Kickoff 2020

The Silver Lining: celebrating community connectedness in a time of COVID

Join us online on Thursday, October 1 from 8:30 am – 9:30 am for our annual Kickoff celebration. This year’s virtual event allows us to feature a very special speaker, Dr. Mark Levine, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. You may be familiar with Dr. Levine from his frequent appearances on Governor Scott’s COVID press conferences. Dr. Levine’s leadership has been steady and has helped Vermont and Vermonters to stay safe, support one another, value the community spirit of doing difficult things during the pandemic.

In addition to hearing from Dr. Levine, we will have our Annual Directors Address with Executive Director Tawnya Kristen giving our supporters and partners an update on what United Way was able to do thanks to our incredible partners, supporters, and collaborators in 2019 & particularly since March 2020, as well as inspire us to keep the spirit of finding the shining Silver Lining in difficult times alive for each of us as we move forward into 2020 and 2021 – and our annual awards. New this year, we will be hosting an online Auction! Stay tuned for more details!

Please register here and you’ll receive a Zoom link the week before the event. We are so thrilled to see you and to share this celebration with you!

A HUGE Thank you to our 2020 Bronze Sponsors:





New this year, we have an Online Auction as part of our Kickoff Event! This Auction is a way to support your community and take home fabulous items donated by our incredible community supporters, partners, and businesses.

Featured Auction Items:

Read More

Tatum’s Totes Back-to-School Item Drive

We are taking the opportunity of the delay in the start of school to hold a back-to-school drive for foster children and children experiencing homelessness. Please see the list of the items we need below. All items can be dropped off in the drop box at our new office located in the Green Mountain Community Fitness building, 652 Granger Road, Barre, first floor. Ideally we would like to have items delivered by September 8 so we can get them to children across our five-county region.

Thanks to Bear Pond Books in Montpelier. You can purchase age-appropriate books through their website and leave them at Bear Pond for our staff to pick up! Support a local business by supporting children in our community, win-win!

Items needed for Back-to-School Drive

  • Child-sized masks
  • Backpacks – child and teen sized, gender-neutral and all colors
  • School Supplies:
    • Markers
    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Pencil Sharpeners
    • Pocket Folders
    • Spiral Notebooks
    • Composition Books
    • Erasers
    • Calculators
  • Age-Appropriate Books – list available to buy at bearpondbooks/tatumstotes
  • Arts and Crafts Items:
    • Colored Pencils
    • Watercolor Pencils
    • Brushes and Watercolors
    • Sketchbooks
    • Journals
    • Origami Paper
  • Playing Cards
  • Games
  • Puzzels
  • Mad Libs
  • Maze Books
  • Activity Books
    • Math Activities
    • Literacy/Spelling
    • Map Activities
    • Other activity books

Questions about the back-to-school drive? Email Carrie at cstahler@gmunitedway.org.

Read More

K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches Fall Networking and Forum Opportunities

Join us! This fall we are holding two virtual meetings for our KEEP Financial Coaches to provide chances to connect, learn, share, and shape the future of our KEEP Financial Coaching program. We want to hear from you!

1. “Networking and Story Sharing Event” – Thursday, September 17th – 10:00am – 11:30am

How has your experience been? How have things changed for you as a financial coach? Bring your experience with your role, changes to your work, and how you’ve been able to use your financial coaching skills and knowledge during the pandemic with clients and your community.
This has also been a time of amazing opportunity for growth and creativity. Bring your COVID-19 struggles, triumphs and innovations – we want to hear all about your experiences as pandemic Financial Coaches and connect you with other coaches as well.

2. “Shaping the Future” – Thursday, September 24th – 10:00am – 11:30am

This second meeting is centered around the ways financial coaching intersects with YOUR work and focus areas. We are offering the opportunity to participate in smaller group discussions facilitated in breakout sessions. Your breakout session topic will be based on your survey responses and direct feedback about what you’d most like to talk about with fellow coaches in a facilitated discussion format. Our goal is to understand how this program can successfully translate to a virtual space and how we can continue to support you and your work with clients.

Questions? Email Julia Davis at jdavis@gmunitedway.org

Read More

Orleans-Northern Essex County Mask Project

In partnership with the Orleans Northern Essex County Response Team, we are working to supply the community in our region with masks for free. We have been generously supported by Vermont Teddy Bear Company & many community volunteer stitchers. Masks are currently being distributed at locations throughout the region and we are doing the best to continue to supply these locations with masks for patrons or community members who need them.

If you need a face covering, the BEST place to contact is one of the towns on the Vermont Emergency Management list of municipalities who are working with the State of Vermont to distribute thousands of donated face coverings – sizes are good for smaller adult faces or larger adult faces:

Local locations where you can get free face coverings:

  • The Glover Store, Newport Center
  • Hillikers Store, Newport Center
  • Hoagies, Newport location
  • Boutin’s, Troy
  • Troy Country Store, Troy
  • West Main Deli, Newport
  • Vista Foods, Newport
  • Brown Cow, Newport
  • Wendy’s, Newport/Derby
  • Domino’s Pizza, Newport/Derby
  • NEKCA Youth Services, Newport
  • NEKCA – Main Street, Newport
  • Newport Farmers Market
  • Food Truck Rally, Thursdays in Gardner Park, Newport
  • Please continue to check back, more locations will be added as they become available

Seniors in the NEK in need of masks can contact the NEK Council on Aging’s helpline to get a mask: 802-748-5182 or 800-642-5119

We are always looking for stitchers to join our project.

If you are interested in stitching masks, please use the form linked below to volunteer and we will be in touch to get you kits to sew!

Read More

Internet Connectivity

Resources, Updates, and Suggestions for staying connected during COVID-19

Since March, the internet has become a new “Basic Need” for almost everyone in our communities. Whether you’ve worked or schooled from home, tried to order groceries from the local store, Zoomed into your local Select Board meeting, met friends for “Virtual Coffee”, or accessed telehealthcare services, you likely now depending on reliable, high-enough-speed internet to help life go on during the pandemic.

Our work with the Central Vermont Family Connectivity Project has brought us face to face with what happens when the lack of reliable internet does not offer the continuity that most of us enjoy from regular internet access. It means that kids can’t get the care they need, expecting moms can’t get the healthcare they, kids in foster care can’t see their biological parents… it means that life is even more drastically different than it is for those of us who have internet access (like you do if you’re reading this blog!).

Knowing this struggle is not going away, I’ve put together a list of potential resources anyone can use to bridge the internet gap. Let’s be clear, this information is meant to give you options if you can’t afford cable, or the DSL line ends right before your house, or the back road you live on is nowhere near high-speed internet territory. These are temporary solutions at best, and it is our hope that the many projects currently in the works in our rural region are able to help solve these problems in the long term! For now, try these:

There’s no high-speed internet at my house

We hear you, and the Department of Public Service want to know where you are, so put yourself on the map! https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/interactive-broadband-map

Try a public wifi hot spots near you: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/wi-fi-hot-spot-project

If the lines are close, the Line Assistance Customer Assistance Program (LECAP) provides funding to extend broadband to homes (there are limits) https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/vermont-covid-19-line-extension-customer-assistance-program

Do you get cell service? If so, find a cell provider who supports using your phone as an internet hotspot (we’ve tried Visible but there are others out there)

Affordability

If it is difficult for you to afford high-speed internet, check out these programs to see if you might qualify. If you are not sure, call them anyway:

Lifeline Telecommunications Program https://publicservice.vermont.gov/publications-resources/consumers/lifeline

Comcast Internet Essentials https://www.internetessentials.com/

Spectrum Internet Assist https://www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist

Read More

Our Response to Racism and Unrest

Dear United Way supporters, friends, partners, and colleagues,

The tragic deaths of Black Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have shocked and outraged people around Vermont, around the country, and around the world. Their deaths have been a representation of the insurmountable loss created through the undeniable systematic racism within our nation. As an agency whose mission is to fight for the well-being of all people, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak, because silence is not an option in the face of this tragedy. With that understanding, we want to be explicit in saying we honor and value the voices and experiences of those in our community who are Black, Indigenous, and persons of color. We stand with you and your fight for equality in our communities, our state, and our country. This tragedy has opened a space for conversations about inclusivity and opportunities for accountability. We heard the call when Governor Phil Scott, in creating Vermont’s Racial & Equity Task Force, said that each of us must take action to make change.

We also consider this a call to hold ourselves accountable, not just in words, but in action in order to create pathways to ensure that opportunity is accessible to all Vermonters. We understand that this work will require courage, discomfort, and an honest look at the ways we as a community are perpetuating or benefitting from these systems and the power we have to change them.

We pledge to do better. We urge you to join us. Together with our volunteers, our partner nonprofit agencies, all members of our communities, we are dedicated to making our Vermont UNITED. We invite you to join us in this work to create the equitable and inclusive communities that we have been called to create. The power one person holds is strong, the unified power of a diverse and responsive community is invincible.

With Gratitude,

The team at Green Mountain United Way

Read More

Donate a Device to Help Families

Do you have a device that you are no longer using? We are looking for device donations so we can clean, refurbish, and set up these used devices for families who do not have a device to use to stay connected on the internet. Families now need devices to access services like health care, wellness, social connectivity, and social & educational services and we see this need continuing throughout this crisis.

We are seeking devices that are newer than 5 years old. We are accepting cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Please use the link below to access a Fillable PDF with information about your device, then email it to connectivity@gmunitedway.org.

Thank you in advance for your help in keeping families safe and connected during the COVID-19 crisis. Click Donate Now to access the PDF with device donation information. When you have completed the form, please email it to Carrie Stahler at connectivity@gmunitedway.org.

Read More

Mother’s Day Card Shower

This time of year we are usually planning our route to spread cheer and love by delivering roses donated by generous community members to area nursing homes.

This year, our Annual Roses event has been canceled and those same nursing homes have not had visitors for weeks because of the coronavirus. We are thrilled that elders in our communities are safe and protected, but we know they still need some love and cheer. This year for Mother’s Day we are asking you to join us in supporting them with a Card Shower.

Cards can be homemade, store-bought, or any combination of the two! Below are the names and addresses of contacts at our area nursing or elder care facilities. Mail your cards to them so they can hang them in public spaces and share them with the elders in these facilities. Your messages can be ones of love, appreciation, and community, whatever moves you! You can focus on Mother’s Day or another reason, the main idea is that we are sharing our joy with folks who have not been able to have their friends and family nearby!

If you join us, please send us some photos of your cards before they go out! Email pictures to info@gmunitedway.org or post them to our Facebook page!

  • Genesis Health and Rehab:   Melissa Haupt or Melody Richardson , 98 Hospitality Drive, Berlin,  05603
  • Woodridge Nursing Home:  Dana Figueroa, 142 Woodridge Drive, Berlin, VT  05602
  • Heaton Woods Senior Residence:  Attn: Susie – Activities, 10 Heaton Street, Montpelier, 05602
  • The Gary Residence: Residents, 149 Main Street, Montpelier, 05602
  • Barre Gardens:  Susan Gile, 378 Prospect Street, Barre, 05641
  • Mayo Healthcare:  Activities Dept , 71 Richardson Avenue, Northfield, 05663
  • Menig Nursing Home: 215 Tom Wicker Lane, Randolph Center, VT 05061
  • Greensboro Nursing Home:  Activities Dept, 47 Maggies Pond Road, Greensboro, 05841
  • The Pines Rehabilitation & Health: Attn: Lizbeth Rodgers, Activities, 601 Red Village Rd, Lyndonville, VT 05851
  • St. Johnsbury Health & Rehab: Attn: Maria Luggelle, Admission Dir, 1248 Hospital Dr, St Johnsbury, VT 05819

Read More

COVID-19 Community Response

Use this page to find ways to Give Help, Get Help, and, Volunteer

We’re dedicated to supporting our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and the social and economic fallout that may result from it. To support all of our neighbors, we’re working with our existing network of partnerships and the community at large to develop a comprehensive list of community-based services and volunteer opportunities updated on a regular basis.



Disclaimer: We’re sharing opportunities and needs in communities across the region in an effort to provide real-time info. Green Mountain United Way has not vetted or researched all of these opportunities. Please keep yourself and your community safe by practicing social distancing and the guidelines established by healthvermont.gov.

Read More

Green Mountain United Way expands Working Bridges™ to serve employees at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital

Green Mountain United Way is pleased to announce that Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) has joined Green Mountain United Way’s Working Bridges™ program and will be bringing supports to its employees.

Working Bridges, a program of Green Mountain United Way, is designed to foster the shared understanding that barriers such as childcare, food insecurity and acute need for emergency financial assistance get in the way of continuous employment and can derail good employees. Working Bridges brings Resource Coordinator Michelle Clark on-site weekly at NVRH to provide assistance to employees in order to navigate local resources. As a trained K.E.E.P. Financial Coach, Clark is also available to coach employees who are navigating complicated financial situations. In addition to Resource Coordination, Working Bridges™ provides Income Advance Loans to employees, Mobile Volunteer Tax Preparation Program, and on-site classes based on employee needs.

“It is another resource that we can give our employees to help them smoothly navigate the rough patches in their lives. It also helps to build their capacity to self-manage in the future and that’s one of the things I really value about the Working Bridges program,” offered Shawn Tester, CEO of Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury. “Additionally, it is a resource that shows employees that you value them as a part of our organization, and it makes them want to stay and contribute meaningfully to our business. We have already seen this program work here in the Northeast Kingdom and we are excited to bring this to the employees of NVRH,” continued Tester.

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital joins Central Vermont Medical Center, Weidmann Electrical Technology, Northern Counties Health Care, Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, and ABC-LOL Childcare as the 7th Working Bridges program site served by Green Mountain United Way in their five-county region and the 5th site in the Northeast Kingdom.

“This program brings support for employees who are integral to caring for our community in the Northeast Kingdom. We are honored to partner with NVRH to serve the needs of employees so they are able to better serve and care for individuals and families health care needs. This hospital is so well known throughout our community for the support and care they provide – we are fortunate to be able to ensure that their employees continue to be able to offer the high quality of care they are known for and are supported by our Resource Coordinator in their own lives,” said Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way.

Read More