Green Mountain United Way is pleased to announce the recent hire of Heather Labounty to its Working Bridges Program Staff. Heather Labounty has been hired to serve Working Bridges worksite locations as the full-time Northeast Kingdom Resource Coordinator.
Before joining Green Mountain United Way, Heather Labounty worked as a community health coordinator at Northern Counties Health Care. “I’m excited for the opportunity to be part of a growing organization that helps those in my own communities. I think this will be a great way to use my experience to help others, that’s what really motivates me,” said Ms. Labounty.
“After an extensive interview process, we were so pleased to hire Heather to this role. She brings with her invaluable on-the-ground experience serving the community in the Northeast Kingdom, and we are so fortunate to be able to bring this experience to the Northeast Kingdom employers and employees we serve through the Working Bridges program.” said Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way.
Working Bridges is an employee-service and workforce development program offered to business partners in the Green Mountain United Way service area covering the Northeast Kingdom and Central Vermont. Since launching the program in their service region in 2016, Green Mountain United Way’s Working Bridges program has expanded to serve four large employers and one small employer with a combined workforce of over 2000 individuals.
“This program has expanded so much in just two short years and we are so happy to have Heather join us to support this growth. Her experience and her open, friendly personality are an asset to the program and the community. We believe that the employees served by Working Bridges will be in excellent hands and that this will be a smooth and easy transition for Heather and for the workforce we support,” offered Pam Bailey
, Director of Programs and Operations at Green Mountain United Way and program manager for Working Bridges.
Ms. Labounty lives with her husband and two sons in St. Johnsbury and ran her own daycare center before changing her career to join the human services sector. She serves on the board of Sid’s Pantry, a food shelf in Concord, Vermont and is actively involved in her sons’ baseball league.
Green Mountain United Way celebrated the individuals and organizations in their five-county service region with an award ceremony at their Annual Breakfast at Norwich University’s Milano Ballroom on Tuesday, September 25th.
“The recipients of these awards embody the heart and soul of the work we are doing at Green Mountain United Way,” said Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way. “Through hands-on efforts at the community level, these organizations and individuals are bringing together individuals, ideas, efforts and resources to build lasting change across our communities.”
Green Mountain United Way was proud to honor six outstanding organizations and individuals at this year’s award ceremony with business, government, nonprofit and community partners in attendance. These awards are given to organizations who have shown exceptional leadership, effort, and impact in communities throughout Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties during the past year.
These awards focus on Green Mountain United Way’s partners who are making a significant difference within the community they live, work or serve and the many ways that our work integrates with the broader goals of those who we work with to serve the community and also recognize success in fundraising through United Way Workplace Campaigns and highlight partners who went the extra mile to facilitate a successful giving campaign for their community. This year’s awardees are:
Community Impact Award – University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC)
This award is given to an organization who has made an exceptional contribution to the community through their dedication and commitment to community impact.
This year Green Mountain United Way is proud to recognize Central Vermont Medical Center for their leadership in several aspects of the work they are doing for our communities right now. As the Integrator Organization for THRIVE, Central Vermont’s Accountable Community for Health, CVMC is leading the mission to optimize the health and well-being of our community through informed collaborative and innovative solutions. We would also like to recognize their leadership in the Working Bridges Program. As the first Central Vermont Working Bridges site, they are leading the way to care for those within their organization in unique and innovative ways that result in better care for all within our Central Vermont community.
Accepting the award was Anna T. Noonan, CVMC president and chief operating officer; Robert Patterson, vice president of Human Resources and Clinical Operations; and Monica Urquhart, manager of Employee Relations and Wellness.
“We deeply value our longtime partnership with Green Mountain United Way, which continues growing through the addition of the Working Bridges program,” Noonan said. “In Working Bridges’ first three months at CVMC, resource coordinators have offered members of our team guidance on transportation, housing, childcare, finances and income advance loans for emergency needs. Having an expert on site, every week, is an invaluable and convenient service for our team. Our thanks to the United Way and Vermont Community Foundation for making this important partnership possible.”
“Working Bridges dovetails with THRIVE, which is working to improve access to health care, nutritious food, affordable housing, education and financial wellness,” Noonan continued. “We’re proud to team with Green Mountain United Way and all of THRIVE’s leadership partners in connecting communities across central Vermont.”
Employer Leadership Award – Northern Counties Health Care
This award is given to an organization who shows exemplary leadership in supporting their employees to make a difference in their own lives and in their broader community.
This award is given to our partners at Northern Counties Health Care for taking the initiative to the spirit of “Caring for the Caregivers” as a starting point to make their organization stretch beyond the traditional boundaries of a “health care providers” to consider the health and well-being of all within their walls, and to see the connections between their employee’s wellness and the results they see for their patients. They are doing this through internal policies, their Working Bridges Program, employee participation in the K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program and their support of their employees to expand the boundaries in the many ways they are able to serve their communities, while supporting employee growth and success. Accepting the award was CEO Shawn Tester, Kari White and Laurie Somers.
“At Northern Counties Health Care we are incredibly grateful, both for our partners at the Green Mountain United Way, but also for the Working Bridges program which has helped so many of our staff through financial coaching, advance loans for emergencies, and income tax preparation. Working Bridges helps us care for our employees, so they can care for our patients and community. The program also directly aligns with the work we are doing in NEK Proper!, our regional Accountable Health Community.” Tester offered.
Community Spirit Award – VSECU
This award is given to a business that has put the “FUN” in fundraising and has gone the extra mile to make their workplace campaign a success for both employees and the community.
This past year the Campaign Team at VSECU used their already community-minded workplace as a platform to challenge employees to show their support for the community – they had t-shirts, challenges, and chocolate, and this enthusiasm spilled over into immense support for the foster children in our communities through their participation in the 2017 Tatum’s Totes Holiday Drive. Accepting the award was Vice President of Human Resources Eileen Belanger, Tammy Manning and Ann Hodgdon.
Campaign Champion Award – BlueCross and BlueShield of Vermont
This award is given to a worksite that has the greatest percentage increase, over their past year’s campaign.
As one of Green Mountain United Way’s most long-term supporters, the generosity of BCBSVT’s employees can already be seen throughout Green Mountain United Way and the community, but with a little creativity, ingenuity and incredible support they were able to grow their support by 52% last year. Accepting the award was Vice President of Customer Service and Planning, Catherine Hamilton.
Community Commitment Award – Timothy Barre, Northfield Savings Bank
This is a new award added this year as part of our new Volunteer Program to recognize the commitment of volunteers throughout our community and the impact that the gift of time can make.
This year’s recipient, Timothy Barre, has been a volunteer with Green Mountain United Way for over a decade, and as a volunteer on the Development and Marketing Committee and participating in each of our Annual Days of Caring, Tim is one of the biggest champions of the new Volunteer Program and online Volunteer Connection. His passion and enthusiasm for volunteerism is contagious.
Rising Star Award – Nicholas Petterssen, Green Mountain CrossFit
This award is given to an individual who demonstrates new or renewed leadership and passion for supporting the work of Green Mountain United Way.
This award recognizes Nick for his leadership using the common framework of physical fitness and building a transformational space at Green Mountain CrossFit where all, regardless of income, ability, or struggles, are empowered to become a healthier version of themselves. His understanding that what his gym provides is a true human service, disguised as a business, is the keystone upon which we’ve built our partnership to bring The Phoenix to individuals in recovery in Central Vermont. With this award we recognize Nick’s unwavering current and future support of both our organization’s work and the mission we share, to help all within our community achieve physical health and well-being.
Green Mountain United Way teamed up with our partners at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and Northfield Savings Bank to hold a clean-up and green-up day on Heaton Street in Montpelier. We worked at nonprofit senior residence Heaton Woods doing landscaping work on their courtyard so that their elderly residents have a beautiful, safe, outdoor space to enjoy in the warmer months. We also painted the fence surrounding the area.
Across the street we worked on Washington County Mental Health’s Heaton Woods facility painting windows and their front columns, cleaning up around the property, trimming trees and finally planting perennials along the front walk and under their sign!
We can’t thank our crew enough for their hard work and for the support of Hunger Mountain Co-op and Shaw’s for providing food for lunch, as well as our fantastic Grill-Master Tim Barre, our volunteer from Northfield Savings Bank. Thanks to Bagitos in Montpelier for breakfast bagels!
United Way holds a Day of Caring each year. If your organization has a project that could be accomplished with 20-30 volunteers, please email volunteer @ gmunitedway.org with information about what the project involves. Carrie or Beckie will be in touch to talk about the possibility of holding a Day of Caring.
Vermont State Parks open May. Many open Memorial Day weekend, but this schedule has the opening date for each park.
May is also when the outdoor Farmer’s Markets open. Find the Market closest to you on the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont website.
Spring Worksite Wellness Activities
~ Ashwinee Kulkarni, MPH
The warm weather has finally arrived! Spring is a great time to get started with a worksite wellness program or re-energize an existing one. Check out the Health Department’s Worksite Wellness Page for tips and resources on how to get started or to get new ideas. We also have new section with resources specific to several different occupations. Here are five worksite wellness activities that you can try this summer to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle:
Partner with a local farm or food hub to have Community Supported Agriculture shares (CSAs) delivered on-site.
As the weather begins to warm and the landscape begins to green, our thoughts inevitably turn toward spring and summer and taking in all that these seasons have to offer. For me (and I don’t think I’m alone here), food is among the greatest assets that warm weather brings. Fresh produce is available, the grill is fired up, and I am more than happy to set aside my arsenal of warm winter favorites to embrace the cool flavors of summer. Along with great flavor, comes opportunity for great nutrition. Fruits and vegetables that are picked fresh not only taste better, but they pack more key nutrients than those that have been trucked from thousands of miles away. Community farmer’s markets are a great place to support local growers while taking advantage of fresh, flavorful, nutritious fruits and vegetables.
For many of the consumers we see in our daily work, farmer’s markets are a new concept and shopping at one may not be entirely comfortable prospect. Do you remember the last time you tried out a new market? Every time I’m in an unfamiliar shopping environment, I am so overwhelmed by finding what I need and learning the norms of the new space, I forget to buy half of the items on my list (once again, I don’t think I’m alone here). The good news is, we can help make the new experience more enjoyable for individuals and families. Here are some helpful tips and resources for successfully navigating the farmer’s market and getting the most out of a tight food budget.
Join us on Tuesday, September 25 from 7:30 am – 8:30 am at Norwich University’s Milano Ballroom to celebrate the important work United Way, our partners, and supporters are doing to connect our communities and help all in our five counties to thrive!
We will hear from inspiring speakers including this year’s Keynote, Shawn Tester, CEO and Executive Director of Northern Counties Health Care, and Green Mountain United Way partner in NEK Prosper! and Working Bridges. Shawn will speak about the importance of connecting our communities to one another and to resources, and how to address the community’s broader needs to ensure the health and vitality of all within our region.
Enjoy breakfast as we honor Community Leaders and our 2017-18 Campaign Leaders.
This event is free and open to partners, local leaders and the broader community. RSVP is required to attend.
This year’s Kickoff Breakfast will be immediately followed by a Day of Caring Volunteer Day to support the Northfield Promise Community. We are helping families with children 0-5 in the Northfield area by building a brand new playground at the Northfield Falls Fields. Get more information or register for Day of Caring at our Volunteer Connection.