Nominate a Volunteer of the Month

Does your organization have an incredible volunteer? Nominate them to be a Volunteer of the Month with Green Mountain United Way!

Every month we feature a local volunteer at Green Mountain United Way or one of our agency partners to feature on our blog and an article in the Times Argus. Do you have a new volunteer who you appreciate, a long-time volunteer who deserves some recognition, an individual who has made an exceptional difference for the work your organization does?
GREAT! Nominate them here:

After we receive your nomination, we will contact your volunteer for an interview. Volunteer of the Month articles appear monthly in the Times Argus. Read about all of our past Volunteers of the Month here!

Thank you to you and to all of the incredible volunteers that make our community a better place!

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K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching – Intro to Financial Coaching Training

Financial coaching is an emerging practice that helps clients learn to set and achieve their financial goals.

Green Mountain United Way, in partnership with Capstone Community Action, presents Introduction to Financial Coaching. This interactive 4-day training is open to agency staff, volunteers, and peers and is a prerequisite to becoming a Financial Coach with Green Mountain United Way’s K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program. This program provides additional supports for coaches including one-on-one Master Coaching sessions, peer-to-peer support, and ongoing trainings by local and regional experts in finance and coaching practices, along with access to all course materials. This program builds individual coach’s skills while helping clients.

DATES: October 23-25, 2018 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm with a follow-up class on December 4, 2018 from
8:30 am to 4:30 pm All four training dates take place in Barre at Capstone Community Action.

Register Now

In this training, we will define financial coaching, provide financial capability content and demonstrate the benefits of using coaching in helping people to achieve financial success. This program uses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Your Money, Your Goals,” a comprehensive financial empowerment toolkit created for financial coaches, caseworkers, and other human service professionals in various roles to support the integration of financial education into their one-on-one work with clients.

Join us for a light breakfast at 8:15 am, and the training starts promptly at 8:30 am. Lunch will be provided. The $100 fee covers instruction, materials, and food for all four days of the course.

The Fall 2018 Cohort of Financial Coaches is limited to 25 people – we expect this cohort to fill, please register for Intro to Financial Coaching early if you would like to join this program. Participation in this training is required to become a K.E.E.P. Financial Coach. Other required elements of this program include:

  • Attendance at two additional topic-specific trainings (1/2 day or full day) during the training year (September – June)
  • Attendance at monthly peer coaches meetings
  • Participation in one-on-one sessions with the Master Coach
  • Use of the Financial Capability Scale for pre- and post-client session surveys with whom you do Financial Coaching work

At the end of day three of this training Financial Coaches will be eligible to attend all additional trainings offered. Please see the full description of our K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program and the complete list of trainings for the Fall 2018 Semester at www.gmunitedway.org/keep.

 

WHEN:
October 23-25, 2018
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Follow up class on December 4, 2018
8:30 am to 4:30 pm

WHERE:
Conference Room – 1st Floor
Capstone Community Action
20 Gable Place
Barre, Vermont 05641

Cost: $100 includes materials, light breakfast, and lunch for all four days of the training. Please pay by check to Green Mountain United Way, 73 Main Street #33, Montpelier, VT 05602 after you register using this link or the form below.

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ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS RELATED TO A DISABILITY AND SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS SHOULD BE MADE AT LEAST TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO THE EVENT BY CONTACTING BECKIE BLOUIN AT RBLOUIN@GMUNITEDWAY.ORG OR 802.613.3989.

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Fall Quarterly Volunteer Coordinator Meeting

Are you Volunteer Coordinator for your nonprofit or agency? Join us for a get-together to talk All-Things-Volunteers.

Over coffee and some light snacks, we’ll learn more about each other and brainstorm solutions to common volunteer management challenges. Bring your business cards, your most pressing volunteer questions, and be ready to learn.

Patricia Forest, Volunteer Coordinator for Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, will be our speaker this meeting and will give us a brief tour of the hospital. She will share with the group about how she recruits, trains, manages, and fosters positive ongoing relationships with hospital’s many volunteers and will be available for questions.

We are also gathering your ideas on how Green Mountain United Way can provide trainings, networking and other volunteer management support to help you and your organization thrive. Email your thoughts to Carrie and Beckie at volunteer@gmunitedway.org.

This meeting is open to all nonprofits in our five-county service area, whether you have worked with us or you are currently using our Volunteer Connection or not! Please share this with anyone you think might be interested!

RSVP Now

When:

Thursday, September 27, 2018 from 10am – 12pm

Where:
Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
1315 Hospital Drive, Room #127
St. Johnsbury, VT (there’s plenty of parking but we encourage carpools from Central VT and Orleans County!)

Topic for this Meeting:

Speaker and NVRH Volunteer Coordinator Patricia Forest followed by a discussion about how to train volunteers in your agency and their role.

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2018 Green Mountain United Way Golf Classic

UPS Green Mountain United Way Golf Classic

Friday, August 24, 2018

at the Country Club of Barre (18-hole course)

There is no better way to help your community than to have fun while doing it! At our Green Mountain United Way Annual Golf Classic, a beautiful day on the green makes you a partner in United Way’s fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in our five-county region including Caledonia, Essex, Orleans, Orange and Washington counties.

We are glad to have you on our team for this tournament and in our work to bring together individuals, businesses, government, human service agencies and volunteers around a common vision to create maximum impact and achieve long-lasting results. Your support helps foster children transition to a new home with a backpack of their own, helps families get the financial skills they need to make sure they have stable, healthy lives and helps low-income employees access the resources they need to thrive. Don’t miss your chance to join us! Sponsor or Register now!

Registration

Register for $100 per individual golfer or $400 per team of four

ALL Registrations Include: Greens Fees, Two Carts, Registration Gifts, and Dinner

Register Now


Course Description

Founded in 1924, the Country Club of Barre is considered one of the “must play” courses in central Vermont. Nestled in the rolling hills of Plainfield Vermont, the Country Club of Barre offers a unique and rewarding golf experience.

You will not only experience golf at its finest, you will enjoy scenic views of the beautiful Vermont landscape while you golf.

The course is designed with all players in mind, from the beginner to the experienced, from the high handicap to the low handicap, all levels of experience will find the course challenging and rewarding


Event Highlights

Format: 4 player scramble. The traditional format where all players tee off, the best shot is selected, and the process is repeated until a ball is holed. Every team must use at least three tee shots from each player.

Hospitality: Gifts for all golfers at tournament check-in, plus complimentary light snacks and bottled water out on the course from the refreshment cart.

50/50 Raffle: The total amount raised will be split between the winner and Green Mountain United Way to benefit their programs and ongoing work within the community.

Dinner: Immediately following the tournament the meal will begin featuring the world-class food from the Cornerstone Catering. A cash bar will also be available.

Prizes & Awards: Many prizes awarded for High Score, Longest Drive, Closest to Pin, Low Gross/Net and more.


Schedule

8:30 am On-site registration begins. Please be sure to arrive no later than 9:00 am to allow time to check-in and warm-up on the putting green and driving range.

9:45 am Welcome announcement from Sponsors, Country Club and Green Mountain United Way. Golfers then proceed to their designated holes for a 10:00 am shotgun start.

10:00 am Shotgun start.

2:00 pm(approximate) Dinner begins.

4:00 pm(approximate)  50/50 Raffle winner announced, followed by contest winner awards, and tournament low gross/low net winning team awards.

5:00 pm Event concludes


Thank you to our committed 2018 Sponsors! We are more than half way to our goal!

Sponsor now and join us in a wonderful day of golf all while helping our community thrive!

Gold Level Sponsors

Silver Level Sponsors

Prize Level Sponsors

 

Eagle Level Sponsors

Birdie Level Sponsors

Become a Sponsor!

Support Green Mountain United Way and have fun doing it! Click the drop-down to see the benefits of each sponsorship level. We work to support our entire community and so will your sponsorship dollars. To become a Corporate Sponsor, call Carrie at 802-613-3989 to find the right level for you, or simply download our 2018 Sponsorship Form and email it to Carrie Stahler at cstahler[at] gmunitedway.org.

Sponsorship Goal for 2018: $10,000

Prominent placement in all promotional materials, Speaking opportunity prior to event, 4 complimentary registrations for your staff, plus all other items offered at Eagle Level (except registrations)
Online logo placement on gmunitedway.org reg. page, Logo on Beverage Cart & Players Carts
4 complimentary registrations for your staff, Plus all other items offered at Eagle Level (except registrations)
One exclusive sponsorship offered at this level, Exclusive Speaking opportunity at Dinner, Online logo placement on gmunitedway.org reg. page, Logo on Beverage Cart & Players Carts
Social media recognition of your business
This sponsor level is to be “paid” with the in-kind contribution of golf prizes to be used as swag bags for participants, bag stuffers and raffle prizes. Imagine a small bag filled with golf balls, tees, and a golf towel all featuring your company’s logo! For further details, contact Carrie at cstahler (at) gmunitedway.org
Banner above clubhouse for duration of event, Logo on all players carts during event, 2 total complimentary registrations for your staff, Plus all offered below (except registrations)
We know some of you would love to just spend a day golfing with your crew for a good cause. For you, we’ve created a special sponsor level! You get Four (4) complimentary registrations for your staff and a tee sign on one green with your company’s logo
Social media recognition of your business, 1 complimentary registration for your staff, Plus all offered below
Recognition on Beverage Cart, Tee/Greens Sign on One Green
Tee sign on one green
Exclusive to ONE Sponsor, includes radio spots on both The Point and WDEV. Details here.

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Visit us at the Do Good Fest

Green Mountain United Way will be part of the Nonprofit Village at this year’s Do Good Fest at National Life on July 14. Join us and make a Literacy Kit for children who lack access to books. We will take all of the Literacy Kits created at the Do Good Fest and deliver them to children at summer meal sites – food insecurity and lack of access to books over the summer go hand-in-hand and we want to make sure that summer doesn’t mean that kids fall behind as readers!

If you LOVE crafting and helping others, volunteer with us and help all the attendees make Literacy Kits for children’s books!

Do Good Fest is a free, family-friendly event held on The Lawn at National Life Group. We encourage you to make a donation, either through purchasing a parking pass or VIP package. All sales will be donated to Branches of Hope, a cancer patient fund operated by Central Vermont Medical Center.

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Volunteer of the Month: Joni Verchereau for GMUW’s Tatum’s Totes

BERLIN — Joni Verchereau stands out in a crowd. Her presence is warm, open, and friendly.

As a member of the First Congregational Church of Berlin, she is responsible for coordinating the church’s monthly donations to Green Mountain United Way’s Tatum’s Totes partnership. Tatum’s Totes supplies foster kids with backpacks, clothing, water bottles and just about anything else you can fit into a backpack.

Some children are taken into the foster system with nothing more than a garbage bag with their clothes inside. The Tatum’s Totes backpacks provide items the kids desperately need and helps them transition into their new homes. Since July 2017, the congregation has collected supplies for more than 100 kids in Barre, Newport, and St. Johnsbury Department for Children and Families regions. In 2018 alone, Green Mountain United Way and Tatum’s Totes has provided more than 30 backpacks to children transitioning to emergency foster care.

As an X-ray technician at the local hospital, Verchereau says she sees the need all the time — children who have lost everything and may not know what is ahead of them. Verchereau sympathizes. She is a single mom whose son is now 21. She remembers when he was little, she wanted so badly to foster another child but wasn’t able to. “No child would choose this life,” she says.

Although she didn’t have the means to foster a child, Verchereau still wanted to give back. She started rescuing dogs. She gave back in other ways, too. She has been a member of the church for more than 20 years, assisting with outreach projects as they come through, and even teaching Sunday school. Her history with the church runs deep. She began attending as a teenager, moved away for 10 years, and then returned as an adult with a son and a flourishing career in health care.

It wasn’t an easy road for her, however.

Most people didn’t believe she was college material, but when Verchereau saw a new education program for X-raying, she thought she’d try it until she figured out what she really wanted to do with her life. The career track stuck. She loved the work and was good at it. She made straight As and graduated at the top of her class. After moving into X-ray technician work full-time, her “aha” moment came when she was first able to operate a CAT scan. She describes the experience as being like an actor finding their first big part in a television show; it was in that moment she knew this work was what she was meant to do. She’s been doing it ever since.

Verchereau still has lots of good work to do and attributes the generosity of the church to its very generous members. They always give more than is asked of them, she says. If United Way needs 100 gifts for kids, the congregation gathers 200. She’s proud of the dedication of her fellow church members, and proud of how their work shows children throughout the state they are cared for and loved.

“It gives them a little light at the end of the tunnel,” she says.

Tatum’s Totes is a partnership between Green Mountain United Way and Tatum’s Totes, an independent nonprofit in Rutland. Tatum’s Totes was created by Elizabeth and Alex Grimes to help children while honoring the memory of their son, Tatum, who died of SIDS. Tatum’s Totes works in partnership with local organizations and volunteers to serve foster children in all DCF regions in Vermont. Green Mountain United Way coordinates this work through the generosity of the community contributors like the members of the First Congregational Church of Berlin, through donations of items used to fill backpacks, and through the generosity of donors through the annual community campaign.

For more information or to support Green Mountain United Way’s Tatum’s Totes partnership, contact Pam Bailey at Green Mountain United Way by email at pbailey@gmunitedway.org or by phone at 802-613-3989.

The Volunteer of the Month is a feature compiled by the Green Mountain United Way, focusing on the contributions of local volunteers whose work benefits local nonprofit organizations in Green Mountain United Way’s service territory. This article was originally published in the Times Argus on June 22, 2018. To view all of our Volunteer of the Month articles, go to

To nominate a volunteer for Green Mountain United Way’s Volunteer of the Month, click here.

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United Way Day of Caring 2018

Green Mountain United Way teamed up with our partners at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and Northfield Savings Bank to hold a clean-up and green-up day on Heaton Street in Montpelier. We worked at nonprofit senior residence Heaton Woods doing landscaping work on their courtyard so that their elderly residents have a beautiful, safe, outdoor space to enjoy in the warmer months. We also painted the fence surrounding the area.
Across the street we worked on Washington County Mental Health’s Heaton Woods facility painting windows and their front columns, cleaning up around the property, trimming trees and finally planting perennials along the front walk and under their sign!
We can’t thank our crew enough for their hard work and for the support of Hunger Mountain Co-op and Shaw’s for providing food for lunch, as well as our fantastic Grill-Master Tim Barre, our volunteer from Northfield Savings Bank. Thanks to Bagitos in Montpelier for breakfast bagels!
United Way holds a Day of Caring each year. If your organization has a project that could be accomplished with 20-30 volunteers, please email volunteer @ gmunitedway.org with information about what the project involves. Carrie or Beckie will be in touch to talk about the possibility of holding a Day of Caring.

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Credit: Sharon Mccutcheon

K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching – Debt Management & Credit as an Asset

Please NOTE – This Course is open to current FINANCIAL COACHES ONLY. If you have not yet taken Intro to Financial Coaching you will not be able to attend this course.

Instructors: Pamela Bailey, Master Coach, Director Programs and Operations at Green Mountain United Way and Liz Scharf, Savings & Credit Program Coordinator, Community Economic Development at Capstone Community Action

Course Description

A training on the credit building model and why credit is an asset. Debt Management and Credit as an Asset will focus on:

  • Credit scoring models (FICO and Vantage), as well as how different issues affect the score
  • The value of credit reports as a credit education and credit building tool
  • Credit building products and how to assess if a client is ready for a product
  • General tips on how and when to dispute errors and deal with debt
  • Methods of measuring client outcomes

This highly interactive training will feature case studies, an actual credit report review, and group work. We will focus on how financial coaches and financial counselors can help clients manage derogatory consumer debt such as collections and judgments, discuss the rights and responsibilities of debtors and debt collectors, exempt income and assets, statutes and limitations on collections and judgments, common debt collection scams, the court process for judgments, and more. It is important that coaches and counselors not licensed to practice law do not practice legal advice, so we will also discuss the boundaries for practitioners offering assistance to clients.

Course Date

Thursday, June 19th, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Location

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
Business and Conference Center
1315 Hospital Drive
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

There is ample parking at NVRH. For details regarding parking use this link: https://nvrh.org/parking

Fee:

$25 registration fee which includes workshop materials and a lunch.

Current coaches will receive an email invitation to register for this class.

To pay by check please choose Pay by Check, Pay at the Door, or Pay by Invoice under the Payment Method drop-down menu on the Check Out page. Checks can be made payable to Green Mountain United Way, 73 Main Street #33, Montpelier, VT 05602.

If you have questions, please email events@gmunitedway.org and put Financial Coaching Class Registration Question in the subject line.

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Eating Healthy In The Summer

​VT’s Annual Count of Homelessness Shows Mixed Results


MONTPELIER, VT – 1,291 Vermonters were found to be literally homeless on a single night in January, an increase of 66 people, or 5%, compared to the 2017 one‐day count. The 2018 Point‐in‐Time (PIT) Count Report, released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, shows an overall increase in homelessness.

Read the full press release here

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl


May’s contact volume of 1,737 reflects the more financially manageable period that the warmer months provide for many here in Vermont. The annual increase in contact volume that the fall and winter months always bring, with requests for home heating assistance and emergency shelter, always taper off in May. For many Vermonters the summer season means time for catching up on overdo utility bills, making much needed vehicle repairs, and setting aside whatever they can in anticipation of another long cold winter. Although all Vermonters can well appreciate the relief and relative comfort that our summer weather brings, historically, contact volume will begin to climb again after just a brief lull.  The summer months can present their own, albeit less threatening, set of issues for many Vermont families with children. The day-to-day rhythm of the school year has been broken, and with “summer vacation” can come the need for additional child care and a well-stocked pantry.

Each year, the onset of summer brings with it the types of requests for information and referral that reflect a heightened anxiety about the typical day-to-day struggles that some Vermont families continue to face. This year’s May data already reveals that for the first five months of 2018 an average of 254 referrals a month were made to Public Assistance Programs like 3SquaresVT, Medicaid, and most frequently,  the State of Vermont’s General Assistance program, which primarily provides emergency assistance in the form of temporary housing for people who are experiencing homelessness. Throughout July and August Vermont’s community food pantries, free summer lunch programs for children, locally sponsored community meals, fresh food distribution programs, and community gardens will do their best to respond to the rise in demand for supplemental food support. Thankfully, many Vermonters understand the food insecurity that summer may bring to many of their neighbors’ households, and they are volunteering to positively impact as many lives as possible through their volunteer efforts of planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce to food pantries, meal sites, and local distribution points.

The numbers are in! Vermont’s participation in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was a huge success. Vermont 2-1-1’s contribution to the effort is noted by the sudden increase in Community Planning and Public Works. A total of 88 contacts were made to 2-1-1 (via phone, email, text) looking for programs that accept and safely dispose of unwanted or outdated medication. This was a thirty percent increase over 2017. Additionally, 541 searches were made in May on the Vermont 2-1-1 website for medication disposal. This represents forty-eight percent of the searches for the month of May.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly contact volume report here.

​Eating Healthy in the Summer


Who doesn’t like to get outside, explore, and enjoy the fresh air! In the month of June, the sun is shining and the temps are rising. In Vermont, a popular and well enjoyed outside activity is to explore the farmer’s markets all over the state. Farmer’s market offer an array of locally grown produce, farm goods, savory treats, fresh flowers and handmade crafts. Some farmer’s markets even offer activities for children and musical entertainment. Look here to find a farmer’s market near you.

Refreshing Summer Snack Recipe

STRAWBERRY CHIA WATERMELON SMOOTHIE (2 servings) 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (240 g) fresh watermelon, cubed (black seeds removed)
1 cup (120 g) frozen strawberries
1/2 ripe banana (50 g), previously peeled, chopped and frozen
1/2 – 3/4 cup (120-180 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk (DIY recipe)
1 lime, juiced (~30 ml)
1 Tbsp chia or hemp seeds (optional)

Instructions

1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth, adding more almond milk to thin, or more frozen strawberries or ice to thicken.

2. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lime for acidity, banana for sweetness, or watermelon for a more intense watermelon flavor.​ Serves 2 – top with additional chia seeds to mock watermelon seeds!

Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.[Serving size: 1 smoothie (1/2 of recipe) Calories: 182 Fat: 6.2g Saturated fat: 0.8g Carbohydrates: 30g Sugar: 14g Sodium: 48mg Fiber: 9g Protein: 5g]

(From the Minimalist Baker)

​Emergency Housing in Vermont


Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 156 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for May here.​


​Vermont 2-1-1 Web Statistics


In addition to the contact statistics, the following data is from the 2-1-1 website and shows how the public used the database search engine during the month of May:

Top Services: Medication Disposal (424 searches); Homeless Intake (formerly homeless motel vouchers) (167 searches); Pet Care Services (143 searches); Assistive Technology Equipment Loan (112 searches); Mental Health Evaluation (86 searches)

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO); Center for Restorative Justice; Vermont Department for Children and Families – Economic Services Division; Good Samaritan Network

Top Search by City: Lincoln; New Haven; Burlington; Bridport; Hancock

Total Site Visits: 6086

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1716

 

Welcome Nanci!


Nanci Gordon, the newest Outreach Specialist for Vermont 2-1-1 in Rutland and Bennington Counties, was most recently the Director of Development and Alumni Relations for College of St. Joseph in Rutland from which she graduated summa cum laude and still serves both as an adjunct instructor in Communications and the Vice President of the Alumni Association.

She is also a graduate of the New School Center for Media in Albany, NY — which launched her nearly thirty years in broadcasting, serving stations in Middlebury, VT and Glens Falls, NY, as well as in Rutland. Because of her passion and experience, she operates a small business — Nanci Gordon Media Services — which boasts its own new studio in Middlebury.

Nanci also has fifteen years’ experience in the non-profit sector — with Housing Trust of Rutland County, Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter, Community Care Network, Vermont Association of Business, Industry and Rehabilitation, and United Way of Rutland County.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month


Did you know…?

• Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in Vermont.

 More than 13,000 Vermonters are living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.

• 6.1 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of  dementia.

• Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia will have cost the nation $277 billion in 2018.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. There are 10 warning signs and symptoms.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning and solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

To find resources, search these Taxonomy Terms in the Vermont 2-1-1 database

Throughout June you will find Alzheimer’s Association — Vermont Chapter events happening across the state. Visit www.alz.org/vermont for information.

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Volunteer of the Month: Hanneke Holderbach from CVCOA

Hanneke is one of the volunteers who make the support given to seniors by the Central Vermont Council on Aging possible. Like the support she provides, Hanneke is humble and unassuming. But once she started talking about her visits with the seniors she volunteers with, she started to glow.

Hanneke is a recent transplant to Central Vermont from the Northwest. At first, she found the transition to her rural Vermont home isolating and she missed the bustle of a more urban area and the community she had left behind. To help overcome that sense of isolation, she began to look for ways that she could connect to the community here and use her skills and interests to help her build a new community in Central Vermont. That’s when she found the Central Vermont Council on Aging’s direct service volunteer program to help match community volunteers with seniors. Volunteers help seniors throughout Central Vermont by offering companionship to an older person, offering respite to caregivers, assisting with household chores, grocery shopping, organizing, and regular activities that help to elders stay in their homes and remain independent.

In her professional life Hanneke works as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and she already knew she loved working with older folks and seniors. Through her work she helps seniors become more independent in their daily routines like getting dressed and making meals, and increasing their strength and endurance to decrease fall risks all to help them live as independently as possible. She loves the part of her job that involves working directly with people to help them improve their lives, stay in their homes, and stay independent. It came as no surprise that she chose to help the seniors in her community achieve the same goals – stay in their homes, remain independent, and stay healthy – as her volunteer “job”.

Hanneke views her role as an extension of being a member of the community. Listening to her talk, I came to understand fully how she feels not only about her volunteer work but about her philosophy in general.

“I have the time to give, so why wouldn’t I volunteer to help others?” is the way that I can best paraphrase her response when I asked her “what motivates you to volunteer?”.

To Hanneke, it was a matter of course that she would give her time to help others and she seemed surprised that it was being celebrated as something unique – this is simply part of who Hanneke is and how she lives her life, both personally and professionally.

As a volunteer, she loves to help people outside, especially those who love to garden but may not be as able to do the heavy lifting required to keep a garden as they have in the past. Last summer she embarked on a project with one of the seniors she volunteers with. In the beginning, Hanneke was unsure how far they would get or how much they could accomplish. As they worked together preparing beds, plants and soil, she could see the woman she was working with light up and the more they did over the course of weeks, the more it seemed she could do! In the end, they planted tomatoes, built trellises from large sticks and stakes they harvested from the woods, watched those tomatoes grow, and harvested them together. Completing the cycle was both emotionally rewarding and delicious.

As she told me that story, I began to wonder who had received more joy from the process, Hanneke or the senior she was assisting? Hanneke truly demonstrates that fact that volunteers often get as much joy as they give!

CVCOA volunteers can help their older neighbors remain in their homes and connected to their communities by providing rides to appointments, assisting with grocery shopping, or other small tasks. Sometimes it’s as simple as a friendly visit. For more information, visit https://www.cvcoa.org/volunteering.html or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 476-0151.

The Volunteer of the Month is a feature compiled by the Green Mountain United Way, focusing on the contributions of local volunteers whose work benefits local nonprofit organizations in Green Mountain United Way’s service territory. This article was originally published in the Times Argus on May 30, 2018.

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Spring Day of Caring

Lend a hand as you follow your passion and use your skills by giving the gift of volunteering to your community!

Join us in making a difference in your community. Commit to the full day or half of the day, and bring a friend because volunteering is always more fun with friends!

Friday, June 8 from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

We offer two shifts, sign up for one or both to volunteer with us all day long!

  • Shift 1 is from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Shift 2 is from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Volunteer Now

We are looking for a sponsor for lunch, lunch break will happen from 12:00 pm until 12:30 and all volunteers are invited to join us for lunch.

Outdoor Clean-up at Heaton Woods

  • What does winter gardens and landscaping? A lot! The front courtyard is the place that Heaton Woods residents go to garden, enjoy the sunshine and spend time outdoors. It is easily accessible even for those in walkers or wheelchairs. But it needs some work after this snowy winter and last spring’s construction. We’ll be weeding, raking, trimming and cleaning up the landscaping and the resident’s garden beds.
  • Painting – last year’s construction left a few unpainted sections on their wheelchair ramp and other wooden outdoor areas, and a fence that needs a few coats of paint. Bring your painting clothes, we will supply the brushes, stirrers, and paint.
  • Parking lot sweeping – if time allows we will also help to sweep and tidy up the parking areas around the facility to make it safe and clean for residents and visitors.

Volunteer Now

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