Green Mountain United Way Launches 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?

Nominate them by emailing Carrie Stahler at with the following information:

  • Your Name & contact information
  • Agency
  • Agency Mission
  • Volunteer’s Name, email, and phone number
  • A brief description of their contribution to the agency
  • Length of their volunteer work with the agency
  • A photo of your volunteer in action!


Jane Dillon,, 802-622-2262
Central Vermont Council on Aging
John Doe,, 802-222-2222
John helps our seniors stack wood every year, this year he stacked more than 200 cords!
He’s been working with us since 2001.

Carrie will contact your volunteer, interview them, and then let you and your volunteer know when the article will be published.

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

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Join us and the Northfield Promise Community for the latest showing of this ground-breaking film.

Tuesday, December 5
at Northfield Middle High School Auditorium
6:30PM – 8:00PM
FREE Admission and Open to the Public
Following the film will be a facilitated panel discussion.

Resilience chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators and communities, who are using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction, and disease.

“The child may not remember, but the body remembers.”

The original research was controversial, but the findings revealed the most important public health findings of a generation. RESILIENCE is a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a new movement to treat and prevent Toxic Stress. Now understood to be one of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and depression, extremely stressful experiences in childhood can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior. However, as experts and practitioners profiled in RESILIENCE are proving, what’s predictable is preventable. These physicians, educators, social workers, and communities are daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse, and neglect. And they’re using cutting edge science to help the next generation break the cycles of adversity and disease.

NEW DATE: May 24, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Montpelier High School.

 Watch the Trailer for Resilience:

Resilience Trailer – KPJR Films from KPJR FILMS LLC on Vimeo.

Interested in learning more about this important film?

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New Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines to Follow


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Health and Wellness Newsletter – November, 2017

Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines

New Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines to Follow

Our partners at the American Heart Association have shared new blood pressure treatment guidelines that will change the way high blood pressure is diagnosed and managed in America

They are now defining high blood pressure as a systolic measurement of 130 and higher, or a diastolic measure of 80 and higher. Previously the blood pressure definition was set at 140 and 90 respectively. By lowering the definition of high blood pressure, the guidelines recommend earlier intervention to prevent further increases in blood pressure and the complications of hypertension.

They also eliminated the “pre-hypertension” category for blood pressure ranging from 120 to 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic. The team of experts who wrote the guidelines determined that people needed to understand their increasing risk to take swift action.

High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking. It’s known as the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms, despite its role in significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.

The guidelines will replace the 2003 guidelines published by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health entrusted the AHA and ACC to produce the first comprehensive guideline update in 14 years.

The new guidelines also stress the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure. Blood pressure levels should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions.

You can find updated resources for patients at Clinical tools have also been updated on


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Working Bridges Lunch & Learns

Does your business struggle with employee retention, productivity, and advancement?

Is your HR team challenged by employees whose life issues impact their work-life?

Does your HR team struggle to keep up with employees’ changing needs?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes and your business has 25 or more employees, we invite you to join us to hear about how the innovative Working Bridges program and your local United Way can help you meet your business goals through employee support by bringing human service resources to the workplace. We welcome Human Resource professionals, managers, and directors to attend.

  • December 12, 2017, 12:00-1:30 pm at the NVDA Conference Room- 36 Eastern Ave, St Johnsbury, VT 05819 – Lunch & Learn and networking
  • December 14, 2017, 12:00-1:30 pm in Newport, VT (location TBD) – Lunch & Learn and networking

Register Now

This unique program has been available in Chittenden County for a decade and has been helping employers large and small to reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, and increase productivity and now it is available to businesses in Caledonia, Orleans, Essex, Orange and Washington Counties. Discover how this low-cost, high-value program can help your business succeed.

We’ll discuss how bringing existing community resources to employees can help them move from a crisis to a place of stability and increased productivity at work. We will demonstrate how the Income Advance Loans help employees avoid predatory lending and build credit, resulting in increased savings and assets. And we’ll talk about how the four employee-facing program elements work to increase retention at your business.

A light lunch will be served at both events. Please RSVP for the date and location of your choice. Space is limited. If you are unable to attend after you RSVP, please contact Carrie Stahler at Green Mountain United Way ( to open your seat up for someone else. More than one person from each business is welcome to attend.

This program is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through a partnership with the United Way Worldwide and is generously supported by NVDA and the Northen Border Regional Commission.

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Green Mountain United Way Launches Volunteer of the Month!

If you were to play a word association game, when you hear, “I have a background in engineering and business at a Fortune 500 company,” you might not think, “volunteer at the local mental health agency.” And if you did that, you would miss the incredible volunteer contributions Robert Harvey has made to our partners at Washington County Mental Health.

Harvey was recently recognized at WCMH’s 50th-anniversary celebration for his contribution to the organization over the past 17 years. His volunteer contribution on the board of directors there is a career in itself. He is the treasurer of the board, a role requiring an engineer’s meticulous attention to detail because of both the size of the organization — WCMH employs nearly 700 people in our region and serves many more community members — and also because the breadth of their funding sources and services.

Harvey is also on several volunteer committees at WCMH and regularly meets with the executive director, the director of finance, staff and management regarding health insurance benefits structure, financial performance, service delivery and staff workplace issues, and acts as a link to the board of directors. His enthusiasm for administrative and logistical topics is contagious and demonstrates the immense value of the volunteer work he does. It is also, likely, one of the reasons WCMH nominated him for Volunteer of the Month. His enthusiasm, focus, and attention to detail translates to a job well done: Harvey is not your average volunteer and he is just as dedicated to his work as someone hired for the job. His career prepared him well for his retirement volunteer “job.” As an engineer, his career contributions even include a part in the creation of the lunar module in 1967-68. He is an engineer at heart with the ability to focus on the details while keeping in mind the larger goal.

Harvey’s introduction to Washington County Mental Health’s services started when he and his family moved back to his wife’s home here in central Vermont after his retirement from that Fortune 500 company and decades as an engineer and businessman. His family’s move was not without challenges. His son is on the autistic spectrum and struggled with the changes of moving to a new, unfamiliar place. After his son had several crises, Harvey’s family was connected with WCMH to work with a case manager. He and his family were so grateful for the support and resources offered by the agency that helped their son transition into his new home. In particular, the case manager assigned to their son made a huge impact on Harvey. He described her effort as “really going the extra mile. She was so effective at getting our son into a support program and getting him everything she could to help him better transition into the community.”

It was she who suggested that Harvey consider joining the board of directors, so he wrote a letter and was invited to join. That was 17 years ago.

“Bob is an absolute gem. We just presented him with our Community Support Award for 17 years of dedication to our staff and clients through service on our Board of Directors as well as numerous committees. This is an award given for keeping the flames of hope and support alive. We are incredibly fortunate to have Bob on our team,” said Washington County Mental Health Executive Director Mary Moulton. When asked what the award means to him, he spoke about WCMH’s “staff and their commitment to the community. They live their work every day.” Harvey is proud that his volunteer contributions support the staff and the work the agency does, allowing more people to focus on the people in the community who they are helping. He said, “All the little details make the whole thing work.”

Harvey plans to continue to dig into all of the details at WCMH, and to continue to support the work they do, as well as honor their hard work by matching that with his effort as a volunteer. And after 17 years, he’s just getting started.

If you are interested in learning more about WCMH’swork, go to

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. For more information, or to nominate a volunteer, go to

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Last Minute Volunteer Request – Carrot Harvest!

Hi Friends,

We just received an urgent request from our friends at Community Harvest of Central Vermont. Tomorrow (Friday) from 9am – 10:30am and Saturday 9am – noon they have two-600 ft beds of carrots to harvest. 

This food feed those in our community who have limited access to healthy, fresh local food. These carrots will go directly to our local Central Vermont food shelves, senior meal programs and schools with free and reduced meal programs. Can your employees help? If you have a few employees who would like to help feed their neighbors on Friday or Saturday, or BOTH, please direct them to email Allison Levin to sign up and get the details about locations and recommended attire (it may be muddy):

They are invited to bring friends, relatives, anyone – this is a TON of carrots!

Thank you all for helping us get this last minute request out – I can attest to the fact that this is one of the BEST ways to help get nourishing food to our friends who need it while having fun!


Carrie Stahler / Director of Funding & Program Development / Green Mountain United Way 

Montpelier Office / 73 Main Street, #33, Montpelier, VT 05602 / tel: 802-613-3989

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. 

GIVE. | ADVOCATE. | VOLUNTEER. | LIVE UNITED   Find us on: Facebook | Twitter 

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The Word Gap


Vermont 2-1-1

Join  ASIST —
Become A Life Saver!

Vermont 2-1-1 is hosting an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshop on Wednesday, November 8th and Thursday, November 9th 2017.

ASIST is for caregivers who want to feel more comfortable, confident and competent in helping to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over one million caregivers have participated in this two-day, highly interactive, practical, practice-oriented workshop.

For more information on this training, please see our informational flyer or contact Cathy Nellis with questions.

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

This year’s “summer season” started late and lasted well into September!  This resulted in a calmer September in the 2-1-1 Contact Center, as reflected by the 1,861 contact total. Although phone lines may have been a bit quieter, September was a busy and exciting month at the contact center with the third year anniversary of Vermont 2-1-1’s participation in the Vermont Department of Health’s statewide Help Me Grow initiative!  Our Help Me Grow Specialized Information and Referral line is staffed by trained Child Development Specialists who are available to answer parent and caregiver questions about children’s behavioral and developmental needs. These specialists are providing families with tools to track development milestones and are connecting families to the appropriate resources in their communities. Parents, grandparents, service providers and doctor’s offices contacted the Help Me Grow line during its first year. Child Development Specialists responded to child development concerns and to parent and caregiver requests for help with meeting basic needs. Help Me Grow Child Development Specialists are available from 9:00am – 6:00pm Monday – Friday by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting option 6, or by texting HMGVT to 898211. You can also go to to learn more.

Statewide referrals to housing/shelter resources remind us of what is to come as the season changes and state parks come to close…Vermonters are beginning to prepare for the winter months. September continues the historical trend of a rise in the requests for referrals to housing resources.

September was also National Preparedness Month (NPM). NPM encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA’s Ready Campaign, the correlating public education outreach campaign, disseminates information to help the general public prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. We should all take action to prepare! Go to for more information. On October 21, Aaron Titus, author of How to Prepare for Everything: Empowering You to Face Disruption with Your Community and to Feel Good About the Future, will be presenting about his book in Montpelier. The first 25 registrants will receive an autographed copy of his book. For more information and to register, you can go to our website or Facebook page. You can also follow the link on the second page of this newsletter.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly contact volume report 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 September:

Top Services: Homeless Motel Vouchers (326 searches); Assistive Technology Equipment Loan (148 searches); Clothing Donation Programs (138 searches); Pet Care Services (121 searches); Christmas Programs (120 searches)

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Vermont Department for Children and Families – Economic Services Division; Vermont State Housing Authority; Champlain Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO); Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA)

Top Search by City: Burlington; Hancock; Brattleboro; New Haven; Saint Johnsbury

Total Site Visits: 4008

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1815

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 145 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 September here.

How to Prepare for Anything

Aaron Titus, Executive Director with Crisis Cleanup, is coming to Vermont to conduct a workshop to promote his latest book, How to Prepare for Anything, on Saturday, October 21, 2017, starting at 10:00 a.m.

Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VTVOAD), in conjunction with UpStreet Consulting, is proud to sponsor Aaron’s workshop to promote his new book. The event will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Montpelier Ward, 224 Hersey Road, Berlin, Vermont. This workshop will provide attendees a great opportunity to learn how to prepare for unexpected events and disasters, Please click here for more information and to register.

October Is LGBT History Month

October is LGBT History Month, which originated in the United States in 1994, celebrating the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender “Icons” every year. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured with a video, a biography, and other resources. Vermont’s own cartoonist/author Alison Bechdel has been among the 341 Icons featured over the years.

To view the list, go to the LGBT History Month website. Searching the Vermont 2-1-1 database under the following terms will get you to the agencies that specialize in LBGT issues:

Cultural Awareness/Competencies Training* Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Issues

Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Advocacy Groups

Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Community Centers

Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Support Groups

Suicide Prevention Hotlines* Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Individuals

The Word Gap

In the 1990’s, researchers conducted a study on the number of words spoken in households of children from poor, middle-class, and wealthy families. This landmark study discovered what we now call the word gap. They found that on average poor and low-income children were hearing about 616 words per hour, the average working-class child 1,251 words per hour, and affluent children 2,153 words per hour. According to NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), a recent study shows the word gap between children in different socioeconomic groups grows significantly from 18 months to 3 years. By the time children turn 4, children from high-income families are exposed to 30 million more words than children from low-income families.

The word gap shows us how poverty can influence the opportunities children have for learning. Language and literacy skills early in life predict future success in kindergarten and beyond. These skills aren’t just about learning words; they are also about communication and social interaction, which, in addition to improving their school readiness, builds a child’s social skills and supports healthy development.

Language and literacy skills begin at birth through everyday interactions, such as sharing books, telling stories, singing songs and talking to one another. Help Me Grow VT has resources for families looking to bolster their child’s language and literacy skills and help close the word gap with parent tip sheets and information on story times at local libraries and area playgroups. To contact a child development specialist at Help Me Grow VT, dial 2-1-1 ext. 6 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., or visit Help Me Grow VT’s website.


Vermont 2-1-1 · PO Box 111 · Essex Junction, VT 05453 · USA

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Mental Illness Awareness Week


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Health and Wellness Newsletter – October, 2017

Mental Illness Awareness Week

As you may have seen on our Facebook page, October 1st – 7th was Mental Illness Awareness Week. We work with our partners at Mental Health America and National Council on Aging to help educate and inform as many people as possible. While the first week of October has a special focus on mental illness, our goal is to be a resource for patients 365 days of the year.

Here are some important facts & tips to consider:

    • Did you know that 58% of older adults have had symptoms of depression that significantly impacted their lives? Visit to take a quick and confidential depression screening.


  • About 15% of adults aged 60+ struggle with mental illness. If you or a loved one have a diagnosis, FamilyWize can help you save an average of 51% on mental health prescriptions.


Proudly partnered with:




Quick Tips

Drug Price Lookup Tool



While at your doctor’s office, use the Drug Price Look-up Tool in the FamilyWize mobile app to see which pharmacy will have the lowest price for your prescription. Then ask your doctor to send your prescription to that pharmacy.

It’s that easy!



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United Way Kicks off Community Campaign with Breakfast in Barre

On September 21 Green Mountain United Way kicked off our Annual Community Campaign with a breakfast and heard keynote speaker Ted Brady, deputy director of the State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, talk about the ways that we can all work together to improve the communities throughout our region. This year’s Community Campaign will go to support the many agencies in our region doing wonderful work, as well as our own new and emerging programs, in particular K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching. This program is launching this fall and will work to train many front-line direct service providers in Financial Literacy and Individual Coaching in order to empower them and their clients to make changes relating to financial issues to change their lives for the better.

Read more about the Kickoff Event, K.E.E.P. and our plans for this year in this Times Argus’s article.

Check out the photos from the Kickoff Breakfast on Facebook or below.

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Dr. Mark Yorra’s gift is health care for all

When I spoke to Mark Yorra and asked him how he got started volunteering, I got a story I did not expect.

Dr. Yorra has been a primary care doctor in the Barre area since 1980, and has helped lots of patients over the years. But it was one special patient who helped him and our entire community in ways that are still unfolding through his work at the People’s Health & Wellness Clinic in Barre. The community’s only clinic for those without insurance, People’s Health & Wellness has been serving individuals since 2014. They have offered dental care, as well.

In the 1980s, Yorra saw that a lot of people in the community who did not have insurance were being left without care and without options. While he saw the problems and thought that everyone should have access to health care, he did not begin to see himself as part of the solution until a patient of his showed him exactly how he much he could do.

Anna Bloom, a Brooklyn native and longtime central Vermont resident who passed away in 2014, was an activist at heart. She would go to her appointments with Yorra and chastise him for not doing more.

“She motivated me to do something. She would sit there and say, “It’s a disgrace in a country this rich that people don’t have health care. How can you let this happen?” And that really impacted me.” Yorra recalled. “Anna said that enough times that I started to look for ways to do something to help those people in our community without health care.”

Eventually, Yorra found a group of like-minded people, including Edie Kent, Faeterri Silver, and other doctors at Central Vermont Hospital (now CVMC) who wanted to help those in the community who did not have health insurance and needed care. They got together to form the People’s Action for Health Care group, now People’s Health & Wellness Clinic, in the spring of 1993. Soon after the group formed they were offered space in the McFarland building in Barre to set up the first clinic.

In the beginning, they served people two evening sessions a week, Yorra acting as a volunteer on the clinical staff and on the board as a founder of the organization. He worked with his peers at the hospital to recruit doctors and nurses to volunteer at the clinic. “In those years I’m sure that half or more of the CVH staff helped in one way or another at the clinic,” Yorra said.

Yorra was busy in those early years getting the organization on solid footing, seeing patients, recruiting volunteer staff, and keeping the clinic stocked and running. “Administration is a role that I was least skilled at. I am much better and more interested in seeing patients and the clinical aspects of the organization. For me, it is about building relationships, helping people figure things out, working with the nurses to problem-solve. I’m about to retire from my practice, but I will continue to volunteer at People’s Health & Wellness Clinic.”

In reflecting on his experience as a volunteer over the past three decades, Yorra offered that, “Volunteering, no matter what you do, it gives back to you as much as it gives to the people you are helping. Being a positive, helpful force in the community is important, because what would our community be without that?”

The work of the People’s Health & Wellness Clinic continues to serve those in our community without insurance, and though access to insurance has increased, there are still those who do not have health or dental coverage. Their services are still much-needed and well used. If you are interested in learning more about their work, go to their website at

This United Way Volunteer of the Month, is compiled by the Green Mountain United Way and features local volunteers whose work benefits groups partner with or are supported by Green Mountain United Way. For more information, go to

Originally featured in the 10/10/2017 edition of the Times Argus, reprinted here with permission.

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