May 16, 2013
Saturday May 11th dawned a little chilly with some ominous looking clouds but that did nothing to deter the riders who took on the 55 mile Ride for Children route at 8am. The tent was full of seriously athletic looking women and men who moved between registration and the breakfast table with their bike shoes clicking on the pavement and their minds set on getting out onto the route that rolled through scenic Shelburne, Charlotte and Ferrisburgh. No sooner had they set off than the riders for the 30 mile and then 16 mile rides came into register, fill up on breakfast generously provided by Shelburne Supermarket, Starbucks and Hannaford and get their bikes checked out by the crew from North Star Sports. The 4 mile family ride participants were a bit more relaxed as their route was substantially shorter but their commitment to the bouncy house and the antics of Joey the clown was equally as intense as the 55 milers to their mileage!
All rides ended back at 50 Joy Drive where there was a post ride celebration with food from Boloco, Bluebird BBQ and Ben and Jerry’s, and fun activities. The sun was firmly out by this point and many of the riders took the time to relax, pick up some bargains at the Terry tent sale, and swap stories about the horrendous headwind on the southward part of the ride.
Over 126 people registered for this year’s Ride for Children and the total amount of money raised so far, thanks to their hard work at fundraising and the generous support of our sponsors, is $54,696! There is still time to donate at bike.lundvt.org
Thank you very much to everyone who rode, supported, volunteered and staffed the Lund Ride for Children. The funds raised will go directly to supporting the programs and services that Lund provides to help families thrive. Biking up a long hill with 45 miles already under the wheels might be have been hard for these riders but knowing that their efforts would be rewarded with life changing differences for children must have made those pedals a little easier to push.
Check out our facebook page for more pictures.
Thank you to our sponsors – PC Construction, Terry Bicycles, Local Motion, Fitness Options, Boloco, North Star Sports, Bluebird BBQ, Vermont Gas, Home Instead, Fletcher Allen Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Free Press Media, WCAX, Ben and Jerry’s, Good Health, Windows and Doors by Brownell, MP103, JB Kennedy and Associates and Casella Waste Management.
May 9, 2013
Everyone at Lund is very grateful to the National Life Group Foundation of Montpelier, VT for a recent $20,000 gift to the 50 Joy Drive Campaign. “The services Lund provides are critical to the well being of so many women, children and families in Vermont,” said Beth Rusnock, President of the National Life Group Foundation. “We’re so pleased to be able to help them do even more good with those they serve.”
The goal of the 50 Joy Drive Campaign is to complete the purchase of Lund’s new building which houses the adoption department, Lund’s business and development offices, the Early Education program, New Horizons, and many other offices of treatment, education and family programs that serve the clients in the community as well as those in Lund’s residential program. It is a hub for so much of Lund’ work and a busy place all day as people come in and out to appointments, meetings and attendance at many different programs. The fact that the building is located on Joy Drive is not something that goes unnoticed by the employees of Lund as they work every day to provide joy to their clients or witness joy from their clients. This latter especially true in the bright new green playground space at the back of the building!
As of April 26, a total of $1,842,000 has been committed to the Campaign, which was formally launched in March 2012. “A $1,000,000 commitment from the Hoehl Family Foundation and a $500,000 anonymous donation represent two very significant leadership gifts,” says David Huntington, Associate Campaign Director, who works with the Campaign Steering Committee co-chaired by Melinda Moulton and TJ Donovan. Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs are Governors Howard Dean and Jim Douglas.
“We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in this important effort,” says Huntington. “Personal solicitations, tours of 50 Joy Drive and direct-mail initiatives are ongoing; every gift matters.”
For more information about the campaign, please visit 50 Joy Drive Campaign.
Thank you to everyone at the National Life Group Foundation and all those who have supported the campaign so far.
May 3, 2013
Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Community Treatment and Beth Knox, Director of Development, were delighted to present the ‘Employee of the Quarter’ Award to Kath Laing, Grants and Contracts Manager this past Tuesday at Lund’s Glen Road residential treatment facility. Kath was celebrated for her hard work across many different programs at Lund and her unwavering commitment to the mission. Of the award she says, “I am very happy that my contributions seem to be making a positive impact at Lund. I am honored to be nominated by both Beth and Kim as I spend much of my time working across departments on initiatives to develop Lund as an organization.”
Kath has had a very busy quarter working on various special projects in addition to researching and writing many grants. She was instrumental in presenting Lund at the state legislature in Montpelier in March, helping Lund to secure and begin implementation of new software to effectively track programmatic outcomes, and helping Dr. Molly Rideout with the presentation that she made at Fletcher Allen’s Grand Rounds. Kath moves at speed in everything she does and her work truly spreads across every aspect of Lund.
Beth says, “Kath listens deeply and is a highly valued team member across departments. She understands Lund in a comprehensive way that makes her extremely effective in her work. Kath’s passion for Lund’s mission and Lund’s potential is evident and she strives to learn ways to create sustainable, effective, positive change within Lund.”
Kath spends her time and energy in so many different ways that benefit every client at Lund as well as every staff member yet can also be found covering the front desk and helping to stuff envelopes! She really is a team player.
Kath has worked at Lund for a little over two years and when not working she enjoys spending time outside with her three children.
April 22, 2013
“Doing family-centered work inside a prison can be very isolating and quite strange so it feels really validating and energizing to have our work acknowledged by our community partners,” said Jo Berger on Monday April 16th as she accepted the Gregory Packan Award for Outstanding Advocacy from KidSafe Collaborative on behalf of herself and her colleagues, Jess Kell and Crystal Fisher. The award was presented to Kids-A-Part for their work with incarcerated mothers and their children both inside and out of Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.
Jo went on to thank the staff who had preceded her and her colleagues at the program, the staff of the correctional facility, the staff at Lund and lastly the community. “We are proud to live in a county and state that is getting tired of the financial and social consequences of mass incarceration, and has made reforming our criminal justice system a top priority.”
The heart behind Kids-A-Part’s work was shown with an interaction that Jo described between a corrections officer and a small child. ” The officer knelt down and told the little boy, ‘Hey, you know that during the week I spend time with your mom and make sure she is safe. Yesterday she showed me the Sponge Bob card you sent her – it was really cool.’ Kids often imagine that the guards treat their moms badly, so this officer not only put the boy at ease in that moment but made him worry less about his mom for the next six months while she was away in prison.”
Associate Director of Residential and Community Treatment at Lund, Courtney Farrell, said of the event and her colleagues, “It was such a powerful reminder of the importance of this work as well as the importance of strong collaborations, which they have worked tirelessly to build in addition to all of their work with families.”
Kids-A-Part provides crucial support, comfort and education to children during the scary and confusing time of a mother’s incarceration and Lund is very proud of the work of this program.
April 11, 2013
Dr. Molly Rideout has been working with Lund since 2004 but, by her own admission, it took the impetus of a recent presentation at the UVM College of Medicine’s pediatric grand rounds for her to really understand the full scope of Lund’s many programs and services. She runs a Wednesday evening clinic for pregnant and parenting women and their children at the Glen Road residential treatment facility. She calculated that she has conducted over 1350 visits at this clinic in her time with Lund. The most common reasons for visits are upper respiratory infections and advice on weight gain and feeding for newborns. But Dr Molly’s influence stretches much further than this, she provides a safe space for clients to practice visiting the doctor, is an advocate for Lund in the Fletcher Allen Healthcare community and is a friendly and supportive presence to all the women and children at Lund.
Dr Lewis First of University Pediatrics introduced Dr. Molly at the recent grand rounds presentation and referred to her as “a true champion of children and families” and it quickly became clear that this was a very accurate introduction. She took real time and care to explain to the audience of medical students and professionals, all the different ways that Lund supports pregnant and parenting young women and their children.
Dr Molly brought a guest with her to the presentation to provide some first-hand experience of Lund. Dana arrived at Lund while pregnant and stayed for 10 months, until her son was 2 months old. She spoke eloquently of how Lund had helped her to maintain her sobriety, follow through with requirements from a recent arrest, and have a healthy pregnancy. Dana was resistant at first to the intervention of the programs at Lund but she was committed to making it through the program so that she would qualify for a housing voucher upon leaving. Unfortunately when she did leave there were no housing vouchers available but by that time she had come around to the help and support that she was being given. “Even though I was angry and unhappy at first, I followed the program and it was there that I fell in love with my child and I become really happy at Lund.” Dana has now been sober for 18 months, has reconnected with her family and is at school full time with applications in to nursing school.
During the presentation, Dana’s young son can be heard cooing and talking in the back of the auditorium and the audience members often turned to try and catch a glimpse of him. Dr. Molly also showed many slides of babies during her presentation. “Because,” she said lingering on a slide showing a picture of a smiling child, “that’s what it is all about.”
Thank you to Dr. Molly Rideout for all that she does for Lund.
April 1, 2013
Ann Bielawski, James Pizzagalli and Theresa Tomasi receive Heart of the Community Awards
“Great organizations make great communities,” said James Pizzagalli, one of Lund’s 2013 Heart of the Community Award winners at the awards dinner on March 28th and he made it clear that he sees Lund as one of these great organizations. Lund feels strongly about Pizzagalli too. His niece, Lisa Pizzagalli, who is President of Lund’s Board of Trustees introduced him as a “tremendous leader with a continued focus on children and families.” James Pizzagalli, of Shelburne, served on the Lund board for nine years from 1982 to 1991 and has continued to be a generous supporter and advisor as Lund has grown and changed over the years. He played an especially important role in helping Lund to secure a new building at 50 Joy Drive, the former home of Pizzagalli Properties. “Lund has developed into a tremendous organization,” said Pizzagalli, “and it’s great to be a part of it.”
Pizzagalli was not the only community member honored at the ceremony last Thursday night. Ann Bielawski and Theresa Tomasi were also celebrated for the impact that they have had on the women and children at Lund over the years.
Bielawski, of Charlotte, began by baking cookies for volunteers at a Lund phonathon and hasn’t looked back since. She has worked tirelessly on many projects varying from serving on the archives committee preserving Lund’s history, engaging members of Charlotte Congregational Church to also support Lund, putting together Back-to-School backpacks to filling in for the nurse at the residential treatment facility. “I am so grateful to be here,” says Bielawski, “and grateful to be a volunteer at Lund.”
“Theresa is Lund,” said Wanda Audette, Director of Adoption at Lund, as she introduced Theresa Tomasi mother of 27 children and recipient of a Heart of the Community Award. “I am inspired by her dedication to the growth and potential of her children and her family,” continued Audette. Tomasi, of Williston, served as Executive Director at Lund and was the one who hired Audette. “Lund has been very important to me, professionally and personally. I am so grateful to Lund and so grateful for all my children,” said Tomasi who was joined at the awards dinner by five of her children all of whom had been adopted.
The dinner was held at the Burlington Country Club and the delicious meal was augmented by chocolates donated by Lake Champlain Chocolates and cupcakes from My Little Cupcake that well very well received by the guests. Thank you to both of these businesses for their support.
Lund is so grateful for the support of all three of these wonderful honorees and the many and varied ways in which they uphold the mission of Lund to help children and families thrive. Their vision, perseverance and love is felt through every aspect of the organization.
March 26, 2013
It’s 10am on a bright, cold morning in March and we are at a suburban middle school in Chittenden County. Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Specialist, Laura May Ackley, has come with two clients of Lund to present to eighth grades classes as part of Lund’s teen pregnancy prevention program. I have come as an observer and I knew that this would be an interesting experience but I did not realize just quite how powerful it would be. We gather in the gym with about thirty 13 and 14 year olds sitting on the bleachers. Emma*, a 17-year-old currently living in Independence Place – Lund’s transitional housing program – is nervous. Laura May comforts her, “You’ll be fine.” “I might vomit,” she says. “I’ll clear it up,” says Laura May, ever willing to support her clients. Her presence is calming and loving – she carries a large bag of snacks in case anyone gets hungry during the presentations. But there is no need of a mop and bucket for Laura May. Emma begins to speak confidently and clearly as she describes the story of how she became pregnant with her son Ben and how her life has changed since.
Emma was 14 when she and her boyfriend decided to try and have a baby so that Emma could prevent an impending move away from her boyfriend with whom she was really felt she was in love. They weren’t using protection and their plan quickly worked. During her pregnancy, she moved back and forth between foster homes and her mom’s house. It was a very rough pregnancy and she suffered from a debilitating thyroid condition. It didn’t become much easier when her son, Ben, was born. He suffered from colic and she had to feed him every half an hour. She got no sleep, had very little support from her mom or from her boyfriend. She had broken up with him two months into her pregnancy.
Now living at Independence Place with support from various different programs at Lund, Emma is focused on her dream of becoming a medical professional and moving to be closer to Ben’s father who, she says, does the best that he can but that he is 17 also and is in school. Ben is now two years old and a willful toddler with his own ideas about how things should be done. “He runs around and yells all day from the moment he wakes up until the moment he goes to sleep,” she tells the middle schoolers. “Anything I have becomes his, he eats all my food. You have to choose between getting something for yourself or for your child and he always needs something.”
Next to speak is 20-year-old Mara, mother of 2 and ½ year old twin girls. Mara was 16 when she became pregnant despite using two forms of birth control. Her boyfriend was 23. She was a star athlete at her high school with a full scholarship lined up to play lacrosse at UVM. She was not allowed to stay at her high school because they thought she was a bad influence, she lost her scholarship, her parents did not want to help and her boyfriend had gone to jail. She was alone. While she was living with her ex-boyfriend’s mother, her pregnancy suddenly took a dramatic turn for the worse when she was 19 weeks along. She was put on immediate bed rest at the hospital and stayed on bed rest until she gave birth to her twins at 38 weeks and 4 days. “All I had to look forward to were my doctor’s appointments,” she tells the students, smiling slightly, “I was on bed rest for almost 20 weeks.” Mara looks bemused as if she cannot quite fathom how she managed to do this. She doesn’t hold back in sharing the details of her delivery with the students. “This might be too grotesque for you, but I had a c-section and I could feel them moving around inside me. It’s real, it was horrible.” The students look perturbed. It doesn’t get much better for them when she describes how she had to breastfeed her babies because she couldn’t afford formula and how they needed to eat every half an hour. Sleep was an almost unheard of luxury, she only could manage about 4 or 5 hours in a 24 hour period.
The students are paying full attention, there is no fidgeting, whispering or staring into space. They are fully absorbing the stories that these women are telling.
Mara goes on to talk about how, once the babies were six months old, she finished her high school education at Lund’s New Horizons Educational Program and then enrolled at CCV with the assistance of her Reach Up Case Manager at Lund. She is now studying radiology through the single parents program at Champlain College. It’s a busy life and she has no time for friends or going out but she is committed to a better life for her children.
The floor is opened for questions and the students want to know about how much money the women have to live on. They speak about having so little money left after taking care of their children’s needs that they often can only afford to eat chicken nuggets and ramen noodles. Reach Up grants and food stamps only go so far and babies needs’ are great and expensive. They don’t have money to go out, they say, even if they could ever have the chance. The teacher asks Mara to speak a little more about what it felt like to lose her scholarship at UVM. “It was my dream since second grade,” she says, “It was a free ride, I was signed up for four years of tuition, I could have lived on campus. I sometimes think about what it could have been like. But my big dream is gone.”
When asked about what they want for the future, both women speak of their hopes for their children first before referring to themselves. And even then their hopes are for things that will ultimately benefit their children – good jobs, to get off state assistance. Mara says that she would like to coach lacrosse one day. “I have quarter of a team already,” she says with a laugh. “I want to be a pediatrician, to work in the NICU. But mostly to have a stable home for my son. And have 2 more kids,” says Emma. “In ten years,” she adds hurriedly.
The students have heard a lot in this presentation and their teacher afterwards tells the women that it means so much more coming from them than weeks of learning the statistics and listening to teacher report on the experience of others. For these women it is a reality that they will never be able to leave. Life is not about prom and sleepovers but it is about trying to get your two-year old to stop running around and screaming and put his boots on when you need to leave the house. This morning has been about sharing their experience in the hope that it will stop others from making the same choices.
I am inspired by the courage that these young women show in telling their stories to a crowd of strangers, of admitting that their choices were not the best ones but being proud of their lives now and how they are working so hard to make better lives for their children. I am amazed at their good humor, their upbeat energy and their eagerness to talk with me, to bring me into their experience, show me pictures of their children on their phones. It has been a privilege to attend this panel and I am so thankful for the work that Lund is doing every day with women like Emma and Mara.
When asked to leave some last advice for the students, Mara speaks to them simply and from the heart. “ Wait, I beg you to wait. I just want to see better for you guys, better than I had.”
*Names have been changed
March 19, 2013
We are very please to announce that Lund’s Kids-A-Part Parenting Program has been awarded the Greg Packan Outstanding Children’s Advocacy Award by the KidSafe Collaborative. This award is given on the grounds of “strong and diligent advocacy on behalf of child victims of abuse and neglect.” Sally Borden, Executive Director of the KidSafe Collaborative celebrates the KAP Parenting Program’s “creation of an environment that meets concerns but also provides a playful, engaging and safe place for moms and kids to interact – thus creating as much normalcy as possible for kids who are going through a very abnormal situation. Kids-A-Part makes a tremendous impact.”
Kids-A-Part employees, Jo Berger, Crystal Fisher and Jess Kell, will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 16th in Burlington. Lund is very proud of these women and their dedication to and hard work for children who suffer due to their mother’s incarceration. Kids-A-Part has a location inside the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility where mothers and children can interact and spend time together as well as offices at Lund’s Joy Drive location. The program offers a variety of services, including education and advocacy, as well as direct services, such as parenting education, communication skills, financial assistance, and referrals to other community resources to children and families affected by a parent’s incarceration
Kidsafe Collaborative is an organization that works with various agencies around Vermont to protect children and prevent child abuse.
March 15, 2013
Your support will enable us to continue to help children thrive–contributions of $250 and up will be recognized within the building.
For 122 years Lund has been a stalwart supporter of Vermont’s children and families, helping break cycles of abuse, poverty and addiction. Our new facility at 50 Joy Drive, South Burlington, is home to nationally-acclaimed programs in adoption, early childhood and parent education, and life skills and job training programs.
March 6, 2013
In Associate Director of Residential and Community Treatment, Courtney Farrell’s, speech announcing this quarter’s recipient of the award she said, “Jess works to develop strong collaborations in all that she does and truly recognizes that her work with families is only as good as her own relationships with others involved with the family. Jess strives to develop trusting and supportive relationships with not only the mothers she is working with in the prison, but with all of the program providers, caretakers, volunteers and especially with the children.” Jess Kell has been the Kids-A-Part Parenting Program Coordinator for more than five years. She helps everyone around her to be thoughtful of the child’s experience visiting the prison and supports those around her to keep the focus on the well being of the child. We are truly grateful for all her amazing work. Congratulations to Jess.