June 19, 2013
What do you get when you mix lemon juice + water + sugar + Lund employees? Tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, onions, beans and flowers, of course!
How does this all add up?
The older toddlers and their teachers recently pursued a novel way to acquire plants for their newly established raised beds by running a homemade lemonade stand where the refreshing treat was handed over in exchange for a plant for their garden. Setting up outside Lund’s new building at 50 Joy Drive, the children encouraged staff members to stop by and try their lemonade. They had plenty of willing customers who handed over tomato plants, strawberry plants, carrot seeds and more.
Early childhood educator, Laura Murphy, explained that there was also a strong educational component behind this exercise as well as it being a great way to fill their garden beds. “It’s about social interactions for the children and it is also about responsibility and following through on the commitment that we made to the community. They might not necessarily want to be making lemonade all day but we said that we would be here so we need to follow through on that. There is also a lot of science involved. We experimented with lemonade recipes and the children practiced measuring and adapting the quantities to make the lemonade taste good.”
The children were enthusiastic in greeting their customers, handing over lemonade with fancy straws and receiving the plants for their garden. Having a firm connection to the food that they eat is an important aspect of the nutrition program at LECP.
June 14, 2013
When I was 18 and a senior in high school, I became a statistic; a statistic that would affect me for the rest of my life. At age 18 I became one of the 34% of teen girls in the US to become pregnant before age 20. Shortly after becoming pregnant with my son Ryan, my high school principal informed me that I could not graduate with my class due to excessive absences. Despite the fact that my sporadic attendance was due to hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) and was documented by medical professionals, I was being refused the safety net that a high school diploma ensures. I was discouraged but not completely deterred. I found Lund, then known as the Lund Family Center (LFC).
It was through Lund that I sought help and found hope. Within 2 days of finding out the devastating news that I could not continue enrollment with my high school, Lund took me in. I became a resident and began receiving many valuable life changing resources. These resources ranged from parenting classes, andlife skills classes, to the New Horizons Education Program. With the assistance of Lund, I finished my high school education on time. I even received my high school diploma and was permitted to walk with my class from my original school.
After giving birth to Ryan, I transitioned to Lund’s Independence Place (IP) Community. Independence Place is a transitional housing program. It was here that I found the spirit and encouragement to pursue college. The IP Community gave me a safe and secure place to begin raising my son. The staff members here helped me overcome obstacles, assisted me in locating community resources, and even helped me plan a better future for my family. It was while I lived here that I first began the pursuit of my college education.
My life continued to follow a checkered path and I had two more children over the next 8 years. Yet I was still determined to succeed for the sake of all my boys. When my third son Davis was only 3 weeks old I began my education at a local university. This is perhaps one of the craziest yet smartest things I have ever decided to do. Although I was alone, fatigued, scared, and overwhelmed I remained dedicated to the promise I had made my children; to better our lives. There were nights in which I received 2 hours of sleep or less, there were days in which I ate absolutely nothing, and there were months in which I had no money to pay our bills and would get multiple shut-off or eviction notices. I somehow remained optimistic though, that if I had made it this far, I could make it the rest of the way drawing on the skills that I had learned during my time at Lund.
I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and am employed in great job with a company. It feels good to say that I am now completely self-sufficient and am able to provide for my children. I am able to model to my children the importance of an education and that all things are possible. I know I have given my children the courage and determination for a better future.
You can help other women like Leah find hope. Please support Lund. Make a donation today.
“I want you to think about the gifts that you have been given, the people who have invested in your life and the people who have helped you along the way, many of whom are in this room today,” said Lisa Ventriss of the Vermont Business Roundtable at the 2013 Honoring Ceremony celebrating the personal and academic achievements of the students in the New Horizon’s Educational Program. Lisa urged the students to be grateful, to stay true to themselves and to never ever give up. She also was full of congratulations and encouraged the young women to be proud of themselves and to recognize that what they had achieved was a “big deal.”
It is indeed a big deal to continue with your high school education while pregnant or parenting. 50% of young woman who become pregnant between the ages of 15 and 19 do not receive a high school diploma by the time they turn 22. (As per a CDC study) Lund’s educational programs help students to battle this statistic. 4 young women were celebrated for receiving their high school diplomas and 19 others celebrated for continuing to advance in their education. Participants in Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program were celebrated also for their role in bringing the message about the challenges of being a young parent to middle and high school students around Vermont as well as at colleges and community organizations.
A highlight of the ceremony for many was a speech given by a 2011 graduate of the New Horizons Program, Tiffany Tenney, who is now a student at Champlain College and the busy mother of two year old twin girls. “Lund is a family, ” she said, “a family the creates strong, stubborn women. You can achieve whatever you want to achieve and Lund will support you.”
The room was full of family, friends, babies, Lund staff members, Lund board members, and special guests, to the point of spilling out of the doorways into the hall beyond. People went through tissues quickly and almost every speaker had to compose themselves at one time or another as they gave testament to the hard work and perseverance of these young women as they strove to be good role models for their children by completing their own education. “The work you have done towards earning your high school degree, even though it has been hard, is a big step towards a brighter future for yourself and your children.” Said Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund, when she addressed the crowd.
The idea of being a good role model continued as Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Community Treatment, spoke to the students. “Our staff are helping these young women become their child’s first teacher. This multi-generational approach to education is inherent in our Lund philosophy and our teachers carry this mission forward with great skill and unwavering passion.” she said. And this point really hit home for one young woman who made an impromptu comment to the crowd after Kim spoke. “I want to thank you for that. Thank you for helping us to teach our children.” Gratitude abounding.
After the ceremony, during a reception with cupcakes baked by the New Horizons students, one of them showed pictures of her one week old son to Laura May Ackley, Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Specialist. “He has so much hair, and he looks just like me as a baby,” she said, her face bright and beaming. “He’s such a mama’s boy. I just didn’t know I could love someone so much. “
Thanks to her own hard work at New Horizons and with support from other programs at Lund, this young woman is a proud parent firmly on the path to making a better life for her very new baby.
June 13, 2013
“For us it was never about the process because we were so well taken care of with Lund; it was about the result. It was about their lives. My boys were dealt a pretty rough hand from the start and I saw this as my chance to give them an opportunity at a really good life. People ask me why would I adopt and I just ask them, “Why wouldn’t I?” Without Lund my life would be very different, my wife’s life would be very different, my family’s life would be very different. The realities of now far exceed what might have been.”
Mike is the adoptive father of two boys, now aged 9 and 7. He and his wife adopted their sons through Lund as infants. It wasn’t a straight forward procedure but as he repeatedly says, they were all in from the start and committed to doing whatever needed to be done to bring their boys home to a forever family.
They found Lund initially through a colleague who had himself adopted through Lund. “It was frightening and exciting at the same time,” says Mike as he begins to tell the story. “We didn’t know how many questions we had until we started asking them. But Lund held our hands and steered us through.”
Mike and his wife, Susan, had already begun the process with Lund when the opportunity for a private adoption, outside of Lund, arose. They talked with Wanda Audette, Lund’s Director of Adoption, who advised them to do what felt right. They kept Lund informed about what was happening as they moved forward in this adoption and in the background Wanda counseled and supported them. While driving to pick up the baby from the hospital in North Carolina, the birth mother’s social worker called and told them that she had changed her mind. They were devastated and after first telling their families, the second call they made was to Wanda. They told her that this wouldn’t deter them, they still wanted to adopt.
A few months later, Wanda called and said that they had been selected to be the family for twins – a boy and a girl. About two hours later, Mike received a call saying that his office was being closed and that he would be without a job. Not wanting to deplete their savings and cause problems for their older children, they had to turn down that opportunity. Lund fully supported their decision. “But things happen for a reason,” says Mike, “I just needed to get back to sustainable employment and then we were ready again. In the meantime we visited Lund several times and we became more and more enamored with the organization as we learned about all the other things that it did.”
Soon another call came. There was a baby boy in Baltimore. “Wanda held our hands all the way through and again encouraged us to do what we felt was right. We jumped on it and drove down to Baltimore, not knowing what to expect,’ says Mike. “Wanda kept in communication with us and reassured us at every turn. 72 hours later, we had James.”
Mike spent some time at home with the baby and in about 7 or 8 months, they were ready to adopt again. They went through the whole process again and after another 8 months they received a call, again from Baltimore, saying that there was another baby boy waiting to join their family. They packed up James, now 17 months old, and drove down to Maryland. It was July and desperately hot. They found themselves in the middle of an extremely destitute neighborhood surrounded by boarded up tenements and trash lying in the streets. They were a long way from their home in Vermont. They met the birth mother at an agency that was very different from Lund, “It was very businesslike, very corporate. With Lund it was more familial.”
Their second adoption was more complicated. They were dealing with three different states, things got hung up and the expected 72 hour turnaround stretched to 8 days. Mike, Susan and James were cooped up in a one room efficiency waiting for their new baby, Henry, to come home to them. Mike was working, Susan was nervous to leave the hotel and James was busting out of the walls of that one room, during the hottest part of the summer. They called Wanda at least twice a day for reassurance. It was a stressful situation and all they could do was wait. After 9 days they got the call that they could go and pick up baby Henry. It was 6pm. They drove home to Vermont straight away and when they arrived, James was so happy to be home that he ran around the house for an hour and a half. Their family was there, it was a happy scene. Nobody cared that it was 4am.
“James plays sports – baseball, football, hockey. He is half a head taller than kids a year older than him. But he’s so gentle and sensitive. Henry is 50lbs soaking wet and not interested in sports at all. He couldn’t be a happier kid” says Mike smiling, as he talks about his sons. “I couldn’t love them more. I think about those little guys every minute. They know they’re adopted. It hasn’t caused any problems yet and we’ll handle it as best we can if it does. I’m in it for the long haul and I know Lund is too. When I’m 130 and my sons are wiping oatmeal off my chin, I know Lund will be there.”
“You know what? They say that there are no angels on earth but I think that there are some and that they just hide their wings well. I think that Wanda is one of those people.”
You can support Lund’s many programs, including adoption, by making a donation.
June 10, 2013
Thursday June 6th, Washington D.C. – Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund, spoke to over 110 staffers, including representatives from Congressman Welch and Senator Sanders’ offices, at a Capitol Hill Policy Briefing today on ‘Substance Use Disorders in Child Welfare’. Rachelson’s focus was on the outcomes of the Regional Partnership Grant awarded by the federal government to Lund and the Vermont’s Department of Children and Families Family Services Division’s Burlington District Office (DCF) for implementation between 2007-2012.
“The families we serve have multi-faceted, complex needs. Families are often not only struggling with addiction and mental health disorders, but additionally most of our mothers have experienced significant trauma through domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and poverty. Through Lund’s continuum of services and community partnerships we can provide our mothers and their families with treatment, education and family support services they crucially need for their recovery, as well as for their successful development as parents and productive members of our community,” says Rachelson as she introduced Lund’s programs and services to the audience on Capitol Hill.
Barbara spoke of the positive outcomes of Vermont’s Regional Partnership Grant, “As an RPG grantee from 2007 – 2012, we were able to demonstrate that to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children affected by their parent’s substance abuse, our community requires a cross system approach that is intentional about its collaboration and integrated in its service delivery.” Vermont’s RPG addressed systemic and practice challenges that are barriers to optimal family outcomes. Rachelson reported in DC, “The grant enabled Lund to partner with our child welfare agency in a way new to Vermont. The collaborative results of Vermont’s RPG are outstanding. Although child and adult outcomes were significant and positive for families served. It is important to emphasize that the collaborative structures developed have shifted the culture of how systems are currently working together in our community.”
“Families have told us time and time again – the single most important factor for their progress in treatment and improvement in family functioning is having the help available when they need it. The service delivery model implemented by Vermont’s RPG helps us to meet this need,” said Rachelson to federal policy makers highlighting the important potential of this model to be replicated elsewhere in the state.
Despite the successful outcomes of this grant, funding has not been renewed. Lund and DCF are working to identify new sources of support to continue the positive impact of Vermont’s RPG. The legacies of this grant in the Burlington area are the development of an innovative service delivery model that is the foundation for a more coordinated approach to child welfare for families affected by parental substance use disorders. The children and families who participated in the grant experienced 1) a measureable increase in well being, 2) increased timeliness of treatment and service delivery; and 3) improved case management services for families.
May 28, 2013
Renowned Vermont print maker, Sabra Field, recently made a generous donation of 11 prints to Lund’s 50 Joy Drive location. The prints, all of Vermont outdoor scenes at various time of day and year, make bright, colorful additions to the walls of our new building. Field’s work is simple yet evocative as she presents the fields, mountains and waterways that are so redolent of Vermont. Her view is of a land where nature and light frame our views whichever way we look.
Sabra Field donated her prints in honor of her family and in honor of Wanda Audette (Lund’s Director of Adoption).
On her website, the artist talks about her first realization, while in an art class at Middlebury College, that great art is composed of what we see but is not a replica of what we see. There is something in this lesson that can be extended to the life experience of families who use the services and programs operated by Lund who are of course, comprised of their life experiences but each of whom add up to far more and far different from those experiences alone.
Wanda also sees a connection between Field’s work and Lund, “I believe that Sabra’s work is a diamond in Vermont. Her prints have great passion and people love them and I believe that Lund is a diamond too when it comes to services for children and families.”
One of the donated prints has special meaning for Wanda and hangs in prominent place in the conference room in the Adoption department at Lund. This is the room where families might meet their child for the first time or spend time discussing the sensitive and emotive issues that arise during the adoption process. The print entitled, “Fly Away” shows a group of geese flying together in the evening sky across the lake and mountains. “This print gives the hope that every child will find a family to fly away home with, just as they deserve.”
The new Lund building at 50 Joy Drive has been made more beautiful by these prints and we are all grateful to Sabra Field for her generosity.
May 23, 2013
“We need a map,” says one of the students at New Horizons to Ben Irish, lead teacher at this program, as he walks into the door of the school. “Well, hello to you too,” he replies before directing the students to where they might find a map. It seems that one is needed as part of an afternoon health and wellness class taught by Lund’s Human Resources Manager, Jamie Tourangeau. Later in the class Jamie has the women doing jumping jacks – five minutes to balance out the calories in one tiny piece of chocolate.
New Horizons is in Lund’s new building at 50 Joy Drive. Before moving here last fall, the school was in a rental location, away from Lund’s other programs. “It’s great to be in this building,” says Ben. “We were alone before. I was teaching in a cafeteria and now we have all sides of the community coming together under one roof to finish their education.”
There are currently 17 students enrolled in the program – both community members and Lund students living in the residential program. New Horizons is an accredited educational program that specifically serves pregnant or parenting young women. They can bring their babies to class with them until the babies are six months old. Also in the same building is Lund’s 5 Star Early Childhood Education program allowing students to be near their children while going to school. Students are aged between 14 and 21 and pursue individual courses of study based on where they are in their education. They will be issued diplomas from their sending high schools and have the opportunity to graduate sooner than they would at a traditional school as the program at New Horizons runs all year. Nationwide only 3 out of 10 pregnant or parenting young women graduate from high school. Lund’s New Horizons program firmly intends to battle this statistic. There is a high proportion of New Americans in the program and so an ELL program has been implemented to help these students.
“We are the community for these women,” says Ben speaking about the importance of the school in the lives of the students. “This is what they have to look forward to.”
Judging by the laughter that can be heard coming from the classroom during the day and the friendly relationship that the students have with their teacher, there is much to look forward to here.
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.