November 29, 2013
Do you have a North Country Federal Credit Union Kasasa checking account?
Do you use your North Country Federal Credit Union Kasasa checking account debit card?
Excellent! Every time you swipe your Kasasa debit card in December, North Country Federal Credit Union will donate 5 cents to Lund’s Adoption program. Thank you to North Country Federal Credit Union for supporting Lund in this way.
For those of you who are interested in opening a Kasasa checking account, please go to the website at http://www.northcountry.org/home/personal/checking. But do it before December! North Country Federal Credit Union is NCUA insured.
November 25, 2013
As the season of Thanksgiving comes upon us, we at Lund are so grateful for the supporter of our generous friends and donors who have supported us over the years. We could not do the work that we do without contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. When you give a gift to Lund you are directly supporting the many programs and services that Lund provides to over 4800 women, men and children every year. Thank you for your support.
“I can’t say thank you enough to Lund, to my team specifically and to all the people who give time and money to keep this program running every day. This program saved my life and my daughter’s life together.” Lund client.
We are again asking for your support this year as we look to raise over $100,000 during our end of year appeal. We need you.
Please click the links below to read the stories of women, children and families who are directly supported by your donation.
Hailey, Max and Chantelle’s Story – Hailey is a single mom to a 3 year old girl and a 4 year old boy struggling to provide a stable home for the family. Lund’s Early Childhood Program represents the only stability in their lives.
Dana’s Story – Dana’s adoptive mom struggled with Dana’s attachment issues and the trauma of her past but has the family has received hope and support through Lund’s Post Permanency Counseling.
Kelli, Chris and Jeff’s Story - Kelli worries about her sons during her incarceration but Lund’s Kids-A-Part program helps to ease the pain of separation.
Denise and Jayden’s Story – Denise came straight from jail, nine months pregnant with her son, to Lund’s residential treatment center where she found the help she so desperately needed.
Tina and Sienna’s Story - Tina found out what living really meant when she and her daughter arrived at Lund.
November 21, 2013
Amie Baker, a case manager who works with Lund and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to help families get access to substance abuse treatment services, has shown tenacity and courage in her work with Vermont children and families and is a wonderful and worthy recipient of the first Jeff Small Pioneer Award. This award was established earlier this year as a tribute to long serving board member and former board president Jeff Small’s commitment to getting things done during his board tenure.
“I feel honored to receive this award,” said Amie. “My position has been part of a collaboration between two agencies that have both worked very hard to secure the service that I provide. I am thankful to have the support of Lund and DCF and I feel grateful to have my work recognized with this award.” Amie has worked at Lund in this position since 2008 but also previously interned at Lund and worked in the early childhood program.
The collaboration between the two agencies, DCF and Lund, is something that Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Community Treatment Services, also spoke about as she presented Amie with the award referring to her skills at building partnerships and getting everyone to commit to the same priorities and goals. “I can tell you without a second of hesitation that families and children are better off because of Amie’s work. Social work practice is better. We are better,” said Kim. “Amie has not only been a leader, a change agent and a risk taker, she has done so with bravery, motivation, determination, kindness and compassion and creativity.
“I enjoy the change that I see in families as they access the necessary supports,” said Amie. “I enjoy doing work that makes a notable difference in the community.”
Congratulations to Amie on being the first ever recipient of the Jeff Small Pioneer Award. All the children and families that are served by Lund and DCF are lucky to have such a fantastic support on their side.
November 19, 2013
When Graham Kidder was announced at the all staff retreat as the Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Year, everyone jumped to their feet in congratulatory applause. Graham is a permanency planning counselor who works with the Brattleboro and Springfield Department of Children and Families offices in southern Vermont. Over the past twelve and a half years he has finalized the adoption for over 300 children previously in foster care.
“Graham doesn’t just sit back and wait for things to happen,” said Wanda Audette, Director of Adoption who presented Graham with the award, “he makes them happen. He is a streadfast support, creative thinker and an immense resource. He believes that adults really need to listen to children and that their voices deserve to be heard. It is Graham’s absolute insistence that it is not OK to settle for good enough.”
Wanda told two stories that illustrated Graham’s dedication to his work. She spoke of a little boy who had been very close to the finalization of his adoption when the pre-adoptive family decided that they could not go forward with the adoption. This was a devastating blow for the child. Graham immediately sprang into action and worked very closely with the boy and his team to identify another placement. He had to think creatively to find a placement but did so and worked with the family to support them through the finalization of this adoption. This boy has a forever family because Graham understood and prioritized the importance of family. Wanda also spoke of a 15 year old girl who Graham drove with to Massachusetts so that she could be featured as an Adopt US Kids Wednesday’s child which is something that cannot be done in Vermont due to different adoption regulations. Graham stops at nothing to find homes for children and in so doing has also become a valuable resource for other adoption workers with difficult or problematic cases.
Graham feels overwhelmed and honored by the award and spoke of how much he enjoys his relationship with other adoption workers at Lund despite the geographical distance. “I have to make independent decisions based upon what a certain situation calls for in the moment, since I work so far away from Lund and I am thankful for the support I have in doing that. When asked about something that reinforces the importance of his job, he spoke of a girl who he had helped to find a family for being a counselor at his daughter’s camp last summer. “It was wonderful to see how far she has come and how confident she is now.” There is no doubt that Graham takes on his work with compassion, understanding and real pride.
Wanda read congratulatory words from his children at the end of her address that sum up the award very well. “We are so proud that you help kids get a family. Every kid deserves a nice home and you work very hard to help them have that. Kids are so lucky to have you to help them find their family. You must make them feel good because you help them to feel that everything will be ok.”
Congratulations Graham on your award and the wonderful work that you do every day. Lund and the children of Vermont are so lucky to have you.
November 15, 2013
Join the adoption staff at Lund to celebrate on November 25th from 4pm to 7pm at our 50 Joy Drive building. We will be serving refreshments and taking family photos. And having a lot of fun of course as we celebrate families coming together and children finding permanent homes.
Did you know these adoption facts?
1. Lund finalized 188 adoptions last year. 170 children were adopted from foster care and 18 infants were placed with forever families!
2. The adoption staff at Lund have over 114 years of experience between them.
3. Lund staff members have been involved with 4 Angel in Adoption Awards.
4. Then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis instituted Adoption Week in 1976 to promote the need for homes for children waiting in foster care. In 1995, President Bill Clinton expanded it to a whole month.
5. There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S right now, as you read this sentence.
Every year the President addresses the nation on adoption during the month of November. Here is an excerpt from his 2013 speech:
“Every young person deserves the chance to learn and grow under the care of a loving family. Across our Nation, adoptive families give that chance to over a million children and teenagers. During National Adoption Month, we celebrate these families and stand alongside every child still looking for the warmth and stability of a permanent home.”
This is what National Adoption Month is really about – finding homes for children who need them. As we approach a time of year when family and tradition are so important and so present in our lives, it is really important to remember that there are many children in Vermont and across the country who cannot yet count on the security of a forever family. If you would like more information on pursuing foster care adoption in Vermont, please click here.
Happy National Adoption Month and we look forward to seeing you to celebrate on the 25th!
November 11, 2013
Congratulations are in order for Laura May Ackley who was named Employee of the Quarter last week. Laura May is Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Specialist and works with Lund’s community and residential clients to provide education on birth control options including helping them to schedule and get to medical appointments. Laura May also coordinates the outreach program which brings young mothers to schools and community groups to talk to students about the reality of being pregnant and having a child while still a teenager. Last year over 848 individuals were reached by this program.
Laura May is a key part of the New Horizons Education Program teaching team and is far more than just a resource on birth control for the students. “She is available to support them regarding accessing health and other basic resources. The students seek her out regularly to ask questions related to their pregnancy, sexual health and in accessing resources and supports in the area for their families,” says Tammy Santamore, Learning Together Coordinator at Lund. “I believe that Laura May’s presence at NHEP has been a significant factor in engaging the students to remain at the school.”
Recently Laura May went above and beyond her job duties to help a client to set up a new life for herself and her children away from a situation of domestic violence. She helped the client to negotiate the legal, financial and practical steps that she needed to take in order to ensure her own safety and a brighter future for her family. Laura May’s impact on the life of this young woman and her children has been extremely significant and she did not for one moment hesitate in doing all that needed to be done.
Laura May is always one of the first staff members to volunteer her help at events which benefit Lund, from scooping ice cream at the Ride for Children to speaking about Lund’s programs and services at community groups to helping out at the Adoption Picnic. “Laura May is respected by her peers, community partners and clients. She upbeat, sensitive to the needs of clients and goes above and beyond everyday to help support the mission of Lund,” says Tammy. Congratulations, Laura May on this award. It is very well deserved.
October 24, 2013
Hope Works is an organization based in Burlington that is dedicated to ending all forms of sexual violence. They work to be a leading voice in Vermont advocating for meaningful and effective change in law and society that will help them achieve that goal. THey provide a wide range of services to help and support those whose lives have been affected by sexual violence. Through education and outreach they spread their message to both women and men in order to keep the conversation about how to end sexual violence current in society. It is far too prevalent and far too important for these discussions to be ignored.
One of the most moving and effective methods that they have to keep visible is ‘The Clothesline Project’. This is a national outreach and awareness campaign which displays t-shirts that holding messages of hurt, healing, and courage. They are pinned onto clotheslines for visibility and so a topic which is often silenced in society becomes very public. It is an obvious “airing out of dirty laundry” in a way that makes the passerby stop to read and absorb the messages. The messages on the T-shirts are sometimes poignant and upsetting but at the same time show the seething strength of women who are not willing to be silent victims any longer.
Last week, visitors came from Hope Works to visit New Horizons Education Program to talk to the students about their work and to help them inscribe T shirts to hang up at Lund on our own clothesline. It was a chance for the students to learn about the services and supports offered by Hope Works and to engage in conversations about sexual violence in the community. “The students came together around the issue of domestic abuse towards women and shared stories,” says Ben Irish, teacher at NHEP. “I could see from sitting at the same table that each student felt more empowered as we worked through The Clothesline Project. One student dedicated her t-shirt to Melissa Jenkins, her friend’s teacher at St. Johnsbury Academy who was murdered last year. Another student wrote the message on her t-shirt that read, ‘Don’t just stand there, do something’. I believe this project gave students an outlet to speak out against violence towards women in and safe and comfortable way.”
The Lund clothesline is hanging in the front lobby at 50 Joy Drive and is one of the first things that visitors see when they enter the building. It is a powerful statement and we are proud at Lund to be able to participate in this very important community conversation.
October 23, 2013
This coming Saturday, October 26th is National Prescription Drug Take-Back day and there will be many sites around the state where you can bring old, unused, excess or expired regulated drugs to be safely and responsibly disposed. This is also an opportunity for law enforcement agencies to educate the public about prescription drug abuse. According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs than the number of those who regularly used cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined. That same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet. If the drugs are not in the medicine cabinets unnecessarily, it is an important step towards reducing the extremely prevalent problem of prescription drug abuse in Vermont.
In Burlington, you can bring prescription drugs to the police station on North Avenue or to Price Chopper on Shelburne Road from 10am to 2pm. You can find the full list of drop off locations here: vsp.vermont.gov/drugtakeback
Last year 3045lbs of drugs were collected in Vermont and 742,497lbs were collected nationally. This brings the total amount of drugs collected since the inception of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in 2010 to 2.8 million lbs or 1409 tons. These drugs never found their way on to the street or into the hands of anyone who would be tempted to misuse them.
The conversation around opiate addiction in Chittenden County has always focused on a three part approach – prevention, treatment and punishment for offenders. This take back initiative and the opportunities for education that it provides is a key part of prevention.
If you cannot bring your unwanted prescriptions on Saturday, please read the following advice about how to safely dispose of medicines:
1. Take them out of the bottle
2. Mix them in with something unappealing like coffee grounds or kitty litter
3. Seal the mixture in a bag and throw the whole thing away.
4. Please do not flush prescription drugs as they can contaminate the water supply and be harmful to the environment.
For more information, visit the US DEA website
October 21, 2013
What better way to spend a morning than taking some time to admire the view from the Great Room at Main Street Landing, enjoy a Skinny Pancake breakfast and learn about one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Burlington? Surely many of the guests a recent event hosted by Melinda Moulton couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend their time. Business leaders from across Burlington were invited to hear Melinda, Rick Davis of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s children, Governor Jim Douglas, State’s Attorney for Chittenden County T.J. Donovan and Lund’s Executive Director Barbara Rachelson speak about why it is crucial that they support the work of Lund.
Melinda introduced the event by making reference to Lund’s 123 year history as an organization that provides comprehensive treatment, education and support services to women, children and families as well being Vermont’s oldest and largest adoption agency. All of the speakers spoke of how investment in Lund’s programs makes economic sense as to put money into treatment of substance abuse disorders, early childhood education and support towards self sufficiency now significantly saves the tax payer later on. T.J. Donovan spoke of how it costs $79,000 a year to pay for one woman’s incarceration and that the state spends more money on corrections than it does on higher education. By making strategic investments in substance abuse treatment programs and focussing on finding homes for young people before they age out of the foster care system the number of women incarcerated will decrease.
T.J. also spoke about the huge saving, around $4.8 million in 2013, that was a result of the 183 foster care adoptions that took place between July 1st 2011 and June 30th 2012. Finding forever families for every child in foster care is the number one priority for Project Family, Lund’s innovative partnership with the Vermont Department for Children and Families. This of course benefits the children by providing the loving security of a permanent home but it also has a hugely positive financial impact. Governor Douglas spoke of an conversation that he had with foster children during his tenure as governor and he asked them what was the most helpful thing he could so for them. “Stop bouncing us around from home to home, ” came the answer. Children need the consistency of a forever family and that is what Lund is striving for. Barbara Rachelson brought to tears to more than just a few eyes a she read from a letter from a foster child who had recently been adopted.
The point of this event was to introduce Lund to people who had not heard of the organization before or had only vague or inaccurate ideas about the programs. Benjy Adler, CEO of the Skinny Pancake, was quick to admit that he knew little about Lund before attending this event, “I had no idea that Lund was so old or, frankly, what the organization did. Everything I learned about Lund surprised me.” Operating a business in the heart of Old North End, one of the most economically troubled areas of town, Benjy says that he sees first hand the effects that drug abuse, child neglect and poverty can have on a community. “I see the destructive forces of addiction & generational poverty fully on display every day. It is frustrating & bewildering and frankly, seems like it has been getting worse in the last 1 – 2 years. At the Chubby Muffin, we have had several attempted burglary and a few successful ones. One time, they broke in the door and destroyed the cash register before the alarm scared them off. Most recently, we had a neighbor addicted to pills routinely stealing our tips.” These are problems faced by everyone in the community and all the attendees were invited to participate in the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign and help Lund to provide support, help and treatment to women,children and families as they seek to break the cycles of abuse, addiction and poverty.
Thank you to everyone who attended this event and our generous hostess and true friend to Lund, Melinda Moulton. To learn more about the 50 Joy Drive Campaign. Please watch our campaign video.