October 24, 2014

Children’s Literacy Foundation supports Kids A Part

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:04 am by Lund

Lund is very happy to announce that the Kids A Part program has been awarded a grant from the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) to support programming and provides materials to help connect inmates at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (CRCF), their children and families through books and storytelling. This support from CLiF will greatly increase inmates’ access to books that they can share with their children and provide opportunities to learn about the importance of reading with children and the art of storytelling.  80% of the women at CRCF are mothers and so this program will have a huge impact on children all across the state.

The grant will provide the following:

1.  Four literacy seminars for inmates – These sessions, presented by a CLiF presenter, will discuss the importance of reading to children and will include tips on how to share books and stories with children even if the inmate is not a strong reader.  Every inmate will be able to take two new books from this seminar to give to children in their lives.

2.  A library of new books for the visiting room – CLiF will donate $2000 of new books to create a library in the visiting room at the facility where there are currently no books to speak of.  The Kids A Part space is fully stocked with books but having the books in the regular visiting room will allow for further opportunities for moms to read with their children during every visit.

3.  Two storytelling presentations for inmates and their children – CLiF will send a professional story teller to give a fun, interactive story telling sessions to inmates and their children and families.  Children will be able to take home two new books after this session.

4.  New books for children of inmates – CLiF will provides hundreds of new books to be distributed to children visiting their moms.

5.  Support for the Storybook Program – CLiF will provide books and volunteers to help inmates make recordings of themselves reading books that they can then send along with the book to their children.   Kids A Part Parenting Program Coordinator Jess Kell reports that this will allow for the Storybook program to take place two or three times a month instead of once as it currently does.  It will also triple the amount of books available to moms participating in this program.

There is a dominant theme in all these details – get books into the hands of children and help their parents, family members and caregivers to enjoy the books with them.  Participating in this program will dramatically increase the number of books inside the correctional facility and ensure that moms know the many different ways they can use them to connect with their children.  ““Reading together during visits,  attending workshops and then choosing books to send home, or recording a book for your child to listen to at home are all such wonderful ways for incarcerated parents to stay connected with their children! Kids-A-Part is very thankful  to have received this grant from CLiF, which will provide the moms at CRCF with many opportunities to foster their children’s love of reading throughout this coming year,” says Jess Kell.

The Kids-A-Part visiting room at CRCF features bookshelves and cosy places to read.

The Kids-A-Part visiting room at CRCF features bookshelves and cosy places to read.

Reading is a simple, normal activity that provides a direct connection between mother and child.  “Parenting can be difficult enough under normal circumstances.  Parenting from behind bars is particularly challenging.  Sharing books and stories can really make a difference to families with an incarcerated parent.” Duncan McDougall from CLiF  One in every 28 children nationwide has an incarcerated parent (that’s the equivalent of one in every classroom) and these kids are often the almost invisible but blameless victims of their parents’ crimes.  Reinforcing the important connection between parents and children gives these children the strength to know that they still have a mom or dad who matters in their lives and cares about them even when they cannot be together.

Thank you to the Children’s Literacy Foundation and all its supporters for helping us to bring the joy of reading together to moms and kids.

October 17, 2014

Getting Outside – Preschool Trip to Shelburne Farms

Posted in Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , , , , at 6:27 am by Lund

The kids were ready to go long before the car seats were strapped into the van and the snacks packed up.  Going on field trips is always exciting and this one particularly so – Shelburne Farms!  Six preschoolers, LECP teacher Collin Cope, Cristin Manner, a Behavioral Interventionist from the HowardCenter who works in the Lund preschool classroom twice a week, one parent and one enthusiastic field tripper from Development loaded into the van and set off to have fun on the farm.  We rode the tractor down from the Welcome Center to the Children’s Farmyard where we were met by Rachel Cadwallader-Staub, educator at Shelburne Farms, who helped the preschoolers to understand  gentle ways to touch the animals.  Then we visited the cows, sheep and goats before settling down on a log to watch the parade of chickens come out of their coop for the day.   The kids then went into the chicken coop to collect eggs and see the chickens who weren’t quite ready for the day yet.  They were enthusiastic in their egg hunting, feather petting and chicken feeding.  Then we hit the playroom which was filled with farm toys, a tractor to climb on, hobby horses to ride and all manner of other exciting things that made it a hard place to leave.  The kids had a great time exploring the different toys and I began to wonder how we would ever convince them to leave the room.  It was going to take something pretty special.  How about milking a cow?

"I heard that there were preschoolers out there.  I might just stay in here."

“I heard that there were preschoolers out there. I might just stay in here.”

Collin, who spearheaded the trip, gathered the kids together.  He made them all sit on the floor and sat right down with them.  Once all were quiet and seated (it was not instant as I’m sure you can imagine) he handed them each a plastic vegetable to hold and told them about the really exciting and special thing they were going to be allowed to do.  The kids listened and focused on Collin because he was down on their level making each of his words exciting, speaking low and slow and had given them something to hold to take away the temptation of grabbing at the toys.  He carefully laid out the next steps the kids would have to take – stand up, hold a specific adult’s hand, walk out of the room to the stone wall by the cow.  If the kids deviated from the plan, they were gently reminded and redirected.  No one cried, no one made a break for the tractor, everyone was in control and ready for the next thing.  All the kids made it to the cow and stood quietly waiting as the farmer explained how the milking would work.  They they each had a chance to milk the cow. It was impressive to watch how Collin handled the kids and set them up for a successful transition.

Milking the cow

Milking the cow

“Field trips are important because they expose the kids to experiences they might not be getting at home,” says Collin.  “It gives them a break from the routine of school and gets them out into the community where they can meet new people and interact with them.  It allows them to make connections to real life.  We read books and sing songs about chickens but on the farm they can see chickens, touch them, feel them and connect to the reality of what they have been learning about.  But the most important thing is that it is really really fun!”

By the time we all loaded back up on the wagon to head  to the parking lot, the scene was a little different.  Every child was crying at some point, there was distinct deviation from the instruction to sit properly on the seats.  Hunger and fatigue were settling in.  The other riders on the wagon pretty quickly lost their warm grins.  But without batting an eyelid, Collin and Cristin patiently and lovingly helped the kids to remember what they needed to be doing.  Hunting for bees’ nests in the trees, telling silly stories about people losing their hats and the promise of cheese at the farm shop helped the wagon ride go as smoothly as a wagon being pulled by a tractor on a dirt road can go.  The kids probably didn’t notice the magnificent view of Camel’s Hump over a cobblestone of autumnal trees or hear the honking of a seam of geese sewn across the sky but all of them knew that they had done something special that day.   They might only remember one thing – milking the cow, petting a chicken, bumping along behind the tractor, the sharp taste of cheddar on a stick – but buried down in their brains there will also be the knowledge that they had teachers who were willing and excited to take them out to see the big, bright world.

October 14, 2014

Fundraiser Lunch at NHEP

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Events, New Horizons Educational Program, Program Spotlight, Workforce Development Program tagged , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Lund

Yesterday six New Horizons Educational Program students went on a field trip to Boston to visit the Aquarium and the Simmons IMAX theater.  They raised the money to go on this trip by planning, preparing and delivering lunch to staff members.  The first lunch, at the end of July, was Somali cuisine featuring sambusas, salad and friend plaintains.  The second one, held just last week, featured burritos and apple crisp.  Many staff members were delighted to take part in this fundraiser and enjoy a delicious hot lunch delivered to their desk.  Beats a soggy sandwich any day.   Below Mary Farnsworth, NHEP teacher who oversaw this project, answers some questions below about this project:

How did this project come about?

The NHEP Fundraiser lunches came about as a result of our students participating in and afternoon Business and Economics Class. Tammy [Santamore, Learning Together Coordinator] and I had discussed  how it would be beneficial to have a business class offered to students, especially since some schools require students to take a business class as a graduation requirement.  In designing the class we wanted to provide students an opportunity to think about the process of creating and running a business: coming up with an idea, creating business proposal, creating a business action plan, thinking about cost and profit margins, planning for different jobs/roles, and creating their own marketing scheme. The students started with lots of ideas for what type of fundraiser they wanted create, and even initially began planning for a run or walk event before coming up with the idea selling a homemade lunch.

How did the students prepare for the lunch?

This business class occurred every Tuesday afternoon from the end of March 2014 through August 2014. Leading up to the first lunch on July 30th our students did a lot of work creating detailed business plans. Additionally, they created and analyzed surveys to receive feedback on their idea, met with Amy Cronin [Associate Director of Development] to discuss the logistics of carrying out a fundraiser, did a recipe taste test, talked with Dinah Larsen [Food Services Specialist] about cooking for a large volume of people and estimating food/ingredient quantities, and held a practice run at NHEP.  Going into the first lunch the girls had created a plan specifying each of their jobs and the times that tasks needed to be completed by. The day before the girls worked in small groups each making wrappers or preparing the filling for the Sambusa. The day of the girls worked in teams: a vegetarian sambusa team and a beef sambusa team who were responsible for assembling and cooking their type of Sambusa, a salad team who prepared the salads and made the dressing, and a student who over saw that each plate matched the order and plates were assembled correctly.  Over all the work went really well thanks to our students planning and practice. We did face a slight hitch the day of when some of our premade wrappers broke and we did not have enough, but this was quickly fixed with an emergency trip to the store.

The first fundraiser meal was delicious - fresh and filling.

The first fundraiser meal was delicious – fresh and filling.

What were the benefits for the students?

The most important thing that our students personally got out of this experience was a huge boost in self-confidence. There were times in the planning were our ladies had significant doubts that they could pull this off, but when they did they were incredibly proud of their accomplishment. They also loved having Lund staff come in after to tell them how much they enjoyed their meal. Ladies also were really proud that they raised about $260 dollars ($310 before considering costs).

Are there plans to repeat this?

We and our students would like to do a fundraiser lunch every rotation (5 times a year), and for each offer a different theme to the meal. The students hope that the money raised will go towards more special field trips (including food during those trips if needed), higher quality or special arts and crafts activities, and possibly equipment for their children in the classroom when needed.

 

Thank you to the students and teachers at NHEP for providing this practical and interesting class that had such a great benefit for the rest of the staff.   Roll on next rotation for another delicious.  It will be getting cold and desolate outside so perhaps hearty soup, hot rolls and pumpkin pie are called for.  Sign me up!

September 25, 2014

An Introduction to Medication Assisted Treatment and the Hub and Spoke System

Posted in Residential, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services tagged , , , , , at 7:08 am by Lund

What is medication assisted treatment ?

Medication assisted treatment (MAT)is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that when treating substance use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful. Medication assisted treatment is clinically driven with a focus on individualized patient care.” SAMSHA, www.dpt.samsha.gov. MAT is most effective in those who have suffered from continual relapses.

What medications are commonly used in MAT?

The medications most commonly used by clients at Lund’s residential treatment facility are methadone and buprenorphine. According to the Vermont Department of Health, the majority of MAT patients receive buprenorphine prescribed by a physician in a medical office setting. methadone, unlike buprenorphine, is a highly regulated addiction treatment drug and is only provided in specialty clinics.

Methadone is a drug for people dependent on opiates, who have often battled addiction for a long time and are taking high doses every day to avoid withdrawal. Methadone can be very dangerous drug if used outside of medical monitoring and federal regulations are very strict to ensure safety when using methadone. More people die each year from illegal use of methadone than any other drug. Methadone is dispensed daily at a clinic and those pursuing this course of treatment must visit the Chittenden Clinic daily to receive their dose.

Buprenorphine is an alternative course of treatment for opiate addiction, appropriate for those who have enough maturity, discipline and stability to participate in an office based program. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist which makes it a safer medication with less chance of overdose.

What is the Hub and Spoke method of substance abuse treatment?

Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. Vermont is ranked the 34th worst of all the states in the non-medical use of pain relievers and for the first time ever, treatment admissions for opiate addiction surpassed that of alcohol addiction. In addition, drug diversion continues to be a problem for many reasons. In response to this problem, The Agency of Human Services (AHS) in collaboration with community providers proposed a coordinated, systemic response to the complex issues of opiate and other addictions in Vermont, now referred to the Hub and Spoke model, or “Care Alliance for Opioid Addiction.”

Although this initiative initially focused on creating capacity in the system for adequate medication assisted treatment for the increasing numbers of individuals with opiate addictions, it also created a framework for integrating treatment services for other substance abuse issues and co-occurring mental health disorders into a medical home model. In addition, this treatment approach is proposed to help reduce recidivism in people who have been incarcerated and enhance outcomes for families where addiction is an identified problem for child welfare.

Very large waiting lists for methadone indicated insufficient treatment capacity and fewer providers have been willing to prescribe buprenorphine for new patients. With more Vermonters seeking treatment for opiate addiction every year, this difficulty of access to MAT is a problem. The Hub and Spoke system reaches more people and provides more MAT options for patients. It also offers increased supports directly to physicians in medical office settings, assisting them in effectively managing and treating patients.

This helpful diagram from the Vermont Department of Health illustrates the Hub and Spoke system

This helpful diagram from the Vermont Department of Health illustrates the Hub and Spoke system

What is a Hub?

A Hub is defined by AHS as “a specialty treatment center responsible for coordinating the care of individuals with complex addictions and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health conditions across the health and substance abuse treatment systems of care.” www.healthvermont.gov/adap/treatment

A Hub is designed to do the following:

♦ Provide comprehensive assessments and treatment protocols.

♦ Provide methadone treatment and supports.

♦ For clinically complex clients, initiate buprenorphine treatment and provide care for initial stabilization period.

♦ Coordinate referral to ongoing care.

♦ Provide specialty addictions consultation and support to ongoing care.

♦ Provide ongoing coordination of care for clinically complex clients.

What is a Spoke?

A Spoke is defined by AHS as “the ongoing care system comprised of a prescribing physician and collaborating health and addictions professionals who monitor adherence to treatment, coordinate access to recovery supports, and provide counseling,

contingency management, and case management services” www.healthvermont.gov/adap/treatment

Spokes can be:

♦ Blueprint advanced practice medical homes

♦ Outpatient substance abuse treatment providers

♦ Primary care providers

♦ Federally qualified health centers

♦ Independent psychiatrists

What does this look like here in Chittenden County?

The HowardCenter’s Chittenden Center Clinic is the Hub for Northwestern Vermont including Chittenden, Franklin, Addison and Grand Isle Counties.  The Chittenden Clinic has two locations – one at the University Medical Center and the other on San Remo Drive in South Burlington. The Spokes consist of 200 prescribing physicians in a variety of medical and behavioral health outpatient settings. Lund recently became a Spoke.

How did Lund become a Spoke?

In order to become a Spoke, Lund needed to add a Medical Director to our existing substance abuse treatment program. Dr. William Grass is the current Medical Director. His responsibilities include tending to the general and mental health needs of clients, acting as a consultant to the nursing team and to the clinicians and monitoring and evaluating urine drug test results. A crucial part of his work is evaluating and managing medication assisted treatment for our residential and community clients Dr. Grass is at Lund one day a week and also runs his own private psychiatry practice where he has practiced as a spoke physician for several years. Dr. Grass sees the benefits of MAT in Lund’s treatment program but as one part of a wider approach , “Life skills and parenting education are also an important part of treatment. MAT expands access to this sort of treatment in a population of people where opioid use disorder may be more prevalent than in the general population. Through the Hub and Spoke system, we’re able to expand access in a specific population of people. Healthy families mean a healthy future and that is important.

Lund’s residential and community treatment leadership team began conversations with Vermont’s Blueprint staff, who oversee Spoke implementation for Chittenden County, early in 2014. As a formal Spoke provider, Lund now receives funding from Vermont Health Access to deliver the comprehensive health services to clients receiving Spoke services, which optimizes treatment and health outcomes.

Having Dr. Grass on staff expands the medical team. Lund’s nurse, Jessilyn Dolan, is glad to have him on board, “Our clients’ medical needs have increased and become more complex over the last few years and it is very useful to have him to consult with. It is also really helpful to have a prescribing physician on staff so that if there is a time crunch with a new resident coming in who needs medication or a medical emergency, we have him to call on.”

Is MAT for everyone?

Not all people who have substance abuse disorders use medication assisted treatment. Having Dr. Grass on staff allows for him to consult with treatment teams and assess each client’s treatment plan and help decide whether MAT might be beneficial. As of the writing of this article 42% of clients at our residential treatment center are participating in MAT.

Medication is just one part of Lund’s treatment approach and is not appropriate for everyone.  Lund offers a comprehensive approach that includes clinical and psychiatric services, health care, education and case management to pregnant and parenting young women, their children, and other key family members. Our therapists, teachers and caseworkers not only assist women in their recovery from substance abuse or mental health issues, they help them identify their strengths and maximize their potential by offering parenting education, as well as life skills and job training.

September 19, 2014

Family Dinner at LECP

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Events, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , , , at 9:46 am by Lund

What better way to celebrate the start of fall than with a delicious community dinner outside complete with musical entertainment and lots of friends to play with?  This was scene on Wednesday night at Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program at the Hoehl Family Building.  Kirtani Mathauer, teacher in the young toddler room, led the event inspired by community cooking classes and dinners she had helped with at other early childhood programs.  She was looking for a way for families to connect and spend some time together getting to know each other.  Parents drop off their children at different times and so their paths may never cross despite their children spending all day together.   This event was a chance to meet and eat together.

Research shows that eating together as a family is good for the brain, health and spirit of all family members.  Yum!

Research shows that eating together as a family is good for the brain, health and spirit of all family members. Yum!

The sun even made an appearance after a day of clouds and it was still warm enough to eat, play and dance outside.  The menu consisted of pasta, meatballs, eggplant parm, salad, garlic bread, and dessert provided by LECP and also dishes brought by families.  There were even enough leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day.  After dinner LECP teacher, Collin and his friend Kyle played music.  There’s nothing like toddlers dancing with their friends to a John Prine cover in the waning light of an early fall evening to make you feel pretty good about the state of the world.  The play structure built last Spring by volunteers from dealer.com served as great front row seating for the show and also provided the usual jumping and climbing entertainment for the children.

“I’m proud of the turnout,” said Kirtani, “one parent told me it was the best community dinner he’d been to at an education program because it was so relaxed and gave everyone the time to eat, have fun and talk.”

Healthy eating is a key priority at LECP as many of the children come from families struggling with food insecurity or limited access to nutritious food.  The children eat meals and snacks family style and learn how to behave considerately at the table while they enjoy a wide variety of dishes cooked on site in the school kitchen.  Lund is planning expand the food program to run parent-child cooking workshops.  This will be helped by a recent generous grant  from Seventh Generation that will provide the needed equipment to set the kitchen up efficiently and safely for the children.

Kirtani plans to organize another family dinner next year and attract even more families to share a meal together.  Thank you to all the teachers who worked hard to make this event come together and to all the families who attended and brought food to share.

September 12, 2014

David Letterman, Benedict Arnold and the Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted in Awards, Donor Spotlight, Events, Grants tagged , , , , , at 11:14 am by Lund

“I believe that philanthropy is a good thing.  It’s hard to go wrong when you’re acting out of a place of generosity. We shouldn’t fret so much about philanthropy. We shouldn’t let the joy of giving be muddied by the intellectual pursuit of the best, most effective and perfect giving,” said Stuart Comstock-Gay, President and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation at their Annual Meeting on Wednesday September 10, at the Basin Harbor Club.   His speech began, as so many things do these days, with the ice bucket challenge and he quotes from a Maclean’s article on it, “The marketing gimmick is very clever, it’s short, immediately understandable and like the most clever forms of slacktivism, it’s easy to do, entertaining to watch and narcisstically self promoting.  It’s a great way to raise money but a horrible reason to donate.”  But then spent the rest of this speech advising the assembled crowd of grantees, supporters, donors, board members and friends not to be caught up in criticism and cynicism around popular philanthropy.  Stuart warned us all not to let our David Letterman-ness (thinking constant critique and close mindnessness is the height of intelligent cool) get in the way of our ice-bucketness.  He’s right.   $100 million raised for ALS reseach is a good thing, however is happened.

It was obvious at this meeting that Vermont is a unique and special place, not just because it took place at the spot where Benedict Arnold launched the USS Philadelphia in 1776 and then went on to trounce the British at the Battle of Valcour Island, but also because of the people present.  Underneath the tent on a warm early fall afternoon were some of the state’s most influential philanthropists, business people and representatives of non-profits doing important work.   These people are the true power of community.  “I see collaboration, passion, creative problem solving by many philanthropists. All of them working on complicated issues, all of them working on new ideas and visions, all of them with belief even though it’s hard and sometimes the issues are so complex you could cry,” described Stuart as he looked out over the crowd.

As well as this inspiring speech from the CEO, the meeting also included financial overviews, a humorous report from the audit committee (yes, that’s correct, humorous, I did say these people were special) and the presentation of the Community Impact Award to the Addison County Parent Child Center and their long time supporters Michael and Cindy Seligmann.  This award honors the relationship between a donor and the organization that they support.  The Addison County Parent Child Center provides support, education and resources to young families.   Lund is a Parent Child Center for Chittenden County.  It was a privilege to watch a video about the great work that this organization does for parents and children in Addison County and to witness the incredible support given to them by the Seligmanns.

Stuart’s last assertion from the podium was that we all need to believe, “Believe. Believe in people, in ideas, in Vermont. Believe in yourselves, believe in each other.  Allow a little wonderment to creep into your lives. Don’t be so quick to shoot down someone’s idea. Snarkiness is not something to be proud of.  It’s certainly ok to have questions but don’t let that get in the way of other people’s enthusiasm.  It doesn’t mean you have to believe everything but it does mean that you cannot disbelieve everything . Don’t rain on the belief parade of others.”

It was easy to believe in Vermont when you look at the important, effective and widespread work of the Vermont Community Foundation.  We thank them for their support of Lund in so many ways over the years and for their leadership in our state.

In all my enthusiasm about belief and cutting back on cynicism, I only managed to take a photo of the spot where Benedict Arnold might have stood to admire the USS Philadelphia.  You'll just have imagine the large crowd of Vermont philanthropists and leaders behind the camera.

In all my enthusiasm about belief and cutting back on cynicism, I only managed to take a photo of the spot where Benedict Arnold might have stood to admire the USS Philadelphia. You’ll just have imagine the large crowd of Vermont philanthropists and leaders behind the camera.

 

September 5, 2014

United Way Building Block Awards – Celebrating the Powerful Connection Between Individual and Community

Posted in Awards, Board of Trustees Spotlight, Employees, Events, United Way, Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 11:31 am by Lund

The large ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel was full yesterday morning as volunteers, community members, representatives of the local non-profits and supporters of the United Way gathered to celebrate the Building Block Awards and officially launch the United Way’s 2014 campaign.   The Building Block Awards are given to volunteers at local non-profits who have made a difference in the United Way’s target areas of income, education and health.  Lund celebrated volunteers who have made a huge difference in our organization – Ann Klinkenberg and Paulette Thabault and Peter Gunther and their family.  Ann volunteers in the New Horizons Educational Program tutoring students one on one and providing assistance to the teachers in the classroom.   Since the students are all at different stages in their education, having Ann’s support to provide individual assistance is absolutely key in the students’ success.  Paulette and her husband Peter and their children have done many different things at Lund from helping at the bike ride, representing Lund at events and panels, hosting fundraising events and recruiting their children to play Santa and his elves at the very last minute and saving the Glen Road Holiday Party!  Paulette has also been a board member since 2007 and chairs our strategic planning committee.

Director of Development Beth Knox with Paulette Thabault and Peter Gunther

Director of Development Beth Knox with Paulette Thabault and Peter Gunther

Learning Together Coordinator Tammy Santamore and NHEP teacher Kathy Rossman with Ann Klinkenberg (center)

Learning Together Coordinator Tammy Santamore and NHEP teacher Kathy Rossman with Ann Klinkenberg (center)

United Way Volunteer Coordinator Amy Carmola referred to the volunteers in the room as “treasures” and said, “Volunteering represents the powerful connection between individual and community. When we volunteer we go beyond taking care of our families and ourselves.  When we volunteer we give our time and our attention, which is such an important part of ourselves, we give that to someone else, to something else.”  Our volunteers make a active difference in the lives of our children and families and we are so grateful for their time, attention and commitment.

The Sisters of Mercy were honored for their work in Vermont with the 2014 Advocate Award.  United Way Director Martha Maksym referred to them as “walking sermons” and congratulated them on the breadth and scope of their work in the state.  Sister Lindora Cabral accepted the award on behalf of the sisters, “Advocacy is such an important part of who we are.  We advocate for those who are poor. For us service and advocacy go hand in hand.”  The Sisters of Mercy founded Mater Christi School, Trinity College, the Women’s Small Business Program, Mercy Connections and other important service intiatives.  Lund is proud to partner them in their work to support women and children in need.

The breakfast was also the kick off of the United Way’s 2014 community campaign to raise $3,850,000 to allow the United way to support the work of it’s 29 member agencies as they tackle the most pressing societal problems and ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community have what they need to be successful.  This year’s campaign is chaired by Robert DiPalma, an attorney at Paul Frank and Collins.    You can watch this year’s campaign video here.

Thank you to the United Way of Chittenden County for allowing us this opportunity to celebrate volunteers both here at Lund and in the wider community.

September 2, 2014

Angel in Adoption – Judge Susan Fowler

Posted in Adoption, Awards tagged , , , , , at 7:39 am by Lund

Lund is so pleased to congratulate Judge Susan Fowler on winning an Angel in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.  The award is given to an individual, family or organization who has made an exceptional difference in the lives of children looking for families.  Judge Fowler has overseen the finalization of over 1000 adoptions in the state and has worked with Lund for many years.  “We are very lucky to have a judge that is so passionate about adoption and the importance of belonging and family. Judge Fowler makes every adoption unique and special,” says Wanda Audette, Director of Adoption at Lund.   Judge Fowler’s most special duty is to pound the gavel and sign the paperwork and in so doing, create forever families.

“Judge Fowler is a huge part of our adoption community,” says Julia Conner, Private Adoption Coordinator at Lund. “She treats birth parents with dignity, respect, fairness, and understanding. She helps our adoptive families commemorate an incredibly important moment in their lives and approaches adoption finalizations with humor, music and joy; putting families at ease and creating a lasting and memorable experience.”

While a joyful situation, the finalization can also be nerve wracking for families and as an adoptive parent herself as well as a judge with such extensive experience, Judge Fowler does everything she can to help ease the situation.  Lund’s Case Finalization Manager, Karisa Thompson, has seen this first hand during the eight years she has worked with Judge Fowler.  “When adoptive families arrive at court, they are generally nervous, excited, and relieved all at the same time.  Judge Fowler plays jazz music so when families enter the courtroom, they are reminded that they are there to celebrate their family and the music puts them at ease.   She is a ray of sunshine at the end of a long, difficult process for our foster children and adoptive families.  She is personable, happy, and takes each hearing in stride based on how the child is reacting.  I have seen her stop talking and sit back with a smile on her face as a toddler spun and danced in circles in the court room and if a child was fearful or screaming, she just talks faster so the family can move on with the celebration.  Judge Fowler makes every adoption a special celebration.”

Judge Susan Fowler, Vermont's 2014 Angel In Adoption.

Judge Susan Fowler, Vermont’s 2014 Angel In Adoption – “A ray of sunshine”

Judge Fowler’s top priority is always to ensure permanency for children as soon as possible. “She is extremely flexible and consistently works in the best interest of children.  She maintains open communication with Lund and has scheduled extra hearings for children to be adopted before Christmas and even arranged for a last minute hearing so a child could be adopted the day before her eighteenth birthday.  Judge Fowler does not hesitate to call and ask a question about an adoption packet and is always willing to help advocate on behalf of Lund when confronted with issues regarding other probate courts,” says Karisa.

Judge Fowler will be recognized at the Angel in Adoption Gala on Wednesday, September 17 in Washington, D.C.

For more information about adoption in Vermont and Judge Fowler’s award, please watch the following news coverage from WCAX.

http://www.wcax.com/category/166239/video-landing-page?clipId=10517653&autostart=true

http://www.wcax.com/story/26377101/meet-a-real-life-angel-in-adoption

August 28, 2014

Philanthropy Starting Early

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Board of Trustees Spotlight, Donor Spotlight tagged , , , at 9:27 am by Lund

When Lisa Carter turned 11, she asked her friends and family to make a donation to Lund instead of buying her birthday presents.  She raised $96.20 to support Lund’s education, treatment, adoption and family support services.  Lisa came with her parents to the Hoehl Family Building at the end of the summer to present her donation and take a tour so that she could see the work that her gift would support.  Lisa’s father Matt has been on the Board of Lund in his current term since 2010 and was also a member prior to that.

We are so grateful to our many donors, supporters and friends who make gifts to Lund throughout the year but it is especially meaningful when the gifts come from young people who recognize the need of other children and families.  Lisa’s parents report that this was all her own idea.  Lisa said, ” It just makes me feel good to do it.” Thank you Lisa for thinking of others on your birthday and for making a generous gift to Lund.

Executive Director of Lund, Barbara Rachelson, with Lisa.

Executive Director of Lund, Barbara Rachelson, with Lisa.

Every single dollar we receive helps families to break cycles of poverty, abuse and addiction.  There are many ways that community members can support Lund:

1.  Make a donation  CLICK HERE
2. Volunteer.  VIEW CURRENT OPENINGS
3.  Tell your Lund story.  Share with friends, family and colleagues how Lund has helped you or someone you know and how the organization has made a difference in the community.

August 12, 2014

Lund Ride for Children Bike Winners!

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Donor Spotlight, Events tagged , , , at 2:55 pm by Lund

The Lund Ride for Children on Sunday June 1, kicked off a beautiful summer for biking. Two of our riders will now be enjoying new bikes courtesy of North Star Sports, a long time friend of the Ride for Children.  Barb Hughes won a children’s bike in the raffle and plans to give it to her two year old granddaughter.  She hopes that she will practice her technique riding it around the basement during the winter months and be ready next Spring to hit the bike path.

Barb with J.P. of North Star Sports with the sweetest little purple bike.

Barb with J.P. of North Star Sports with the sweetest little purple bike.

Lund board member and dedicated supporter of the Lund Ride for Children, Katie Halsey, won her bike by rasing the most money through the Ride for Children for the women, children and families of Lund.  Katie raised $3455 herself which helped her team, the Bisby Bikers, to a total of $4755.    Katie plans to spend some time riding by the ocean this summer.

J.P. and Katie with Katie's new bike

J.P. and Katie with Katie’s new bike

 

North Star Sports have been involved in the Lund Ride for Children since it began six years ago.  Not only have they donated bikes but they run an onsite bike clinic on the morning of the ride and drive the all important SAG van that makes sure our riders stay safe on the course.  We are so grateful to J.P. and Pat and all our friends at North Star Sports for helping make our Ride for Children a success.

JP hard at work checking bikes during the 2013 Lund Ride for Children

JP hard at work checking bikes during the 2013 Lund Ride for Children

Thank you to these riders and to everyone who participated in the ride, donated or volunteered.  You raised $62,466 to provide hope, opportunity and family for women and children in Vermont.

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