VSECU and The Drawing Board Support Foster Children with Back-to-School Drives

VSECU, the credit union for all Vermonters recently held a back-to-school drive to support children Vermont’s foster care system and donated over $800 worth of back-to-school supplies. Items included backpacks, notebooks, binders and paper, folders, pencils, and water bottles and were distributed through Tatum’s Totes coordinated by Green Mountain United Way in partnership with the Department for Children and Families Barre and St. Johnsbury districts. This generous donation is part of VSECU’s commitment to give back to the local community.

“When I heard there was an opportunity to support children in foster care with something as simple as back-to-school supplies, I knew the team at VSECU could make a difference for these kids. Children in foster care can sometimes feel unseen and unheard by our community. Doing a drive like this gives us the chance to show these kids that their community does care deeply about them,” offered Ann Hodgdon, employee and back-to-school drive organizer at VSECU.

The Drawing Board, Montpelier’s local Art Supply and Framing Store, recently donated $1000 worth of art supplies to Green Mountain United Way. Items included markers, paints, sketch pads, origami kits, drawing pencils, and coloring books and will be distributed through Tatum’s Totes coordinated by Green Mountain United Way in the Barre, St. Johnsbury, and Newport Department for Children and Families districts. This generous donation is part of The Drawing Board’s commitment to give back to the local community.

“Growing up, art was something that helped me discover who I was. I imagine that these children, like many of us, need an outlet for creativity and a positive way to express themselves. If we can help give these children an opportunity to have a creative break, to enjoy making their own art, or coloring a picture to help relieve the stress they are experiencing, I’m so happy to be a small part of that positive experience for these kids,” said Drawing Board owner Liz Walsh.

Tatum’s Totes is a program that provides backpacks to children transitioning into foster care. Tatum’s Totes was founded by Liz and Alex Grimes when they began fostering children after their son Tatum died of SIDS at 5 months old. They found an independent organization to honor Tatum’s memory and to serve children in their home area of Rutland County after they realized that many foster children enter their new homes with little more than a plastic shopping bag with a few personal items. Green Mountain United Way brought Tatum’s Totes to the Barre and Newport DCF districts in 2016 and took over coordination of the St. Johnsbury DCF region 2017. Children entering foster care are given a backpack of their own filled with age-appropriate, caring items including blankets, books, toys, toothbrushes, and other hygiene items, games, a water bottle, school supplies, and art supplies.

“VSECU & the Drawing Board both embody the Vermont ethic of taking care of the community that takes care of you,” said Carrie Stahler, Director of Community Engagement at Green Mountain United Way. “These items will help children in foster care be able to go back to school with the items they need and help foster families, who generously open their homes to children in the community. It is always our goal to show children in foster care that their community loves, supports, and values them. The support of companies like VSECU and The Drawing Board demonstrates that so clearly.”

In the past 12 months, Green Mountain United Way has supported over 74 children entering foster care. For a complete list of items to support Tatum’s Totes, go to www.gmunitedway.org/tatumstotes.

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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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Introducing our NEW Volunteer Connection!


We’ve just launched our new Volunteer Connection and are working harder than ever to connect volunteers with their passion to help our community!



Hello,

In the past few weeks we have launched our brand NEW Volunteer Connection platform through our website! Check it out to learn more about the many volunteer opportunities in our communities and find a way to give back that engages your passion and helps your community! There are tons of incredible ways to help, so take a look at our nonprofit partners, the new opportunities, and some of the incredible events that these organizations put on to help them accomplish their mission! This is the best and easiest way to be part of the change that makes our communities thrive!
And, TODAY is Vermont Gives Day! This is the perfect time to support us or your favorite Vermont nonprofit organizations. Check out more about VT Gives Day or donate now

In gratitude,
Carrie Stahler

Director of Funding and Program Development

Green Mountain United Way Updates & Events

 

United Way Day of Caring 2018 
Join us to help clean-up, paint, and landscape at Heaton Woods Senior Residence in Montpelier. There are just a few spots left – Learn more or Register for Day of Caring Now!
 

Congratulations to our NEW K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches!
On May 2 our second class of Financial Coaches completed Intro to Financial Coaching and they are now working with clients in the community. We congratulate each of them for their hard work and thank them for joining us to improve the financial stability of our communities! Read more…

 

Diaper Drive, Saturday, May 19 at The Family Center of Washington County

Did you know that 1 in 3 Vermont families struggle with diaper needs? Support families in the community by dropping off diapers between May 7 – 20.

  • Diaper drop-boxes can be found at Montpelier Shaw’s, Berlin Shaw’s, and at the Green Mountain Transit Office (6088 VT Route 12).
  • If you are unable to donate at these locations, consider a one-time or recurring donation on-line at: fcwcvt.org/donate/
  • Stop by The Family Center of Washington County on Saturday, May 19 to drop off your diapers and enjoy the Family Flea Market!

Nonprofit Partners: Join us for our Quarterly Volunter Coordinator Meeting on Wednesday, May 23 in Barre – RSVP Now!

We are holding a series of quarterly meetings to help share best practices for volunteerism, resources, and encourage networking among volunteer coordinators in our communities. Meetings will alternate between Central VT and the Northeast Kingdom. Please RSVP if you are able to attend.

Community Updates

 

14th Annual Golf Classic
Registration Now Open!

Come golf with us at the Barre Country Club on Friday, August 24 from 10:00am – 5:00 pm. Registration includes cart, meal, and greens fees! Register Now!
Or, consider sponsoring and get complimentary registrations with certain sponsorship levels!

 

Vermont Gives Day 2018 is May 17
All Day TODAY, until midnight tonight, you can support your favorite nonprofit organizations as part of Vermont Gives. Green Mountain United Way is hoping to raise $1000 for our K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program to help more families get financial knowledge and support they need to thrive! Learn more about VT Gives here or donate now!

Upcoming Courses for Financial Coaches

 

Advanced Financial Coaching

June 7, 2018 from 8am – 4pm at Capstone Community Action. Find the details and Register now.

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.

 

Debt Management &
Credit as an Asset

June 19, 2018 from 9am – 4pm at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. Find the details and Register now.

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.

The Community Campaign closes in June, help us hit our goal of $500,000!
We are so close and need your help to make our goal! Help those in your community and make a lasting impact in health, education, and financial stability!

 

Copyright © 2018 Green Mountain United Way, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

Green Mountain United Way

73 Main Street, #33

Montpelier, VT 05602

Phone: 802-613-3989


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March is National Nutrition Month®

 

Vermont 2-1-1

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl


February 11, 2018 marked Vermont 2-1-1’s 13th Anniversary, and the entire 2-1-1 team would like to take this occasion to express its sincere appreciation for the United Ways of Vermont’s continued commitment to the Vermont 2-1-1 program! Over the past thirteen years, our delivery of professional information and referral services to Vermonters has grown in strength, expanded in scope, and increased in reputation, in large part due to the steadfast support of each of Vermont’s local United Way agencies! Our direct response service has been provided to over 444,961 callers and our online resource directory has assisted many more!

The beginning of our fourteenth year is prefaced by the over 11,000 requests for assistance that have come in during the first two months of 2018 5,402 of which were made in February. This means our 2-1-1 contact center averaged 193 incoming calls per day.

Each year more and more Vermonters are calling Vermont 2-1-1 to find out where they can receive free income tax preparation services. In February, referrals to Tax Organizations and Services totaled 992, showing the largest increase in contact numbers over January than any other sub-category.  All Vermonters can dial 2-1-1 to get accurate information about local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and MyFreeTaxes sites closest to them.  Individuals who live or work in Windham, Southern Windsor, and Chittenden Counties, have been able to dial 2-1-1 to get transferred directly to a tax scheduler for appointments. Contact Specialists also provide information about income eligibility guidelines to callers requesting this free service.

This winter has been milder than normal, on average, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall. This, in combination with the State of Vermont’s investment in local community shelter initiatives, may well account for the slight decrease in the number of housing/shelter referrals thus far this year. Crucial to Vermont’s ability to house so many of its most vulnerable population during the winter season is the longstanding commitment of local, volunteer-run emergency warming shelters throughout the state. In the first two months of 2018, a total of 204 callers were referred to alternate shelter (other than motel voucher) during Vermont 2-1-1’s contracted after-hours emergency housing response time.

In the sub-category of Mental Health Assessment and Treatment provision of hotline numbers ranked high. More than half of contact referrals were to Domestic Violence Hotlines, and the remainder of the referrals were to Mental Health Hotlines, including Suicide Prevention Hotlines, Gender Identity Counseling Programs and Runaway/Homeless Youth Helplines.  Vermont 2-1-1 not only responds directly to suicide calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline during week days, but our contact specialists also make finding appropriate shelters and resources less difficult for individuals who find themselves in extremely stressful situations.

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


Temper Tantrums


We’ve all seen it: crying, screaming, kicking, throwing things and (the sometimes dramatic) collapsing onto the floor. It’s a tantrum. They don’t happen because a child is spoiled or a parent isn’t good at their job; it’s actually a normal part of child development.

Temper tantrums or meltdowns are common for both boys and girls from the ages of 1-3 years and they are how young children express anger and frustration. They happen most often when a child is tired, hungry, overwhelmed or they can’t get something/someone to do what they want. Tantrums are most common during a point in a child’s development when they are starting to develop language skills. Children this age have big feelings and ideas but not always the words to express them. They are also starting to explore their independence and how to control their environment – they want to do things for themselves, which sometimes is harder than they think. The good news is, as their language skills grow and they gain skills to handle and express emotions the tantrums decrease.  When possible, preventing a tantrum is often the best strategy for dealing with them.  Here are a few tips:

1. Get in the habit of catching your child being good; give praise and attention for positive behavior.

2. Offer minor choices that give them some control, such as “Would you like a banana or an orange for snack?” Remember to keep options limited and simple.

3. Use distraction. Young children have short attention spans; try a change in environment or activity to avoid a meltdown.

4. When a tantrum is brewing, don’t respond with your own frustration and anger. Staying calm helps to teach your child how to calm down.

5. Know when your child has reached their limit. If they need a nap, a snack or quiet time, take care of their needs first instead of trying to get one more errand done.

6. Practice naming emotions and feelings with your child.

7. Have a schedule. Transitioning from one activity to another can be difficult for young children. Consistency and knowing what to expect and when to expect it helps.

8. After a tantrum and once your child is calm, offer praise for calming down and assurance that they are loved.

For more information on child development and parenting tips and resources, contact Help Me Grow VT.


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 February:

Top Services: Homeless Intake (formerly homeless motel vouchers) (253 searches); Community Meals (149 searches); Pet Care Services (134 searches); Assistive Technology Equipment Loan (109 searches); Dental Care (92 searches)

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Champlain Valley Office for Economic Opportunity (CVOEO); Vermont Department for Children and Families – Economic Services Division; Capstone Community Action; Good Samaritan Network

Top Search by City: Burlington; Bennington; Essex Junction; Hancock; New Haven

Total Site Visits: 4043

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1592


Don’t Forget to Support Your Local United Way!


Each year we see United Way volunteers and staff put on their campaign hats and venture out to raise money for the organization. Your local United Way is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in your local communities by addressing critical human needs in the critical cornerstone areas of education, financial stability, and health. By bringing people and organizations together around innovative solutions, our local United Ways impact thousands of lives every year. These collaborative, community-based, community-led solutions advance the common good and strive to create a good quality of life for all. The United Way delivers the solutions needed to drive change, but the change starts with each of us. Together we are stronger!

As a program of the United Ways of Vermont, Vermont 2-1-1 asks you to join us in living united! Your contributions will be working year-round building a brighter future for our children, enriching the lives of our elderly, giving hope to those who are hurting, strengthening families, and so much more.

Please join us in helping to build a better future! Thank you.


March is National Nutrition Month®


National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. On their website, you will find articles and videos specifically geared toward parents, seniors, kids, men, and women. Articles include tips on reducing “plate waste,” ensuring men’s bone health, and safe sources of Omega-3 fats for pregnant women.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a colorful and interactive website that contains a vast amount of helpful information about nutrition for kids, teens, college students, adults, families, and professionals. Included are tools and resources such as videos, songs, and activity sheets on a MyPlate Kids’ Place page, MyPlate Quizzes for teens, Resources for Healthy Eating on a Budget, and MyPlate Message Toolkit for Professionals.

Vermont 2-1-1’s database contains a large variety of food and nutrition-related resources for Vermonters of all ages. In general, you can search on the terms Food, Nutrition, or Meals. Some of the specific terms you will find are:

In addition, primary care providers in Vermont offer General Health Education Programs, which include nutrition information and resources. The Vermont Department of Health periodically runs nutrition education campaigns, and the VDH district offices and website have tons of information and often run healthier eating seminars and workshops. And did you know that Medicaid pays for three consultations with a licensed nutritionist?

Remember – you can dial 2-1-1 to reach one of our Information & Referral Specialists who will help you find health, community, government, and human services resources you need, including for nutrition, 24 hours a day 365 days a year.


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 578 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 February here.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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New Financial Coaching Class, United Way Day at the Wayside, and More!

 


Spring has sprung – don’t miss Financial Coaching classes, United Way Day at the Wayside and much more!



Hello,

Although February is nearly over, it feels like Spring, so what better time to launch right into our Spring updates! Check out the information below to learn more about our Spring 2018 Financial Coaching offerings – nonprofit staff and volunteers are eligible to join our second cohort of Financial Coaches now! Also for our nonprofit partners, we’re launching a BRAND NEW Volunteer Connection platform, and you have three chances to join us for a training.
And for those in Central Vermont, we have the best excuse you never needed to get to the Wayside Restaurant, Bakery and Creamery for a meal – United Way Day on March 27

In gratitude,
Carrie Stahler

Director of Funding and Program Development

Green Mountain United Way Events

 

K.E.E.P. FINANCIAL COACHING 
Could your staff or client-facing volunteers improve their work by knowing more about financial literacy and individual coaching? Of course – finances are the taboo topic that impacts nearly every individual’s life and there is so much to learn! Join the second cohort of K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches and gain the knowledge needed to help your clients (and even yourself)! Learn more…

  • Intro to Financial Coaching: March 29 – 29 and May 2 at NVDA in St. Johnsbury REGISTER NOW
 

UNITED WAY DAY AT THE WAYSIDE
March 27th – all day long!

We know that no one needs an excuse to eat at the Wayside Restaurant, Bakery, and Creamery on the Barre-Montpelier Road, so mark your calendar and join us for a meal to celebrate The Wayside’s 100th Anniversary & United Way’s commitment to the community!
Come for breakfast, lunch or dinner – a generous portion of the proceeds from the Entire Day’s Sales will go to support the community through the work of Green Mountain United Way, so invite all of your friends & family!
NEW VOLUNTEER CONNECTION PLATFORM COMING SOON!

Green Mountain United Way is getting ready launch a NEW Volunteer Connection platform for an easier and more effective way to match your volunteer needs to the right volunteers who are passionate about your cause to effect positive change right here in our communities! Join us for an introductory training to learn more! RSVP to save your spot at one of the three regional trainings: 

  • Central Vermont Volunteer Connection Training – Tuesday, March 13 from 8:30 am – 10:00 am at the Community National Bank Community Room, Barre
  • St. Johnsbury Volunteer Connection Training – Wednesday, March 21 from 9:30 am – 11:00 am at the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, 36 Eastern Ave in St. Johnsbury
  • Newport Volunteer Connection Training – Wednesday, March 28 from 9:30 am – 11:00 am at CCV, 100 Main Street, Suite 150 in Newport.

Email Beckie Blouin (rblouin@gmunitedway.org) at Green Mountain United Way to register.

Nonprofit Partners: VtSHARES Applications are Available
Applications for New and Renewaing Nonprofits who want to participate in the 2018 VtSHARES Campaign are now available. If you would like an application, please email Beckie at vtshares@gmunitedway.org.

Volunteer Opportunities in our Communities

Check out our most current Volunteer Opportunities in your area and give the Gift of Time this year!

Community Updates

 

GOLF CLASSIC REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Green Mountain United Way’s Annual Golf Classic will be happening this year no Friday, August 24 with a new earlier start time of 10:00am. Join us for a day on the green to support your community! Registration is now open online, or by downloading our paper registration form, and we’re seeking sponsors at all levels, including our new Team and Prize level sponsors! Join us!

 

NORTHFIELD PROMISE COMMUNITY UPDATE:
SPRING BRINGS PLAYGROUNDS!

The Northfield Promise Community has identified two locations for new playgrounds as part of the Northfield Promise Community’s efforts to enhance school readiness in children ages 0-5. Green Mountain United Way will be supporting the building of these play spaces at the Northfield Public Libray and the Falls Rec. area with a Day of Caring in June. Stay tuned for more information!

Join Community Campaign and help us reach our goal of $500,000 TODAY!
Help those in your community and make a lasting impact in health, education, and financial stability!

 

Copyright © 2018 Green Mountain United Way, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Green Mountain United Way

73 Main Street, #33

Montpelier, VT 05602

Phone: 802-613-3989


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January Volunteer of the Month: Making a Difference for Parents in Central Vermont

By Chelsea Catherine, Green Mountain United Way volunteer

Sheila McLean, United Way’s Volunteer of the Month, is a woman who radiates warmth and kindness. It’s clear from the moment I meet her, seated at a table in a restaurant in downtown Montpelier, that the welcoming presence she emits is part of what makes her an excellent volunteer. Sheila volunteers for Good Beginnings of Central VT, which provides free resources and support for expectant parents and families with new babies.

Since 2012, Sheila has volunteered with the program for two to three hours once a week, visiting the homes of new parents and assisting them with a variety of tasks. Most often, Sheila helps take care of the newborn while the new mom catches up on household tasks, takes a nap, or allows herself a brief break to relax. Sometimes she reads or plays with an older sibling, so the new mom can focus on her infant. Her volunteer work constantly changes to fit the needs of her clients. Her support even helped one new mom complete her school work at the local community college, enabling her to graduate! For some moms, the hours Sheila provides are the only respite they get throughout the week.

Working with infants comes naturally to Sheila. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Sheila became an RN at a diploma school in Montreal, where she worked side by side with doctors and nurses every day. After moving to Vermont with her husband, she began a twenty-five-year stint on staff at the Women and Children’s Unit at CVMC. For the past five years, she’s worked per diem. This is when she began volunteering, spending time at the Benefit Shop in Barre, and with a knitting group at the hospital where she makes prayer shawls to help comfort terminal patients and their families.

Sheila loves the work she does with Good Beginnings, and it’s clear from the excitement in her voice that the work is deeply rewarding to her. She says the biggest thing she’s learned from volunteering there with Good Beginnings is how hard some new moms have to work to make ends meet. “It was a wake-up call,” she says. She realized how much she has to be thankful for, and how many people really struggle in Central Vermont.

Part of her longevity as a volunteer comes from the amazing support she gets from the staff at Good Beginnings. Along with praise and consistent encouragement from the program coordinator, Good Beginnings also holds monthly “purple coffee hours” where volunteers can sit down and talk about the challenges and successes they’ve faced, while seeking advice from each other and staff. Sheila also receives lots of reinforcement from the moms. “I know after two hours, I’ve made a real difference in that mom’s life.” Truly, having support from a trained professional after having a new baby can mean a world of difference.

Good Beginnings commits to helping families at many levels. With a mission to, “bring community to families and their babies,” the organization provides any families expecting an infant with much needed respite service. Their primary Postpartum Angel service matches families with community volunteers who provide respite, companionship, and community connections during the postpartum period. Other Good Beginnings services include free early parenting workshops, a parent drop-in space with peer support groups, reduced-price baby carriers, and baby wearing support for new parents, a financial assistance fund for families in crisis, and the In Loving Arms cuddling program for vulnerable newborns at the UVM Health Network-CVMC Campus.

The medical profession runs in Sheila’s family. One of her daughters is a nurse and the other is a physical therapist. She says her years working as a nurse have greatly informed her volunteer work. She was even introduced to the Good Beginnings program by the founder and President of the program while at the hospital!

With over twenty percent of children being born to single mothers, the work of Good Beginnings volunteers is crucial to providing mothers with the support they need through the first twelve weeks of their children’s lives. Green Mountain United Way is proud to support the work of Good Beginnings and is incredibly proud to name Sheila as their Volunteer of the Month this January.

For more information on the work of Good Beginnings of Central Vermont visit http://www.goodbeginningscentralvt.org/ and to find out more about the work Green Mountain Untied way supports in the community, visit  http://www.gmunitedway.org/.

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Take Advantage of Free Filing This Tax Season

Gladys understands the importance of making wise financial decisions. For years, she has helped countless people create a strong financial foundation as a financial coach. In 2016, she decided to help herself. She filed her taxes through MyFreeTaxes™.

It all started with a dental issue. Gladys, the 30-year-old manager of the Guadalupe Centers Financial Opportunity Center in Kansas City, Missouri, needed to visit a dentist, but she couldn’t afford it.

“I was going to do what most individuals do: File my taxes and put off going to the dentist,” said Gladys. “But then I heard from my employer about MyFreeTaxes, and that night I logged on.”

MyFreeTaxes is filing software powered by H&R Block, a United Way partner. It is a free, safe and easy way for individuals earning less than $66,000 to file their state and federal taxes. Gladys admits she was skeptical about the service at first, but she warmed up to the idea.

“It’s that old thing of it’s just too good to be true, but then I read about the benefits,” said Gladys, who was able to file her taxes within 30 minutes. “I was shocked at how easy and user-friendly the process was. With the money I saved, I was able to visit the dentist.”

As the only free, online, national tax-filing product offered by a nonprofit, MyFreeTaxes has helped nearly one million individuals like Gladys receive their maximum refunds by claiming all eligible tax credits—like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC)—saving users $180 million in filing fees. Since 2009, MyFreeTaxes has brought more than $1 billion in refunds back to communities.

How does it work? Simply upload a photo of your W-2 and MyFreeTaxes will automatically fill in your information. Most filers complete their taxes in under an hour. The filing software guarantees that all tax returns are 100 percent accurate, and that the filer receives their biggest refund. Users can:

  • File their federal taxes—and up to three state returns—for free.
  • Utilize error checkers, online chats to navigate the process, and Refund Reveal™ to understand how and why the refund amount is changing.
  • Access the software from their computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Get free customer support from IRS-certified specialists from MyFreeTaxes.com.

Are you ready to file your 2017 taxes? Visit MyFreeTaxes today to complete your tax return. The IRS begins accepting electronic returns on January 29, and H&R Block will automatically submit your return when e-filing opens. Please note that as part of the PATH Act, tax refunds claiming the EITC and CTC will be held until February 15. Filers claiming those credits should expect to receive their refund no earlier than February 27.

Have questions about how tax reform might affect you? Read this helpful article. While you’re filing your taxes, call our free helpline at 1-855-My-TX-Help to be connected to an IRS-certified specialist who can answer your tax filing questions. If you prefer to file your taxes in person this year, visit a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in your community. You can also contact 2-1-1 for additional tax support services.

Originally posted by Laura Scherler, January 25, 2018

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Setting Goals For A Healthier 2018!

 

Happy New Year!

As 2018 dawns, we are happy to provide a newsletter full of tips to help your colleagues and clients stick to their resolutions and work toward a healthier lifestyle.

One way to encourage healthy behaviors is through 3-4-50. We have tip sheets and sign-on sheets for worksites, schools, early childhood programs, communities and new this month, faith communities. Consider bringing the 3-4-50 message to the organizations you are close to, and ask them to sign on. Your Office of Local Health can assist, by meeting with your organization and explaining how 3-4-50 can work for them and people they reach.

To date we have over 40 organizations signed on to 3-4-50. Join them in working toward a healthier Vermont.

 

 

Setting Goals for a Healthier

2018!

It seems that each January brings a flood of well-intended resolutions. “This year, I am going to lose weight.” “This year I’m going to exercise more.” It’s no surprise that gym attendance and health related Google searches spike in the month of January and then rapidly decline. Let’s face it, there‘s nothing like an indulgent season of holiday food and drink accompanied by a hearty dose of stress to fuel the desire to make a change for health’s sake. In that sense, January is a great time to start down the road toward better health. The challenge becomes, how do we help our clients and staff implement lifestyle changes that are sustainable and might actually lead to better health? More…
Worksite Wellness Conference Banner

2018 Worksite Wellness Conference

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018, DoubleTree by Hilton in Burlington, VT (formerly the Sheraton)

Registration for the 2018 Worksite Wellness Conference is open! The conference will take place on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Burlington, VT (previously the Sheraton). We invite you to join hundreds of Vermont business owners, human resources professionals and wellness experts to learn strategies and best practices in worksite wellness, share your experiences and expand your professional network. This year we will have a keynote speaker from the leading worksite wellness organization WELCOA, twelve breakout session options, presentation of the 2018 Worksite Wellness Awards and an all new Ask-the-Expert session! We are also pleased to announce that we are now an approved re-certification provider for the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®). Register before March 1st, 2018 to get an early bird rate.

Looking to start a worksite wellness initiative or integrate new strategies for 2018? Check out our website for tips and tools on getting started with a comprehensive worksite wellness program and recommended wellness strategies. You can also find sample policies, templates and other resources to help you develop or expand your program.
Group of children walking and rolling to school in the winter.

Winter Walk to School Day
February 7, 2018

Children spend a large part of their day at school, and it is important for them to have ample opportunities for physical activity while they are there. It’s also important to consider out of school time and active transportation, like walking and biking to and from school. Winter has arrived, but that doesn’t mean an end to children walking to school. With the right preparation, walking to school in the winter can be fun. This is Vermont after all, the land of cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and fat biking – so why not consider hosting a Walk (and Bike) to School Day celebration in the middle of the winter? Dig out your hats and gloves, organize your volunteers and get stepping for Winter Walk to School Day 


SMART Goals at School
New Year’s resolutions are in full effect and this month’s newsletter is all about setting goals. Goals are not just for individuals though, schools across Vermont are actively working on addressing goals through their Local School Wellness Policies.
Setting goals does require some thought about your school’s vision for a culture of wellness. Consider setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. The SMART criteria help ensure that the goals are within reason and attainable. A detailed, well-stated goal has the best chance of being achieved. It provides direction for schools and supervisory unions in meeting health and wellness objectives. Check out the Vermont Wellness Policy Implementation Tool to help organize your School Wellness Policy Goals.
Winter hiking.
Get Active and Eat Well Throughout the Winter Months

 

January is when many people decide to make changes to be healthier, yet winter in Vermont can be a very challenging time to be physically active and to eat healthy. Here are free or low cost ways to help people stick to those resolutions this time of year. Share these with partners, on social media sites, or in newsletters. Make the information specific to your local resources with dates, times and directions to locations. Consider offering informal events or outings for the community to encourage people to take advantage of what is available: family skating, fort building, winter walks in the woods, (healthy) winter soup or chili contest! More…

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Tax Filling Season Is Here!

Vermont 2-1-1

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl


Another very busy December has come to a close with contact specialists responding to 5,795 calls.This one month total is only 100 calls shy of the total call volume for the entire third quarter of 2017 and is a twenty-five percent increase in calls over the month of November. The onset of winter traditionally begins a busier time of year for the 2-1-1 Contact Center, and this trend is reflected, once again, in this month’s report. The types of requests for information and referral represent the heightened day-to-day struggles that some Vermont families annually face during the cold weather season. The annual upward trend of requests for shelter from the cold and financial assistance with utility costs were in full swing as we closed out 2017.

Year-end totals show that Information and Referral Specialists provided direct personal responses to 28,948 calls in 2017. During those same twelve months, Vermont 2-1-1 received close to 34,351 visitors to our website. In addition, 9,895 calls were received from Vermonters inquiring specifically about the State’s Emergency Housing Adverse Weather Conditions (formerly known as the Cold Weather Exception), periods when temperatures drop and the General Assistance Emergency Housing rules are relaxed in order to keep our most vulnerable warm and dry on the coldest Vermont winter nights.

This winter, there were nine cold weather shelters in place to help respond to the increased need and two extreme cold weather emergency shelters opened for the first time over the last weekend in 2017, providing  additional shelter space in Rutland and Burlington where motel vacancies were scarce and requests for motel vouchers continued to rise due to sub-zero temperatures. The collaborative efforts of state and non-profit organizations in response to winter housing emergencies exemplify successful system coordination, and our collective efforts on many fronts will continue to improve the health and well-being of every member of our Vermont communities. Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral Specialists made more referrals to housing/shelter related resources in 2017 than in any other year.

Referrals to public assistance programs peaked in December. The majority of the referrals were to General Relief, an income maintenance program administered and funded by the State of Vermont that provides basic financial assistance for individuals and families to meet their emergency basic needs.

In 2018, Vermont 2-1-1 will continue to fulfill its founding mission of connecting all people in Vermont to the agencies, organizations, services, and resources that provide the help they need. Our Information and Referral Specialists, trained to respond with compassion, are answering calls 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. As always, the Vermont 2-1-1 database is available at vermont211.org. Look for a new and improved way to search for resources coming in 2018!

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

Supporting Baby’s Brain Development


Did you know when a baby cries or babbles and the adult caring for them consistently responds with eye contact, words, appropriate facial expression and touch, they are helping to build the baby’s brain? It’s called serve and return, and these everyday back-and-forth interactions are essential experiences that affect a baby’s development.

Infants and young children reach out for social interaction by “serving” an attempt at attention, (like babbling). When caregivers “return” consistently in a direct and meaningful way (like eye contact and smiling), they provide an environment for the baby’s healthy emotional, social and cognitive development. These interactions help to build what is called “brain architecture”; they help to create neural connections in the brain.  These interactions become more complex as the child grows and they begin to use serve and return with adults to develop language and literacy skills.

On the other hand, if a caregiver’s responses are unreliable, inappropriate or absent, this disrupts the brain’s development and how the child processes information.  The negative effects can include an increased risk for emotional, behavioral and cognitive disorders. It can also alter the brain’s stress response system, creating greater risk of developing anxiety, depression and other chronic health problems. A breakdown in serve and return interaction is often due to the caregiver experiencing significant stresses, such as financial problems, chronic health and/or mental health issues and a lack of supportive social connections.

Genes and experiences play a part in the developing brain, and input from a child’s senses is the foundation the brain depends on. These serve and return interactions set the stage by providing positive stimulation and social interaction and reduce stress when the baby knows their need will be met. Building these neural pathways affects different areas of growth in the brain at a time when a child’s brain is experiencing the biggest amount of development. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second in the first few years of a child’s life.

Help Me Grow VT Child Development Specialists can help you learn ways to support your child’s development and find community resources to support your family in stressful times. Visit our website or contact a Child Development Specialist by dialing 2-1-1 ext. 6 or by texting HMGVT to 898211.


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 877 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 December 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 December:

Top Services: Holiday Gifts/Toys (569 searches); Christmas Programs (409 searches); Homeless Motel Vouchers (380 searches); Community Meals (153 searches); Clothing Donation Programs (148 searches)

Top Agencies: United Way of Northwest Vermont; Salvation Army (Rutland); Salvation (Burlington); Chances for Christmas; Vermont Department for Children and Families – Economic Services Division

Top Search by City: Burlington; Hancock; Brattleboro; New Haven; East Fairfield

Total Site Visits: 5126

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 2069


Tax Filling Season Is Here!


Vermont 2-1-1 partners with our local United Ways, many Community Action Agencies, and private non-profits to help connect Vermonters to free tax preparation across the state. Individuals must meet income eligibility guidelines to access the services offered by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which serves thousands of Vermonters annually, but there are resources for everyone in the 2-1-1 database.

Whether you need information about Vermont Renters Rebate, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Federal IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers in VT, or where to find online tax preparation programs, simply dial 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898211, or search our database using the following terms:


Winter Warm Up Concerns


From Department of Public Safety – Division of Fire Safety

The National Weather has forecast a considerable warm-up through the first part of this weekend.

Recent extreme cold temperatures with snow accumulation has contributed to ice and snow buildup on roofs. With warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast- falling ice and heavy snow loads on roofs may present a hazard.

Please follow the safety tips below:

1. Keep all chimneys and fuel fired appliance vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building. Some vents, such as gas, oil, and pellet stove vents, may vent directly out of the building through a wall and are susceptible to being blocked by excessive snow buildup on the outside of the building.

2. Keep all exits clear of snow, so that occupants can escape quickly if a fire, or other emergency should occur. Keep in mind windows should be cleared to allow a secondary means of escape in case the primary means of escape is blocked by fire. Keeping exits clear also allows emergency workers quick and easy access to your building.

3. Be alert when approaching buildings for overhanging ice and snow, with the warming weather and forecast of rain, the ice and snow could fall from the roofs at any time.

4. Monitor your roof drainage systems for blockage to ensure that your roofs are displacing the water as designed. Clear any ice, snow or debris as needed to assist with proper drainage.

5. Please check on your neighbors and assist them when you can, especially our most vulnerable, the elderly and those with restricted mobility.

6. Ensure your home is equipped with working smoke and CO alarms.


From Vermont 2-1-1’s New Staff Member, Stacy!


Vermont has always been my home. I earned a degree in Education, Human Services, and Professional Studies all at Vermont State Colleges. I have worked for the State of Vermont for the past 4 years, and before that I ran an after school program at Meeting Waters YMCA for 7. I love all that my tiny state has to offer. I enjoy hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling, dirt biking, camping, and all of the wonderful outdoor activities I can do in the area. I also am a powerlifter, dancer, and traveler, and I play volleyball year-round. I currently serve on the Meeting Waters YMCA Board of Directors, and I also am the Community College of Vermont Representative on the Vermont State Colleges Alumni Council. I am happy that I am able to still serve in a Human Services position, and I am excited about my new venture as Outreach Specialist with Vermont 2-1-1!

 

 

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Division of Fire Safety Press Release – Winter Warm Up Concerns

STATE OF VERMONT

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

DIVISION OF FIRE SAFETY

PRESS RELEASE

 

For Immediate Release:

 

Release Date:

January 9th, 2018

Time: 12:30 p.m.

CONTACTS:

Michael Desrochers, Executive Director – 802-479-7561

Division of Fire Safety – 1-800-640-2106 – or firesafety.vermont.gov

 

 

Winter Warm Up Concerns

 

The National Weather has forecast a considerable warm-up through the first part of this weekend.

 

Recent extreme cold temperatures with snow accumulation has contributed to ice and snow buildup on roofs. With warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast- falling ice and heavy snow loads on roofs may present a hazard.

 

Please follow the safety tips below:

 

1.     Keep all chimneys and fuel fired appliance vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building. Some vents, such as gas, oil, and pellet stove vents, may vent directly out of the building through a wall and are susceptible to being blocked by excessive snow buildup on the outside of the building.

 

2.    Keep all exits clear of snow, so that occupants can escape quickly if a fire, or other emergency should occur. Keep in mind windows should be cleared to allow a secondary means of escape in case the primary means of escape is blocked by fire. Keeping exits clear also allows emergency workers quick and easy access to your building.

 

3.     Be alert when approaching buildings for overhanging ice and snow, with the warming weather and forecast of rain, the ice and snow could fall from the roofs at any time.

 

4.     Monitor your roof drainage systems for blockage to ensure that your roofs are displacing the water as designed. Clear any ice, snow or debris as needed to assist with proper drainage.

 

5.     Please check on your neighbors and assist them when you can, especially our most vulnerable, the elderly and those with restricted mobility.

 

6.     Ensure your home is equipped with working smoke and CO alarms.

 

About Vermont Division of Fire Safety

Vermont Division of Fire Safety’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders with coordinated efforts in code enforcement, fire service training, public education, hazardous materials and incident investigation to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the devastating effects of fires and other disasters and emergencies in the state. 

 

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Update VT-Alert Profile – Click Here.  For info on VT-Alert, E-Mail: dps.vtalert@vermont.gov

 

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