest about who I am and what I was called to do.
So I entered my second “third,” which included more studying and ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ. I earned an M. Div., and later a D. Min. in preaching. I’ve been a pastor for more than 20 years. I am currently the Senior Pastor and Teacher at my fourth church, First Parish Congregational Church, UCC in East Derry.
And I am entering my third “third” of life in this physical form, I’ve become increasingly open to the myriad of ways that Spirit dips and digs into our physicality. Mindfulness techniques and various meditations are life-giving and spirit-opening. I found the labyrinth and sought training through Veriditas, and am now a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator. I have hosted dozens of walks on a variety of labyrinths – indoors and outdoors. One gift of the pandemic was learning how “walking” the labyrinth can be done without ever walking! All of my walking led me to realizing a life-long dream of writing a book, which is now in its editing phase! So exciting! I love co-creating and providing opportunities for people to come together to share stories of their faith journeys.
None of this would be possible without my sobriety. I give thanks every day for Alcoholics Anonymous and for the people I’ve met through this life-saving, life-giving program.
Karla first became involved with the DFC administration in 2012. She is a Graduate of Quincy College with a degree in Computer Science and has worked in Peer-to-Peer Support for organization’s that focus on behavior change for over 30 years.
Karla is a Certified Recovery Support Worker (CRSW) and comes from a family with a history of substance use disorders. She is passionate about changing people’s perception of addiction and giving back to the community to promote recovery.