May 5, 2015
Lund staff members are dedicated, energetic, hard working and passionate. The work that we do is often challenging or difficult. Lund’s leadership team is committed to celebrating the hard work and the amazing efforts of staff members to help the children and families we serve. The Employee of the Quarter award is a way of showing appreciation for this work. This quarter there were two individuals and one team who won the award. So many wonderful staff members, it was impossible to narrow down to one recipient! Meet them here:
Deb Mayville – Office Administrator
Deb works in the front office at Glen Road and Joy Drive and makes sure that everything runs like clockwork. Deb is often the first face that people see when they arrive at Lund and she immediately makes them feel welcome and supported whatever the reason for their visit. “Deb continues to maximize her role and the impact it has on the agency overall. She does so because she genuinely cares about Lund and wants it to be the best place it can be for all,” says Bob Robinson, Director of Operations. “She continues to grow as a ‘go to’ person and wants to help those she can, when she can. She delivers on her word and with a smile. Every day she takes time to appreciate people she interacts with – both staff and clients. This has had a positive impact on her direct staff and on the culture of the front office.” When asked what her favorite part of her work was, Deb replied, “What I find the most rewarding is watching our clients grow, seeing how open & strong they are to share their life experiences, watching their relationships with their children grow and seeing them transition successfully. I love being able to spend my days working with such caring staff who give so much of themselves and being part of the Lund team.”
Kristin McClary – Toddler Teacher
Kristin works with the younger toddlers at Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program and can often be found engaged in art projects, reading, playing outside, and taking every advantage to help the children she works with follow their interests and discover new things about the world. “Kristin is the ultimate team player, in that she truly makes sure that she understands the perspectives of others before moving into problem-solving or decision-making,” says Judy Harvey, Childcare Coordinator. “Kristin exemplifies the best of what Lund represents; she’s compassionate and insightful, educated and experienced and very intentional in everything she does. Her quiet unprepossessing place of truly simply wanting to do what’s best for children, families, the program, and the agency shines through everything she does.” Kristin truly loves being with the children and cites sharing in their joy everyday as being the best part of her job.
Julia Conner and Kate Van Wagner – Private Adoption Team
Julia is Lund’s Private Adoption Coordinator working with families who want to adopt an infant through Lund. Kate Van Wagner is Lund’s Options Counselor and works with pregnant women as they explore the choices they have and provides lifelong support whatever decision they make. It has been a busy start to 2015 for Julia and Kate and they both have faced difficult situations where they have had to think in new and innovative ways to make sure that every client was able to get the support they needed. Julia and Kate are both exceptional collaborators, working well with each other and with the Department of Children and Families and other agencies that Lund works with. Director of Adoption, Wanda Audette, says, “It is a honor and a privilege to be able to work with such professional, thoughtful, ethical, caring and strong social workers who every day go above and beyond for the betterment of our clients.” Both Julia and Kate refer to the excellent members of the adoption department as great support and inspiration in their work.
Thank you to these wonderful Lund employees for the work that they do every single day to help children and families thrive.
April 23, 2015
Click the link below to read about Lund’s recent trip to the Statehouse to celebrate 125 years of helping children and families thrive. (We’re trying out a new type of blog)
March 31, 2015
Monday afternoon in the medical office at Lund’s Glen Road Residential Treatment Center is a busy time. Nurse Practitioner Diana Clayton and Nurse Kaitlin Reese, from the Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB) come every week to set up a medical clinic for the women and children living at Lund. Diana and Kaitlin provide routine preventative medical care for moms and children as well as treating acute issues that come up. They meet every woman and child who move into the building and work with the Lund staff to begin a relationship of medical care.
This partnership was started by former CHCB Nurse Practitioner, Annika Hawkins, who was experienced in community outreach. She realized she was seeing so many patients from Lund that an onsite clinic would be beneficial and make things easier for everyone. “The women feel comfortable at Lund,” Kaitlin explains. “With a lot of mental health issues, there is difficulty trusting people. Lund is a safe haven for the women and so to have a provider come into that community helps them to feel that they can trust the provider too. They feel more comfortable coming into CHCB later on when they have met someone at Lund first. It takes time to establish a comfort level with someone and here we have time to do that.”
It is obviously more convenient for the women to receive medical care in the place where they live without having to pack up their children in the cold weather, negotiate public transport and work appointments around treatment groups and daycare schedules. The ultimate goal though is to encourage each family into going to appointment at CHCB’s Riverside Avenue location as they get closer to leaving Lund and preparing to live independently.
Medical care can be overwhelming and intimidating for women who have not had good experiences with medical providers in the past due to their struggles with substance abuse. “I find that now they are in treatment, many of these women have these chronic pain issues that they have never felt were taken seriously. It was seen as malingering or drug seeking before. This is the precedent we need to work from. We need to build up relationship of trust and an alliance of respect,” says Diana.
Kaitlin and Diana work closely with Jessilyn Dolan and Leslie Swayze, the medical team at Lund and Dr. Bill Grass, Lund’s Medical Director. Before each clinic they get an update from Jessilyn and Leslie about each client on the schedule that day and then before they leave they pass on the important items and updates from each visit that might need to be shared with the client’s larger team. “Jessilyn is the glue between us,” says Diana. “She doesn’t hesitate to get in touch with us to confirm the accuracy of what the clients are telling her or to find more information.”
This collaboration has already expanded since it began in June of 2014. . The first provider from CHCB came alone and now Diana and Kaitlin come together. Diana is a lactation consultant and has met with staff at Lund to see how she could be helpful in supporting breastfeeding. CHCB also brings in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Anna Leavey, twice a month to meet with clients and provide additional mental health support. CHCB reports that in the last eight months, Diana has seen 87 women and children onsite at Lund and that there have been 340 patient visits since the program began.
The docket is full every Monday afternoon and the exchange of information between the medical and treatment teams at Lund and providers at CHCB is lively and comprehensive. This is a successful, practical partnership that is working now and that has real benefits for the women and children in the future. “I think this is a really important role to play as the women grow into motherhood,” says Diana. “There is a huge opportunity to change the dynamic of the relationship between these women and their providers. It’s such an important example to set for their children.”
March 24, 2015
Thank you for loving, looking after and teaching my child when I cannot be there. Thank you for being as interested in him as I am. Thank you for practicing patience, love and energy in every single interaction. I have never seen you look tired or frustrated or even distracted. The work that you do is hard, and repetitive and sometimes must be disheartening. But I would never know. Thank you for reading the same book over and over, thank you for making Play-doh, thank you for picking up thousands of blocks, thank you for singing, thank you for putting mittens on and taking them off and putting them on. Yes, thank you especially for the mittens.
What you do allows me to do what I believe to be good and important work in the world. The ripple effect of you taking care of children allows so much to happen. You are doctors, lawyers, teachers, grocery store clerks, social workers, internet marketing specialists and more. With 700 neurons being formed per second in the little minds you are taking care of, your productivity rate beats everyone else in the world. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that you are forming the future of my family, the community and the world. Your job is the most important one.
You support me as a parent. You often advice, share funny moments and don’t judge when I forget to bring more diapers, provide you with only most erratic collection of spare clothes for wet afternoons and cannot execute the swift goodbye needed when there are tears. The last goodbye is always for me.
You are the few people in the world who understand my child’s words in the same way that I do. You listen to his voice and you hear it. I see so much of you in his play, his interactions and his words at home. I wish I could take credit for many of his more refined and reasonable behaviors but really it should be yours to celebrate.
I know that you are not well paid and that most people don’t understand the absolutely crucial nature of what you do. This is through no fault of your wonderful school but a statewide, perhaps nation wide, under appreciation for the work of Early Childhood. I know your hours start early in the morning and continue until late in the afternoon. I know that you cannot leave until the last child has been picked up, the chairs put up and the dishwasher running. There is no long summer break for you. You have to follow all sorts of regulations, rules and recommendations. So much, every day is your responsibility. I admire you even more because of these things.
I could not do what you do and I am so thankful that you do it. Please know that so much of our success as a family and my peace of mind at work is because of you. There is so rarely time to say it in the morning when I am watching the clock, filling you in on horrible night’s sleep and how my toddler’s emergent speech appears to have him swearing like a sailor at the moment. And in the evening there are boots to struggle on, toys to be pulled away from and the overhanging perennial question of what will we have for dinner. So I say it to you now, thank you for all that you do. Thank you for loving my child.
A grateful parent
*Shared by permission of the author and applicable to teachers everywhere
March 18, 2015
Kim Coe, Lund’s Director of Residential and Community Treatment Services, has been appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin to Vermont’s Building Bright Futures Council for a two year term. Kim sits on the council as a representative of the Vermont Parent Child Center Network.
Of her appointment, Kim says, “I am honored to be appointed to the council. Its membership includes many dedicated and inspirational people who have committed their career to early childhood issues and it’s great to be a part of that environment. It is exciting to be on the front end of the activity as Vermont is rolling out all of our Early Learning Challenge – Race to the Top Grant activities.”
Kim has been working at Lund since 1996 after seven years experience working at Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) in Burlington, VT as an investigative social worker. As the Director of Residential and Community Treatment Programs, Kim oversees Residential Services including our 26 bed residential treatment facility and our transitional housing program, Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, Children’s Services, Transitional Services and Education. Kim’s wealth of experience and unending commitment to vulnerable families has led her to receive many awards and recognitions. Her work has been recognized in Vermont by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association in appreciation of efforts to advance the substance abuse treatment field to support women and children. Kim received the Outstanding Professional Award from the KidSafe Collaborative in 2011. She has served as President of the Vermont Foster and Adoptive Family Association for six years and also President of the Vermont Coalition of Residential Providers.
The Building Bright Futures Early Childhood Advisory Council was created in 2006 by Governor Douglas and then in 2010, Building Bright Futures was established in Vermont statute, Act 104, protecting it from changing political climates. In July 2011, Building Bright Futures became a nonprofit organization that now serves the dual role as the State Early Childhood Advisory Council and the governance structure for the early childhood system, aligning the work at the State level with the work of 12 regional councils across Vermont to promote improvements in access, quality and affordability of prevention and intervention services for families and young children birth to eight. This work includes maintaining a formal system for planning, coordinating and integrating early childhood programs, policies, information and resources that are recognized, consistent and supported at the State and regional levels. ( http://www.buildingbrightfutures.org)
Lund is a Parent Child Center and works with Building Bright Futures in all of our early childhood work – our Early Childhood Education program, Children’s Integrated Services, Home Visiting and Supervised Visitation. We fully support their goal that all Vermont’s children by healthy and successful.
March 16, 2015
Imagine if your child was in part time child care from 11am to 2pm every day and it took you an hour to get there on the bus from your home. Then imagine you have to take a different bus another 30 minutes to get to your job placement. You could then only work for a maximum of 2 hours before having to get back on the bus to go and pick up your child. But this only works if you can arrange your timing to exactly fit the bus schedule. Now imagine doing all this in February temperatures well below freezing in a bus system that rarely runs on time.
Or imagine getting a call at work that your child is sick and having to wait 25 minutes for the bus to take you 40 minutes to their daycare to pick them up. Imagine then having to take another bus, with your sick child, to the doctor, and then another bus to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and yet another one to get home.
Relying on public transport as a young mother on Reach Up in Vermont is hard and unsustainable for long term success. As Lund Reach Up Case Manager, Jamaica White, points out, “Vermont is one of those places where having a car is an essential thing. It really is a lifeline. If you don’t have one, it can really be a struggle.”
There are many reasons why Reach Up clients and other women that Lund works with don’t have access to a car.
- Money – Owning a car is expensive. Reach Up can give limited help towards specific costs for participants who already have a car but ongoing maintenance, insurance and gas all are very hard to pay for when on a very low income.
- Having a license –There are costs associated with getting a permit and a license, though Reach Up can help with some of these. But you have to take the test which can be hard for women struggling with anxiety or who have a learning disability or who have taken the test several times without passing and have simply become discouraged. Then you have access to Driver’s Education or someone to drive with you to practice. Then you need a legal car in good working order to take the test in. There are a lot of points in this process at which someone could get stuck. Lund Reach Up Case Manager, Siobhan Long, says, “I have had people who have done Driver’s Education and then got stuck because they didn’t have a car to take the test. Lots of people are stuck in that place.”
- Fines – Many people have fines but simply cannot pay them while living on a limited income through Reach Up. They just don’t have the money available even to participate in payment plans through the Judicial Bureau. When you have to drive to keep your job and bring your child to daycare, you might have to keep driving despite having fines or perhaps even despite not having a license. “You can quickly dig yourself into a hole,” says Siobhan. “And the fines just pile up.”
It is to address this last point that the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office in collaboration with the DMV , the judicial bureau and the Agency of Transportation to hold a Driver Restoration Day on March 20th from 8am to 4:30pm at the Chittenden County Superior Court at 32 Cherry Street in Burlington. The purpose of the program is to help people to become restoration ready by allowing them to settle all their delinquent tickets for $20. This will help to make sure that all drivers on the road are fully licensed and fully insured.
There are certain very specific eligibility criteria for this program:
- Delinquent tickets can only be from Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Washington counties and must be more than 75 days past due but not yet forwarded to a collection agency.
- Participants must call 802-863-2865 before coming to the courthouse to provide their names, date of birth, license number, ticket numbers, address and phone number.
- Cash will not be accepted only credit cards, money orders and bank checks.
- There are no appointments so come early and expect a long wait.
Click here for more information and phone numbers for assistance
For the people who are eligible for this program and can settle their debts, it will have an important impact on their lives. “Having a license gives you hope,” says Siobhan. “It means a lot to people. Whether you have a car or not, it gives you freedom. It gives you extra opportunity.”
March 10, 2015
February 21, 2015: Ashley Sargent, Lund’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter set up an informational booth at the University Mall in South Burlington as part of NFI’s 4th Annual Youth and Parent Expo. This event provides information and resources to families as well as lots of hands on activities and fun. Ashley’s main goal was to inform the public about children in foster care waiting for forever families and encourage people to learn more about foster care. “I believe it is important for Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and Project Family (Lund’s partnership with DCF to find homes for older children in foster care) to have a presence there to help inform individuals that every child deserves a loving and nurturing family that will support them. Every child is adoptable and it is important to provide recruitment and informational events to educate families. On any given day there are about 60 children in foster care that are waiting for families to adopt them. The youth on my caseload are typically over the age of 8 years old and individuals need to be aware that even older youth need families.”
Ashley works as part of Lund’s partnership with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids which is a program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids website gives this description of Ashley’s work and that of the other 203 recruiters across the U.S. and Canada – “These professionals, known as Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, work on caseloads of children the system has forgotten, ensuring they have the time and resources to give each child as much attention as he or she deserves. These recruiters employ aggressive practices and proven tactics focused on finding the best home for a child through the starting points of familiar circles of family, friends and neighbors, and then reaching out to the communities in which they live.” (www.davethomasfoundation.org)
Many people just don’t know that there are older children in foster care in need of permanent homes and forever families. Events like this one allow people a chance to learn more and to find out what they could do to help. “During the event people were most interested in speaking about how they wish they could help the youth; but that they were currently unable to. I was able to refocus them on seeing if they have any friends, family, etc, that would open their heart and home to the youth,” says Ashley. Families are created in many different way and families find each other in many different ways so every outreach event has the potential to start a chain of action or open up a door for a youth currently in foster care.
To learn more about Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and their child centered recruitment, check out this video.
February 12, 2015
“Because everyone knows that it’s not OK to take food from the fridge and use your body to smear it all over the floor, right?” Asked Gail Rafferty during her recent TED talk at the Burlington TEDx Ed put on by Building Bright Futures and Let’s Grow Kids. Gail, a Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Coordinator at Howard Center in Burlington, was recounting a moment from her children’s early years when her inattention and distraction led to an extremely joyful session of ‘yogurt skiing’ while her back was turned. Her talk titled, “Parenting: A Completely Natural and Improbable Undertaking” spoke about the need for all parents to connect to each other, to support each other and to have help in parenting so that moments of inadvisable food use become happy memories and not triggers for anger and regretful snap decisions.
Gail’s was one of 8 TED talks from local educators, consultants, and medical professionals all themed around growing up. Hosted and emceed by Jane Lindholm, the talks took us from the power of play to basic brain development to parenting advice. All were sprinkled with compassion, humor and genuine amazement at the power and limitless potential of children. Some were more scientific and presented hard data about brain development and the current pattern of investment in educational systems and some used rubber chicken feet. Lisa Guerrero of ‘Serious About Play’ waved them provocatively at the audience trying to find out who had lost their play instinct and who was ready to dive right in and allow themselves to remember and revel in the power of play. And some of the talks called a little upon on the magic of childhood. Tracey Girdich, an interventionist in the Early Childhood Program of the Child, Youth and Family Services division of Howard Center, described how she entices children into connection, social thinking, early literacy and therapeutic play by telling stories with fairies who come out of her sparkly story box.
All of these ideas, theory and scientific insight was translated into practical advice that anyone who spends time with children could take away and apply. Read, tell stories often, model the behavior you want to see, listen, play without inhibition. Mark Redmond, Director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services made this concrete in his talk entitled, “What Advice Would you Give a Room Full of Parents?” There was a furious shuffle of note taking as Mark gave insights from his own parenting journey and his work as Director of an Organization that works with young people battling homelessness and substance abuse. His bulleted list of advice can be boiled down to this – be there, love unabashedly, and hold kids accountable.
With conversation and opinion sharing well facilitated by Jane, a welcome musical break from A2VT with their irrepressible hit ‘Winooski My Town’ and several videos of talks from the National TED stage, the day was filled with the vibrant exchange of information and inspiration. The talks were filmed by RETN and will be added to the TED website in March so they can be shared widely and enjoyed by those who couldn’t get tickets to this sell out event.
Now since I have finished putting up a picture of Jackie Robinson (share stories of inspirational people with children) while enjoying yet another viewing of ‘Winooski My Town’ on Youtube (connect with people from different cultures and embrace community), I think I might go and see if the Preschoolers want to do some yogurt skiing…
January 30, 2015
Access to the Statehouse in Montpelier and the politicians who work in Vermont’s beautiful capital is very easy. You have to go around to the side doors in winter as the impressive front entrance has too many steps to easily shovel, but no one will question you about your identity or your business there. If you happen to be carrying a large, unwieldy box it’s even quite likely that a friendly security officer or a passing legislator will hold the door open for you. State government in Vermont is accessible and open to hearing what the people have to say. Lund took the opportunity on Friday, January 23 to connect with legislators by inviting them to an informational coffee hour to learn about Lund’s programs that are designed to help Vermont’s children and families. For, decades Lund has worked with the state of Vermont to provide education, treatment, adoption and family support services to Vermont families through contracts and grant agreements with the Vermont Agency of Human Services and the Agency of Education. Through these and other collaborative partnerships, Lund has been able to reach over 3,400 individuals from over 1,500 families last year. The time that Lund staff and board of trustee members spent at the Statehouse was a chance to share the scope and depth of its work with elected officials from all over Vermont.
Lund’s Executive Director, Barbara Rachelson has been the representative for Burlington’s Chittenden 6-6 district since 2012 and brings her extensive experience working for and running various nonprofit organizations to her work in state government. “It’s important that our legislature hear about the challenges that the children and families we work with have, so that we can work to make Vermont a place where every child and family can be safe and successful,” says Barbara. “Being able to talk about the plight of the poor, homeless, addicted, or abused is important, as is being able to talk about human services systems and work of the nonprofit sector. This is the first hand experience that I can bring to the legislature.” Barbara was able to introduce many fellow members in the Vermont House of Representatives and members of the Vermont State Senate to her colleagues at Lund and connect them over pressing current issues such as child protection, early education, the experience of incarcerated women and other aspects of Lund’s work.
Lund’s focus at this event was Results Based Accountability (RBA). Over the past year all Lund staff were trained in the Results Based Accountability framework and then participated in establishing performance measures for each Lund program that focus on outcomes that will answer the most vital question, ‘Are People Better Off?’ Lund strongly values continuous improvement of all its programs and reviews are conducted regularly. Lund staff have also worked with contract managers of department areas of the Agency of Human Services to use Results Based Accountability to look at performance measures across contracts/grants in an effort find efficiencies and improvements. Lund is a leader in Vermont in using RBA and is committed to statewide efforts to promote the use of the system among other non-profits. The state is similarly committed to Results Based Accountability to ensure that it is getting the data driven results that it expects from its investments. Legislators were interested in the results of our recent programreview of New Horizons Education Program based on our newly established performance measures, and were appreciative of Lund’s reports and handouts which they will be able to use in committee discussions.
Director of Residential and Community Treatment Services, Kim Coe, spent much of her time at the coffee hour talking with people she has known and interacted with during her almost 30 years working in the human services arena in Vermont. Kim and many Lund staff are advocates for the families Lund serves and therefore look for opportunities to be a resource and voice whenever relevant to the issue at hand. “The Vermont Legislature is an extension of ourselves, it is our neighbors, our friends, our business partners. These are real people that are directly connected to what is happening for all Vermonters,” says Kim. “We are so fortunate to live in a state that affords citizens the opportunity to shake the hand of policy makers and to have direct discussions about issues most important to Vermonters. Our citizen legislature prioritizes the voice of its constituents.”
After the coffee hour, Lund staff and board members went to the floor of the House of Representatives to be introduced by Rep. Rachelson and to be recognized by the members of the House. It is a wonderful privilege to sit in the antique red velvet chairs under a portrait of George Washington and see the workings of state government first hand. The formality of the setting and the procedures are made friendly and welcoming by the smiles and whispered greetings of the legislators sitting near the front.
As you prepare to leave Montpelier, it is hard not to take one last look at the golden dome of the State House with its statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, standing guard on top, without feeling that actually everyone in Vermont part of what is happening inside.
December 19, 2014
The residential counselors at Lund are on the front lines of looking after the women and children living at Glen Road in so many meaningful and important ways. But they also take time to bring the fun to holidays, activities, meetings and sometimes, just to the every day. Thank you to a wonderful team who put the well being, success and happiness of the residents at the forefront of everything they do.