Working Bridges Employee Contacts for Remote Resource Coordination

Out of an abundance of caution and in consideration of keeping employees and our Working Bridges clients in the healthcare sector safe, we are moving to a remote tele-coordination system effective immediately, Monday, March 16, 2020.

We understand the challenge of working remotely in a rural area and have identified a variety of methods that should work for the vast majority of those of you who need to contact your Resource Coordinator.

Employees and HR professionals at our Working Bridges sites in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom can access Resource Coordinators through the following contact methods:

Email: Both Laurie and Michelle can be confidentially emailed using one email address: wbrc@gmunitedway.org. Please indicate which employer you work for and the nature of your issue.

Phone: Laurie can be reached at 802-793-7919, Michelle can be reached at 802-793-9517.

Text: The phone number above are cell phones and can receive texts

Video conferencing: If face-to-face contact is preferred by you, our client, Laurie is an Apple iPhone user and can Facetime with clients, or can use Google Hangouts, Michelle has access to Google Hangouts.

Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) has moved to a drop-off system. Please ask your HR department for a VITA packet for your upcoming appointment. You will need to include all paperwork, including a photocopy of your ID and Social Security card(s) in order for us to complete your taxes. Paperwork will be mailed to you for signatures prior to submission to the IRS.

Facebook: Join our Working Bridges Employee Facebook page to connect with resources and stay up to date on new opportunities! Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/workingbridges/

HR Partners, print our new Working Bridges Flyer here. Email Carrie at cstahler (at) gmunitedway.org if you need this as a PDF. This poster looks like this:

Our Working Bridges Employee Resource Guide is updated regularly and contains consolidated contact information for agencies providing resources.

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Graphic with red box in the center and yellow and red geometric shapes surrounding the box on a white ground

COVID-19 Resource Page

The following information is intended to help everyone in our communities get to the resources they need quickly and efficiently.

The local response to COVID-19 throughout our five-county region is rapidly changing and we will keep this page updated as we receive additional information.

Please note, we are dedicated to continuing to serve our Working Bridges sites. For employees at our Working Bridges worksites, we are still serving all of our worksites but are now using remote service systems. Please reach your resource coordinators at wbrc@gmunitedway.org or by phone. Resource coordinators will continue to be available remotely to serve all employees at our Working Bridges sites. Please see this link for contact details for Laurie or Michelle.

HEALTH

Vermont Department of Health – please use this link to connect to the most recent information distributed by the Vermont Department of Health. If you are having symptoms and you are concerned they may be COVID-19, please do not go to the ER, call your healthcare provider or primary care physician’s office to be triaged by them first.

When to call your doctor – If you believe you are having symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19, please call your doctor’s office before seeking out treatment or going to the emergency room. Your doctor will give you the best course of action to take to protect your health and the health of others.

Vermont 211 – Dial 2-1-1 if you have questions about COVID-19 but are not seeking medical care or to find resources to deal with challenges you or community members may be experiencing due to impacts of the virus such as food insecurity, housing, etc. You can also access the 211 Database at https://vermont211.org/ (if you are a nonprofit organization whose services have changed due to COVID-19, please email 211 with changes at info@vermont211.org)

WNOC-RRCC – This Central Vermont based collaboration has organized a Community Call Center Help Line – call  (802)-636-2025

AARP – Coronavirus Resources and helpful information for Vermonters over 55 can be found here – https://states.aarp.org/vermont/coronavirus-resources-for-vermonters

Please note that People’s Health and Wellness Clinic in Barre, who serve uninsured Vermonters, has suspended in-person patient visits at PHWC. We remain committed to providing care for our patients and will offer phone triage, phone/video appointments with providers, and comprehensive case management. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call the clinic at 802-479-1229. For questions related to COVID-19, please call the helpline at 802-371-5310.

MENTAL HEALTH

Northeast Kingdom Human Services – (802) 784-3181

Parent/Grandparent Support Line through NKHS: 802-749-1111 – 8:30am – 5:00pm, M – F

Washington County Mental Health Services – (802) 229-0591 or online at  www.wcmhs.org – for information around self-care, coping with social distancing, fun activities for kids and more!


The Vermont Telephone Recovery Support Service Peer Support Helpline – (802) 808-8877, operating 24/7.

FOOD INSECURITY

Please use this link to the Vermont Foodbank’s page listing updated information to help people who need food to access it at this time. Find your local food shelf here or call the Vermont Foodbank at  1-800-585-2265.

Hunger Free Vermont is also regularly updating their resources regarding food. Click here to view their page, which includes information about WIC, School Meals, 3SquaresVT, Meal Programs for Older Vermonters, and more. Use this link to view the COVID-19 Food Resources Flyer with updated information you can use and share about access to food.

School Districts are developing their own food plans in response to school closures. Contact your local school for the most up to date information. We will be listing all of the information we receive from schools here.

Northeast Kingdom Food (and other) Resources:

Central Vermont Food Resources:

Central Vermont has organized into Washington and Northern Orange County Regional Response Command Center (WNOC-RRCC). They are currently focused on feeding the population of 200+ individuals currently housed in hotels. As that group offers more resources and information we will link to those.

TRANSPORTATION

Bus Service

GMT service is changing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately until at least April 1, 2020, GMT will operate bus service fare free. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 updates and adjust this timeframe accordingly. Limiting the interaction on-board our buses will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other passengers and to our Transit Operators. Whenever possible, Transit Operators will allow passengers to board and alight through the rear door of the bus. They ask that if passengers are able to stay home, please do so. They are working to ensure nurses, doctors, child care workers, first responders, transit workers, and anyone else who needs us where they need to go, is able to d so safely. See the latest route updates and service alerts at www.RideGMT.com

RCT Serves the NEK. Find current updates on the RCT website. Those with questions about Rural Community Transit rides should call 802-748-8170 or toll-free 1-855-811-6360.

HOUSING

Northeast Kingdom

  • Northeast Kingdom Community Action – 802-748-6040
  • RuralEdge – 800-234-0560

Central Vermont

  • Capstone Community Action – Toll-Free Barre Office 1-800-639-1053, Toll-Free Morrisville Office 1-800-639-8710, Toll-Free Orange County West/Randolph Office 1-800-846-9506, Orange County East/Bradford Office (802) 222-5419
  • Downstreet Housing and Community Development – Toll-Free 877-320-0063

CHILDCARE

Yesterday Governor Phil Scott ordered the implementation of the child care system to support personnel essential to the COVID-19 Response. This means many centers are closing but some will be making slots available to children of Vermonters responding to the crisis. Please read Governor Scott’s press release here and the full guidance document here.

FINANCIAL INSECURITY

If your employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 community response, please see the Vermont Department of Labor’s website. At this time we understand that their phone lines may be very busy.

Taxes – the IRS has extended the deadline for taxes due and the deadline for filing. This information is complex. Here is the link to the IRS language and a separate Wall Street Journal article that we found helpful.

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital Community Connections can help with Insurance and Unemployment claims – call (802) 748-7526

HOW YOU CAN HELP

As this crisis continues to develop we can see an increasing need for volunteers – we are reaching out to our nonprofit partners to understand how they are using volunteers and what their ongoing needs will be. Many of the consistent volunteers in our community are older, retired Vermonters. These individuals are most at risk for COVID-19, so we are seeing a rapid shift in those who are able to fill volunteer roles in the community, and those who are not. Additionally, we and our nonprofit partners are preparing to serve our communities in many new ways to keep our communities and our most vulnerable Vermonters safe.

VOLUNTEERING

We are working with our nonprofit partners in the community to update volunteer opportunities on our Volunteer Connection. If you work for a nonprofit in need of support or volunteers, please reach out to Carrie at cstahler at gmunitedway.org.

If you are able to volunteer, check updated opportunities here, find local nonprofits and their volunteer coordinator contacts here to reach out to individual organizations.

WNOC-RRCC – This collaboration in the Central Vermont region is working to address food delivery and other volunteer supports. Check their website and register if you can help here https://www.communityharvestvt.org/volunteer

Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging – the NEKCOA is working with volunteers to create continuity of service for Meals on Wheels. If you are able to help, contact Karen Budde at NEKCOA. https://www.nekcouncil.org/volunteer or call (802) 751-0431.

Central Vermont Council on Aging – CVCOA is working to create continuity of support for food delivery for seniors, finding backup drivers, and other support services by volunteers. If you are able to help, contact Luke Rackers or go to https://www.cvcoa.org/volunteering.html.

Local-Level Opportunities to Give Help or Get Help (Mutual Aid)

Many local communities are rallying community members to be available as opportunities come up or become more clear. Please check out the communities that have shared their sign-up forms. (please note, we are not helping to manage these volunteers, just sharing this information with you in case you are interested in connecting with these grassroots groups).

Individual Community Groups can be found at the bottom of this resource crowd-sourced Vermont Resource List.

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VDH Daily Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We at United Way will be sharing updates here from the Vermont Department of Health as we receive them. If you have additional questions or need information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), please call 2-1-1 or check vermont211.org.

Daily Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 11, 2020

Current Status in Vermont

The Health Department is closely monitoring the developments in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (“COVID-19”). Vermont is prepared to respond to protect and support Vermonters.

As of 1:00 p.m. on March 11, 2020:

Vermont cases of COVID-191
Vermont cases of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization1
Vermonters tested negative for COVID-1962
Vermonters being monitored215
Vermonters who have completed monitoring59

On March 7, 2020, health officials announced the first case of COVID-19 in Vermont.This Bennington County case is considered presumptive pending Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmation.

The State of Vermont Wednesday announced the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center to support the ongoing work of the Vermont Department of Health and expand the capacity of state government to coordinate the COVID-19 response.

The State Emergency Operations Center is working closely with health officials to develop guidance on, and answer questions about, whether large gatherings and events should be canceled. At this time, officials are not recommending these events be canceled, but that guidance is subject to change as the situation evolves.

It is reasonable for older adults and persons with underlying health conditions to consider not attending a mass gathering eventHealth Department and Agency of Education officials continue to work with colleges, universities and other educational institutions on guidance about potential closures of their facilities.

The Health Department is focused on ensuring its most vulnerable populations are protected, and is working to continuously update guidance and address emerging needs of long-term care facilities as new information becomes available.

Guidance documents are being added and updated daily as needed. These are available at healthvermont.gov/covid19.

Case Information

The adult patient is a Bennington County resident, currently hospitalized and in an airborne infection isolation room at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

On March 8, Governor Phil Scott, along with Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith and Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Christopher Herrick held a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center to update Vermonters about this first case and of state preparedness and response efforts. 

Public health epidemiologists are working to investigate possible travel or exposure history and to identify anyone who had close contact with the person. Those individuals will be assessed for their exposure risk and provided with guidance for their health. Where appropriate, they will receive recommendations for self-isolation or other restrictions.

We are also talking with the staff at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to ensure they are properly cared for and protected, so that other patients are also protected.

We expect, and are prepared for, more cases in Vermont, and are taking every action to limit the spread of illness.

In addition to protecting a patient’s personal health information, state health and public safety officials are committed to ensuring that Vermonters are aware of any risk to themselves and their community. This is the essential work of public health. We will contact anyone identified as at-risk as part of any case investigation, and recommend they stay home for 14 days or follow other restrictions as needed.

Actionable information for individuals, schools, organizations, businesses and others will be shared quickly to protect the health of Vermonters and prevent the spread of disease.

Anyone who feels ill or has concerns about their health should call their health care provider.

For the most up-to-date information and guidance about COVID-19, including from the CDC, visit healthvermont.gov/covid19.

Update on Cost Sharing for Testing

Containment and Prevention Measures

  • We expect there will be more cases of COVID-19 in the state. Vermont Health Officials urge Vermonters to stay informed and take all necessary precautions.
  • Following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, returning travelers whose last day in China, Italy, South Korea or Iran was March 4 or afterwards should stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States. Travelers returning from Japan should monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States.
  • All travelers who have returned from those countries in the last 14 days should call the Health Department at 802-863-7240. The Health Department will be in regular contact with you for 14 days since the day you left the affected area to monitor you for symptoms of shortness of breath, cough or fever. If you develop these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.
  • Vermont is currently working with New Hampshire in response to a New Hampshire case with close proximity to Vermont. Read more here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/media/newsroom/vt-and-nh-health-officials-working-together-trace-contacts-nh-covid-19-case and here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/HS-COVID19-March-4-update.pdf.
  • Since the virus first emerged, the Vermont Health Department has been in constant contact with CDC and other states to closely monitor developments, and work to minimize the spread of illness. State government has been advising health care providers, schools, emergency responders on the latest information and preventive measures, and providing guidance and updates on the website and through the news media. This is a quickly evolving situation with new information guiding actions on an ongoing basis. Staff across the Department of Health are working in the Health Operations Center to adjust our response as appropriate to the situation in Vermont.
  • Epidemiologists and public health nurses have been following CDC protocols for monitoring people who have recently returned from travel to affected areas (which currently includes China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan). Monitoring means checking their temperature daily, watching for symptoms, and for some people, staying home.
  • The Vermont Department of Health has compiled helpful guidance on how to help keep respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 from spreading, travel information and situation updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This can all be found at healthvermont.gov/COVID-19.
  • Last week (week of February 24), the CDC made testing kits available to the states, and this week (week of March 1), the Health Department Laboratory began testing for COVID-19.
  • At the direction of Governor Phil Scott, Vermont Emergency Management assembled an interagency task force to support the overall public health response and further prepare for the likelihood of COVID-19 cases in Vermont. This task force is focused on forward-looking, situation-specific mitigation planning, while the Vermont Department of Health continues its containment strategy in response to the current situation.
  • The Health Department is working to strengthen protections for older Vermonters, including developing screening questions for visitors to long-term care facilities to identify anyone at risk. These have been made available for hospitals or other health care facilities.
  • Health Commissioner Mark Levine is holding weekly calls with health care leadership around the state to provide updates and answer questions about the current situation.

Guidance for Vermonters

When to call?

  • If you have questions about COVID-19: Dial 2-1-1
  • If you are returning from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea or Japan: Call Health Department Epidemiology at 802-863-7240
  • If you are ill, have symptoms, or concerned about your health: Call your health care provider

Guidance for Specific Groups

These can be found on healthvermont.gov/covid19 under “Resources for schools, child care programs and colleges.”

  • Long-term care facilities: A visitor screening tool was provided to long-term care facilities, and similar one for hospitals to help protect patients and/or residents and staff these facilities. These documents have also been posted on healthvermont.gov/covid19, under “Long-Term Care Facilities” and “Health Care Professionals.”

Guidance for Travelers Returning to Vermont from an Affected Area

Following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, returning travelers whose last day in China, Italy, South Korea or Iran was March 4, 2020 or afterwards should stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States. Travelers returning from Japan should monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States.

All travelers who have returned from those countries in the last 14 days should call Health Department infectious disease and epidemiology staff at 802-863-7240 to discuss monitoring for symptoms of shortness of breath, cough or fever. If you develop these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.

Household members who did not travel do not need to be monitored and do not need to stay home, unless that person develops symptoms.

Guidance for People in Close Contact with a Person who Tested Positive for COVID-19

People who have been identified by the Health Department as a close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home, practice social distancing and monitor their health for 14 days.

Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

The Health Department will be in contact with you regularly during the monitoring period. If you develop symptoms: Call your health care provider right away. Before you go to an appointment, let your health care provider know that you are being monitored for novel coronavirus. Call Health Department epidemiology and infectious disease staff at 802-863-7240. Avoid contact with others.

What does close contact mean?

“Close contact” means being within six feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for a long time.

This can happen when caring for, being intimate partners with, or living with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Or if you shared a health care waiting area.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19: stay home, limit contact with others, and call Health Department Epidemiology at 802-863-7240 Staff will discuss whether you need to see a provider, and how you will monitor yourself for symptoms. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the Health Department conducts outreach to close contacts of the individual.

Close contact does not mean being more than six feet away in the same indoor environment for a long period of time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19; It also does not mean walking by, or briefly being in the same room with someone who tested positive. In these situations, you should observe yourself for symptoms. You do not need to call the Health Department.

Anyone who develops symptoms should stay home and call their health care provider.

People At Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease. According to the CDC, these people should take extra precautions including:

  • Stocking up on supplies
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Avoiding cruise travel and non-essential air travel
  • Staying away from others who are sick

Read the CDC’s full guidance on People At Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.

Everyday Preventive Measures

Person-to-person spread of the virus is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Much is still unknown about how the virus spreads. Take these everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Additional Resources

The Vermont Department of Health website contains guidance and answers to frequently asked questions, including:

  • What does “monitoring” mean?
  • Information for people under monitoring
  • What does close contact mean?
  • How can I protect myself?
  • Should I wear a face mask when I go out in public?
  • Guidance for travelers returning to Vermont from an affected area
  • Where is it safe to travel internationally?
  • I am returning from an affected area. What should I do?
  • Who can get tested for COVID-19?
  • What should people planning large gatherings in Vermont do?
  • What is the turnaround time for testing?
  • Where can I find translated materials?
  • Can the Health Department provide documentation that I can go to work?
  • Guidance for specific groups:
    • Businesses
    • Communities
    • First Responders
    • Health care professionals
    • Long-term care facilities
    • Schools, child care programs and colleges

View these resources at healthvermont.gov/covid19

Vermonters can also dial 2-1-1 for information.

The CDC is regularly updating its guidance at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html.

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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.

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K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program Graduates New Cohort of Financial Coaches

Green Mountain United Way would like to congratulate a new cohort of recently certified K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches. These individuals passed the Introduction to Financial Coaching Course with Green Mountain United Way at Capstone Community Action in December and are now working toward integrating financial coaching practices into the work they do at their nonprofit organizations.

Fall 2019 Cohort of Financial Coaches

K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching is a program of Green Mountain United Way where nonprofit, client-facing staff are training in the emerging practice of Financial Coaching. This work helps clients learn to set and achieve their financial goals. Through the program, both coaches and their nonprofit organizations receive ongoing support from United Way, peer-to-peer support from nearly 80 financial coaches throughout Vermont, and ongoing education opportunities provided by experienced community partners, in addition to the initial financial literacy and coaching training they took to become certified.

Congratulations to these new K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches and the agencies, organizations, and clients they serve:

  • Michelle Clark                     Green Mountain United Way
  • Nicole DiDomenico            Norwich University, Global Community Initiatives, Rotary
  • Pattie Dupuis                       Downstreet Housing & Community Development
  • Faith Foley                            Burlington Housing Authority
  • Laura Furber                        Hunger Mountain Coop
  • Morgan Gray                       Vermont State Housing Authority
  • Lindsey  Hedges                  Steps to End Domestic Violence
  • Sarah Kenney                       Umbrella
  • Tamera Pariseau                 State of Vermont – DCF/Economic Services
  • Telma Patterson                 Vermont State Housing Authority
  • Liz Walsh                              The Drawing Board, EM Walsh Bookkeeping
  • Mary Wilson                        Vermont State Housing Authority

 “We are really excited about the breadth of experience our financial coaches bring to this program and to one another. They work across the sectors serving Vermonters and bring an incredible amount of professional knowledge to one another through this program. The one thread that brings them together is that the Vermonters they serve struggle with financial insecurity. By empowering these professionals as financial coaches, those they serve will benefit from this shared knowledge and the resources they now have access to,” offered Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way

“Becoming a Financial Coach has given me the tools I need to help people see that big dreams start with a little savings,” offered Ramsey Papp, Family Development Specialist at Capstone Community Action and K.E.E.P. Financial Coach.

For more information about K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches, go to gmunitedway.org/our-work/income/keep or call Green Mountain United Way at 802-613-3989.

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Green Mountain United Way Receives Grant Support from the Vermont Community Foundation’s NEK Fund and Vermont Mutual Charitable Foundation

Green Mountain United Way was recently the recipient of two competitive grants to support their work in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom. The Vermont Mutual Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of Vermont Mutual Insurance, granted $2500 to support the innovative K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program, a program while the Vermont Community Foundation’s Northeast Kingdom Fund has granted $5000 to fund a pilot program expanding the supports available to workers through the Working Bridges to families at the ABC & LOL Childcare Center in St. Johnsbury.

Executive Director Tawnya Kristen, Director of Community Engagement Carrie Stahler, and NEK Resource Coordinator Michelle Clark at the NEK Fund Grant Award Ceremony

“The NEK Fund Grant allows us to expand access to our Working Bridges program to the families served by ABC & LOL Childcare Center. One of the goals of Working Bridges is to create financial security. We have worked with the staff at this site and saw an opportunity to expand the circle of support to the children and their families. As many of us know, affording childcare in Vermont is a challenge for many families. It is our hope that we can relieve some of the pressure for these families by connecting them with resources they can use. This pilot also gives us the opportunity to continue to develop the Working Bridges program in our rural communities, where access to resources continues to be a challenge for many. We are grateful to our partners at the Vermont Community Foundation for working with us to close address this gap,” offered Carrie Stahler, Director of Community Engagement at Green Mountain United Way.

For additional information on the Working Bridges Program from Green Mountain United Way go to www.gmunitedway.org/working-bridges.

A $2500 grant from the Vermont Mutual Community Foundation will support the continued impact of the K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program. This unique and innovative program gives nonprofit, client-facing staff training in the emerging practice of Financial Coaching. In turn, these professionals work with their existing clients to set and achieve their financial goals that impact their lives. Through the program, both coaches and their nonprofit organizations receive ongoing support from United Way, peer-to-peer support from the 80 current financial coaches in Vermont, and ongoing education opportunities provided by experienced community partners, in addition to the initial financial literacy and coaching training they took to become certified. Financial coaching has broad-reaching impacts for clients served by a wide variety of nonprofits, including Capstone Community Action, county restorative justice centers, and a broad variety of organizations addressing food insecurity, housing, addiction services, mental health, adult education, and many more. Funding will support the implementation and support of the 80 current financial coaches throughout the state, and any new coaches to be trained in the next Introduction to Financial Coaching training to be held in 2020.

“The response to this program has been extremely positive from our nonprofit partners. The beauty of a program like this is that once coaches are trained and serving clients, they become the best resources for one another. These professionals are assisting clients each day and so many of our nonprofits serve people whose financial lives are unstable. This program addresses that underlying cause and offers the opportunity for professionals across nonprofits to become resources for one another. With the support of community-minded funders like the Vermont Mutual Community Foundation we are able to continue to increase access to this important knowledge and skillset,” said Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director at Green Mountain United Way.

For more information about K.E.E.P. Financial Coaches, go to gmunitedway.org/ keep or call Green Mountain United Way at 802-613-3989.

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The Phoenix-Vermont Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Just one year ago in December, Green Mountain United Way, The Phoenix, Green Mountain CrossFit, and Shannon Brennan partnered to bring the mission of The Phoenix to Vermonters in Central Vermont. Just one year later this partnership has opened access to this free sober active community at five locations throughout Northern Vermont and we are working to support the opening of the first Northeast Kingdom site in winter 2020!

The Phoenix-Vermont seeks to bring a free sober active community to individuals who have suffered from a substance use disorder and to those who choose to live sober. Using a peer support model, they help members heal and rebuild their lives while also striving to eliminate the stigma around recovery.

Highlights for the first year include the success of many members who make it to class each week and bring friends and family to support and join them. In addition, Phoenix-Vermont member Megan C, an original Phoenix VT member who has been showing up since the very first day, is now a certified CrossFit Level 1 CrossFit coach1 Megan currently coaches Phoenix Central classes on alternating Saturdays at Green Mountain CrossFit. Amazing!

Congratulations to our partners and the incredible people in recovery who inspire us each and every week with your hard work, determination, and grit. Keep up the great work!

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Green Mountain United Way’s 2019 Tatum’s Totes Holiday Drive Supports Over 225 Children and Families

Central Vermont and Northeast Kingdom Businesses Help Foster Kids through Green Mountain United Way Tatum’s Totes Holiday Drive

Montpelier, Vermont – January 10, 2020

This past December, employees at businesses and individual community members throughout Green Mountain United Way’s service region in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom came together to support the foster children and foster families served Department for Children and Families in the by the Barre, Newport, and St. Johnsbury districts by donating gifts.

In November and December, gifts for over 225 children and families were collected from participating businesses, individuals, and community groups including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, the First Congregational Church of Berlin, Denis, Ricker, & Brown Insurance, Edward Jones offices, Williamstown Blue Devils girls basketball team, Noyle Johnson Insurance, Rise Vermont, Union Mutual Insurance of Vermont, the Vermont Land Trust and VSECU.

Each participant “sponsored” a foster child or foster family and purchased a gift or two, like a book or toy for the child. These gifts were collected and organized by the Green Mountain United Way staff and volunteers.

“Each year during the holiday drive we have a front-row seat to watch the generosity of our community unfold. We are so fortunate to be able to help ensure that our community supports the children in foster care who most need to know that the entire community loves them and wants the best for them. This is just one small way that Green Mountain United Way and Tatum’s Totes can do that,” said Tawnya Kristen, Green Mountain United Way’s Executive Director.

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Julia K. Davis Joins Green Mountain United Way as Community Impact Program Manager

Green Mountain United Way is pleased to announce that Julia K. Davis as joined the organization as Community Impact Program Manager. She will manage Green Mountain United Way’s programmatic work including Working Bridges, K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching, as well as Tatum’s Totes.

A graduate of Kent State, Julia has been living in Vermont for 5 years working first in farming before moving to the Human Services Sector in various roles at Onion River Crossroads in Montpelier. Her work there focused on case management and direct service for girls in residential treatment. Through that experience, Julia’s passion for serving her community has developed and she sees her new role at Green Mountain United Ways as a way to deepen that commitment to service.  

“We are thrilled that Julia has joined us. Her experience working with young women in the foster care system has already helped to inform the work we do at United Way with Tatum’s Totes, and in implementing the various elements of the Working Bridges Program,” said United Way’s Executive Director Tawnya Kristen. “Her perspective and enthusiasm for service work are what we need to help move our programs forward to serve more Vermonters in our region.”

“Working with the children of Vermont families who are struggling moved me to take a step further in my work and look at the broader stories behind the families being separated, including better understanding the supports that might be missing in our communities. Vermont is a beautiful but difficult state to live in. I’m excited to be part of United Way and particularly the Working Bridges Program. What this program offers is incredible – access to available resources, individualized support for low-income families, financial coaching tools; accessibility is a big piece of the puzzle. I’m excited to grow and continue serving the community with this organization,” offered Davis, who lives in Plainfield.

In addition to her work at Green Mountain United Way, Julia is the lead singer and guitarist for the band Yestrogen and is passionate about climate justice.

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Green Mountain United Way selected as beneficiary of Shaw’s “Give Back Where It Counts” for January

Montpelier, Vermont – January 15, 2020

Green Mountain United Way has been selected as a beneficiary of the Shaw’s “Give Back Where It Counts” reusable bag program for the month of January. For each of the reusable shopping bags purchased at the Montpelier, Vt store, Green Mountain United Way will receive one dollar.

Shaw’s program was launched in April 2019 to facilitate community support, with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. The program features the reusable “Give Back Where It Counts” bag with a special tag attached that allows customers to direct a donation to the nonprofit of their choice upon purchase.

Green Mountain United Way was selected as a beneficiary of the program by store employees at Shaw’s in Montpelier. Green Mountain United Way will receive the donation every time the reusable bag is purchased at this location during the month of January unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.

“We are grateful to Shaw’s for selecting us for this program and their ongoing support of so many organizations in our community,” said Tawnya Kristen, Green Mountain United Way executive director. “Not only does this support directly toward helping those in our community, but by purchasing reusable bags shoppers are also taking a step toward creating more sustainability! That’s a win-win!”

Further information about Shaw’s “Give Back Where It Counts” reusable bag program can be found at www.shaws.bags4mycause.com. For more information about Green Mountain United Way contact Carrie Stahler, Green Mountain United Way, 73 Main Street, Montpelier, Vermont, 802-613-3989 or info@gmunitedway.org.

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