Green Mountain United Way Day of Action Volunteer Projects

Day of Action is United Way’s Annual Volunteer Day on Tuesday, June 21. Contact Carrie at Green Mountain United Way at 802-622-8056 or cstahler(at)gmunitedway (dot) org with questions or to participate. We ask that you contribute a 4 hour shift (other options are possible, please email or call for more information). Detailed information will be provided to those who register for projects.

Register online at

NSBatCrsVTTrl#1212-01Project #1 – Volunteer Morning at OUR House in downtown Barre Tuesday, June 21 at 9am – TBD (timeline is dependent upon quantity of volunteers)

Use your volunteer time to make a difference in your community. For the Day of Action 2016 Green Mountain United Way is hosting a clean-up at OUR House in downtown Barre. We’ll be staining their handicap ramps, painting exterior doors, sweeping and cleaning the parking area, lawn, and street-facing flower bed. No special skills are needed and painting materials and snacks will be provided.

About OUR (One Unified Response) House: A Children’s Advocacy Center and Special Investigations Unit committed to providing a safe and supportive environment to assist child victims, adult survivors, and non-offending family members in the discovery, intervention, healing, and prevention of child sexual abuse. OUR House serves Washington County, in central Vermont.


Project #2 – Volunteer Afternoon at Sexual Assualt Crisis Team (SACT) Offices and Shelter in downtown Barre Tuesdsay, June 21 (timeline is dependent upon quantity of volunteers)

Use your volunteer time to make a difference in your community. For the Day of Action 2016 Green Mountain United Way is hosting a clean-up at SACT in downtown Barre. We’ll be power washing their building, mowing the lawn, sweeping porches & parking area, and trimming bushes and plants outdoors and doing general spring cleaning inside their shelter’s shared spaces. No special skills are needed, bring a push broom, pruners, and garden or leather gloves if you have them. We will start our work at OUR House then transition to SACT to continue the day.

About the Sexual Assault Crisis Team: a non-profit volunteer organization founded to serve the needs of female and male victims of sexual violence in Washington County. They offer 24-hour services and support to victims of sexual violence. Their goal is to eliminate sexual violence and work toward changing public attitudes about sexual assault.



Project #3 – Trail Maintenance with Mad River Riders in the Mad River Valley – Saturday, June 25 at 9am

Join the Mad River Riders out on the beautiful mountain bike trails of the Mad River Valley for a day of trail maintenance. Mad River Riders will provide experienced trail builders to lead you as you help rake, trim and clean up trails in preparation for a season of riding and the arrival of the Vermont Mountain Bike Festival on these volunteer-built and maintained trails. Most of this work will entail raking with iron rakes and leaf rakes, but some rock moving might be involved as well.

All work will take place outdoors, so please be prepared to assist in any of Vermont’s many potential weather conditions. Remember to wear good boots, preferably with a protective toe, and to bring gloves and safety glasses. We will be raking, benching and installing drainage and rock armor. Please bring rock and leaf rakes, benching tools, such as grub hoes, rock picks and pulaskis. Extra hand tools will be available. If there is heavy rain, (snow, sleet, etc.) this day will be rescheduled.

About Mad River Riders

The Riders’ 45+ mile network features the most popular Mad River Valley trailheads for biking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, including the beginner-friendly Blueberry Lake trails in the Green Mountain National Forest and classic technical trails in Camel’s Hump and Phen Basin State Forests. Mad River Riders has been creating opportunities for getting outdoors in the Mad River Valley for 30 years.


Download Flyer HERE:  GreenMountainUnitedWayDayofAction2016 (2)

Download Team/Company Sign up sheet HERE:  DayofActionVolunteerSignUp


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New Specialized Call-line at Vermont 2-1-1

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Update


Vermont 2-1-1

New Specialized Call-line at Vermont 2-1-1

Vermont 2-1-1, a program of the United Ways of Vermont, is now hosting a Help Me Grow Vermont call line to answer parent and caregiver questions about children’s behavior and development and connect families to resources and services in their community. Trained Help Me Grow Vermont Child Development Specialists staff this line. You can reach the Help Me Grow Vermont line by dialing 2-1-1 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. You can leave messages for the Child Development Specialists after hours, as Vermont 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help Me Grow Vermont 2-1-1 services are confidential. Dial 2-1-1 today!

A Big Thank You

Thank you to White & Burke employees for volunteering to distribute hundreds of Vermont 2-1-1 and Help Me Grow marketing materials. Pictured are from left to right: Emily Shaw, Joe Weith, Gail Henderson-King, David White, Paul Simon, Stephanie Hainley.

Vermont 2-1-1
Monthly Call
Volume Report

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

November’s warmer than usual weather has kept the call volume total lower than is typical for this time of year. Calls for information and referral assistance totaled 2,853, a number that represents a clear postponement of the traditional spike in seasonal calls for after-hours emergency housing and utility assistance.  As a whole, the Basic Needs Category has dropped 25% since November 2014 and both the milder temperatures and the lower gas/oil prices have clearly contributed to this decline.

In an unprecedented “reversal”, the call center received over 1,000 fewer calls in November than in October of this year for referrals to the Agency of Human Services’ emergency housing program. Call numbers have never been this low since the program’s inception in 2010. This does not mean, however, that local non-profits are any less busy serving Vermonters in their warming shelters.  Many warming shelters across the state are serving individuals and families seeking shelter and even some “overflow shelters” are rapidly filling. These mostly volunteer-run, cold weather shelters will serve the most vulnerable members of Vermont’s communities and, once winter finally arrives, most will fill to capacity each night.  Vermont 2-1-1 Contact Specialists, acutely aware that this November’s “heat wave” is a Vermont winter weather anomaly, are bracing for the surge in calls for assistance that will come as soon as the harsh cold sets in!

A vivid reminder that the holiday season can be an emotionally and financially stressful time for many is November’s spike in referrals to Individual and Family Support services. Call volume jumped to an all-time high for this year.  Referrals to Holiday Programs for Vermonters requesting information about   gift and food programs for their families for the holidays make up 75% of this sub-category.

As we move closer to the end of 2015, may we reflect on the positive outcomes that our collective efforts have achieved, and renew our commitment to the continued collaborative effort that keeps us on the path to improving the health and well-being of all members of our Vermont community.

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

Wellness Matters!

Vermont 2-1-1 Resource Specialists are in the field learning about community resources all the time. Check out this resource corner to learn about the latest updates, timely information and stories from the field.

Our busy and sometimes stressful lives have a toll on our bodies and our minds. Wellness is the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind. Wellness programs present an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.

There are many programs throughout Vermont that focus on Wellness.  Wellness programs are typically holistic and combine a variety of components which may include physical fitness, eating habits, sources of stress, and other lifestyle elements that are potential risk factors.  Learning and implementing good habits in these areas can potentially impact all phases of one’s life: home, work, and relationships.  Most Vermont hospitals (listed in our database) have Wellness calendars that highlight local activities and support groups.  Search the Vermont 2-1-1 database for any of the following terms:

Emergency Housing Needs 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.

Even during November’s warmer than usual weather, emergency housing remains a need, as evidence by the 245 total requests received by Emergency Housing Specialists. Read November’s Emergency Housing report here.



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Be Bear Aware

The mountains and forests that make for great hiking and camping also serve as prime bear habitat. While living and recreating with bears is nothing new in Vermont and negative incidents in the backcountry are rare, it is important to remember that they do occur.

There has been recent bear activity in the Camel’s Hump area. Numerous reports of bears breaking into food caches, privies, and equipment at Hump Brook and Montclair Glen overnight sites resulted in the temporary closure of camping at these facilities. Both sites are now open.

The Green Mountain Club worked with agency Bear Aware Signpartners from Vermont Fish & Wildlife and Forests, Parks and Recreation to install bear-safe food storage containers and signs educating hikers about proper food preparation and storage in the backcountry.

Bears are opportunists; they are attracted to food and smells found at campsites and if rewarded with successful foraging, can become habituated to human food. Following Leave No Trace Principles and keeping food secure will allow hikers to be able to continue to camp in bear active areas.

These simple guidelines will ensure the safety of you, hikers following in your footsteps, and bears who inhabit the area around you:

  • Cook meals away from your tent or shelter.
  • Do not eat in your tent or shelter.
  • Do not leave food scraps when preparing your meal or cleaning up.
  • Secure food and other smellables (toothpaste, soap, deodorant, bug spray, etc.) in a bear-proof container or hang it in a tree at least 100 feet away from camp.
  • Pack out and properly dispose of all garbage and waste.
  • Do not store or leave food in shelters or at tent sites. (Cans hanging in shelters should not be used for food storage.)
  • If a bear enters your campsite, yell and make noise to scare it away.

While bears can be dangerous and have the capacity to hurt humans, they are typically shy and elusive. More often than not, they will sense your presence in the woods and move away without you ever knowing they were there.

In rare cases, when you do see a bear, you can do the following to keep yourself and the bear safe:

  • Remain calm.
  • Back away slowly while maintaining eye contact.
  • If a bear approaches you, make noise, wave your arms above your head, and try to scare it away. 
  • Do not turn and run, as this may trigger the bear’s instinct to chase you.
  • If attacked, fight back with all means available and do not play dead. 

Bear HangHikers on Vermont’s trails have coexisted safely with bears and other wildlife for generations. This is one of the reasons that many of us enjoy spending time in Vermont’s woods. It is our responsibility to be bear aware and to keep food secure in order to protect ourselves and keep the bears safe and wild.

For more information on living and recreating with black bears, please visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website.
Thank you,

Michael DeBonis
Executive Director

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