Northfield’s New Playground Supports Kids 0-5 years and their Families!

Northfield Promise Community Celebrates the Opening of New Playground

Northfield, Vermont – October 10, 2018

Friday the Northfield Promise Community celebrated the culmination of years of hard work and hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of planning, meeting, and physical labor at the new playground off of Burnham Road in Northfield Falls. This project began two years ago as part of the State of Vermont’s Promise Community initiative where the community came together to apply for a grant to improve kindergarten readiness for children in the Northfield Community. Through the Promise Community initiative each group is free to work together to come up with the solution that best fits their community. Through a series of community gatherings and community-led conversations, the Northfield Promise Community determined that there was a lack in safe, accessible play spaces for young children and they set about finding a location and planning a playground. With the partnership and support of Green Mountain United Way, the town of Northfield, the school district, and many, many community members, this plan and playground began to take shape.

The Northfield Promise Community hired local landscape designer and Northfield parent Bonnie Kirn Donahue to act as project manager and with Landscape Structures to purchase and lead the community in the installation of the major elements for the playground as part of the “community build” process. The work took place over the course of 5 days. Volunteers and community members showed up, brought tools, tractors, food and energy to see the project through to completion. Norwich University cadets volunteered each day alongside parents, community members, and organizers.

The playground is geared toward ages 0-6, and is filled with multi-sensory experiences such as a playhouse and mud kitchen for imaginary play, musical instruments, blueberry bushes, rock garden, walking track, pretend car, friendship swing, and more. The play space is enclosed by a fence and is ready for the children and families in our community to enjoy it!

Friday, September 28th at 4pm the community kicked off the grand opening with a popsicle party and ribbon cutting attended by many families, children, and community members eager to celebrate the completion of this exciting community project.

The playground is located near the baseball fields off of Burnham Road in Northfield Falls and everyone with young children is encouraged to go and enjoy the result of this incredible community effort.

 

About the Northfield Promise Community:

The Northfield Promise Community was formed in 2016 as a result of the State of Vermont’s Promise Community Initiative which grants communities funds to be used to help the children within that community ages 0-5 kindergarten ready. The Northfield Promise Community was made up entirely of volunteer community members, parents, and town leaders who worked to gather the community’s vision and turn it into actionable projects. The Northfield Promise Community will also be working on a second installation at the Brown Public Library in Northfield as part of this project.

About Green Mountain United Way:  Green Mountain United Way is a Vermont not-for-profit organization in operation since 1976.  They work to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties by mobilizing the caring power of communities around our region to advance the common good. No other single organization has the scope and influence to bring together human service agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.

 

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New Tax Laws on Charitable Giving – will it impact you?

Friends, the short answer is, we don’t know how you’ll be impacted by the changes to tax laws at the federal level. If you used to itemize your deductions, you may still be able to do that, but our suggestion is to talk to your tax preparer or financial planner. Those who used to itemize but will no longer do that will see the most impact.

However, this is a bit of sunlight for community philanthropy thanks to our Vermont legislators. The State of Vermont passed a new tax law last year allowing 5% of up to $20,000 in eligible charitable contributions to be deductible – there’s a new spot on the Vermont State Tax forms for them and the Tax Department is very eager to get the word out and to help support the nonprofit sector with this tax credit. Take a look at the informative video they’ve created to help Vermonters understand this new tax credit. Please let them know if you have questions, they’ve been very helpful and we’d like all of the Vermonters who are eligible to take advantage of this! Help us spread the word – share this video!

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Green Mountain United Way awarded competitive NBRC grant to expand Working Bridges

On August 10, in an award ceremony in the old Greensboro Garage in Hardwick, Green Mountain United Way was one of 10 organizations awarded a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission. Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Phil Scott, Federal NBRC Commission Co-Chair Mark Scarano, and representatives from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch’s offices were present. The federal commission’s aim is to bring growth to economically distressed counties along the Canadian border. Green Mountain United Way will use the NBRC investment to match public and private investment in the expansion of the Working Bridges program to at least 3 additional employers in Orleans, Essex and/or Caledonia counties.

The Northern Border Regional Commission’s aim is to bring growth to economically distressed counties along the Canadian border. Green Mountain United Way will use the NBRC investment to match public and private investment in the expansion of the Working Bridges program to at least 3 additional employers in Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia counties.

“This commission has the unique role of bringing together the leaders of four states to identify common challenges and divide resources to address those challenges,” Gov. Phil Scott said.

Working Bridges is a workforce development program focused on employees keeping stable jobs by bringing human services resources to the workplace. Other elements of Working Bridges include on-site VITA tax prep sites for employees, employee classes in topics like Financial Literacy, one-on-one resource coordination, income advance loans and for employers, an ongoing Employer Collaborative to bring regional employers together to solve issues facing their workforce together with like-minded leaders and United Way. Green Mountain United Way will receive $191,000 over three years to expand the reach of their program with the program goal of stabilizing workforces, in turn, allowing employers to grow their businesses.

To hear more about the $2.2 million in projects that were funded by this round of grants, check out this story from NBC5.

http://www.mynbc5.com/article/over-dollar2-million-in-federal-grants-awarded-to-northeast-kingdom-projects/11666598

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YOUR Community Needs YOU

Upon pondering the effectiveness of the work we did last week within our community at the Family Center of Washington County and the Good Samaritan Haven, I now feel elated and excited by the volunteerism that accomplished this, but true belief in our fellow man/woman that we truly DO make a difference.

Hey, the proof is in the pudding!

So, I’m thinking that we all can be more effective if we just take the next step…

What is that you might say?

Consider our initiatives:

  • Education (early learning)
  • Income (financial stability)
  • Health (healthy living)
  • Basic Needs are being met

United Way World Wide shows us what’s important and viewed all around us in their 20 second video:

No matter the area or location, we all have seen or know someone who falls within any category of need.  Even one day, we ourselves might be in need of specific services.

Guess what?  Your local Green Mountain United Way can help…and YOU can help your local United Way by taking that next step by helping others through volunteerism.

Check out our Volunteer page and find the thing that you might be interested in doing to help out!

Whether you are looking for volunteers or simply want to volunteer yourself, you can browse these opportunities HERE.  You can also feel free to contact us at info@gmunitedway.org or call our Central Office at 802-613-3989.

You’ll be glad you did and feel free to send us feedback on your experiences!

We can accomplish so much together.

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Day of Caring 2017 at Good Samaritan Haven

I think that Ken O’Rourke of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont said it best when he said “I think you got 8 hours of work done in 6 hours!”. Brooke Jenkins, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Haven, was blown away by the amount of work that our volunteers were able to do. The attic and basement were reclaimed from their piles of donations, and reorganized into useful spaces where staff can find items for clients, move freely, and put away new donations easily and quickly! The porch and interior hallway were painted, 3 truckloads were taken to the dump, and tons of boxes were sorted for the tag sale (and the trash/recycling!). These amazing folks even baked goodies for the upcoming Good Samaritan Bake Sale! Incredible work was done by everyone, thank you for this amazing gift to our partners at Good Samaritan!

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