Young volunteers show their community spirit

Christine Hochkeppel/Cape Cod Times

The secret to finding and nurturing youth volunteers may have been on the wall of a conference room Wednesday at the Cape and Islands annual Philanthropy Day conference. Read more.

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From victim to ‘strong survivor’

Every time Gabriela Rowland tells her story, her voice catches at the same point.

The line is one she used in court, when she gave a victim-impact statement before her abuser was sentenced to six years in jail. It’s one that she used at a domestic violence rally in April, at a memorial service for Jennifer Martel in August and at a candlelight vigil for domestic violence victims earlier this month.

More than any part of her story, the part that gets her is the one that most precisely sums up her life since she endured a week of abuse at the hands of her then-boyfriend, Justin Mustafa.

“I was once a victim,” she says. “Now I’m a strong survivor.”  Read more.

Cape nonprofit agencies rebounding from the recession

Marcella Hennigan, 6, of Dennis, far left, practices fifth position with other elementary ballet classmates at Cape Cod Conservatory. The conservatory's recent merger with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra has been mutually beneficial. Cape Cod Times/Christine Hochkeppel

Nonprofits on Cape Cod and across the country didn’t have the luxury of closing their doors during the worst of the recession. They were too busy providing health care, shelter and food to those whose livelihoods were suffering.

But as they survived, they suffered. They lost donations, their investments dipped in the stock market and many were forced to cut back on their programs or cut their staffsRead more.

Rustic Penikese Island offers refuge for troubled teens

In the midmorning of a cool and sunny September day, Noah, a 17-year-old Virginia native, is losing badly at Scrabble while camped out at a picnic table in the kitchen.

Clad in a fleece pullover, pajama pants and a pair of Crocs, he could fit into a scene from any home in America. But the cooking here is done by wood-burning stove. At night, the building is lit by kerosene lanterns. Much of the produce is from the garden outside, and the fish come from the cove.

Noah is one of two residents on Penikese Island, which for years has been the rustic backdrop for teenage boys getting control of their lives. Formerly a school, it’s now a treatment center where boys age 14 to 17 with mental health conditions and burgeoning substance abuse problems can get focus and clarity in a therapeutic setting. Read more.

Exosuit aids WHOI scientists explore Greek shipwreck

Yes, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is taking the first archaeological expedition in 40 years to explore an ancient Greek shipwreck. Yes, it promises to be the most exhaustive examination of the famous site ever done. And yes, the last person to officially visit the site was Jacques Cousteau.

But all anyone wants to talk about is the exosuit. Read more.

‘It’s my duty to speak up, to save the next person’

When Gabriela Rowland started dating him, he was full of grace and charm. He was the best man she’d ever meet, he told her, and he would always treat her right.

For nearly two years, despite some stormy times and a few short-term breakups, she believed that held true. He peppered her with rosy predictions for their future, which included children playing in a house with a big yard.

But at the end of June 2013, things went quickly, horribly downhill. Read more.