March 15, 2012

From the Executive Director

Posted in From The Executive Director at 6:42 pm by Lund

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”–Karl Barth

When former board member, Jim Pizzagalli called me and said he heard we were looking for space and Pizzagalli properties was putting their building on the market, Jeff Small, Bob Robinson  and I eagerly went to look at it.   We knew right away we had found the perfect second site for Lund.   Just a brisk 12 minute walk from Glen Road, this building would be just the spot to be the new home for Lund’s child care center, high school, adoption services, parent child center community services and our business and development offices.  The ability to have our so many of our programs under one roof, the green space, the windows, the space, the proximity to the bike path is incredibly exciting.  We knew this could be our new second site.    And, when I realized we would be on “Joy Drive” I could not think of a more fitting address.

I knew from the renovation and expansion of Glen Road to expect that finding the right place takes time.  Several of our programs have been in temporary space for over 8 years.  We moved out of Glen Road and sublet the Democracy For America space. Great neighbors, but unfortunately not great space for the type of work we do.

Our child care center and school for pregnant and parenting women went from being in a basement at Glen Road, which flooded so frequently that we had blue tarps over our computers in our computer lab in our school to being a interim rental space down route 7.     Here we have 30 babies and toddlers who are growing and developing and young mothers who are working hard to finish high school, many going on to college, and often they are first generation college students.

Magic and hard work  happens every day in spite of the space we are in.

This campaign is not just about a new building, but about the people and the life changing work that happens at Lund every day.

Lund’s mission and programs are very much about hope, opportunity, family, and joy.  It’s about   people working hard to forge a new beginning for themselves, and a new and bright beginning for their babies and children.  As we work to help children thrive, we empower families to get the treatment, education, skill building and parenting help they need to have these exciting new beginnings for themselves and their children.

We have so many first generation  high school graduates and college students who are embarking on exciting careers and work; women who are receiving counseling and support to have a new beginning that is not overshadowed by trauma, addiction, and pain, but rather a new beginning of hope and possibility.

“Joy comes from using your potential.–Will Schultz

In most families these days, affordable childcare is critical to the family’s economic survival.  There is a childcare crisis across the nation. In Chittenden County there is a less than one percent vacancy rate for infant and toddler childcare.  Our staff struggles to find childcare for our residents, as our facility cannot accommodate all of their babies.  Our staff struggles to find childcare for their own families too!  And on an almost daily basis, we receive panicked calls from community parents who are desperately looking for childcare so that they can work or go to school.

Our adoption program helps so many babies and children have a bright new beginning, especially older children waiting to be adopted.   Our staff helps these children have a forever family and home, talk about a new beginning!   Instead of growing up in one or more foster homes or residential placements, these children have loving and permanent families and homes.

Pretty monumental and life altering events for birth mothers, adoptive families, adoptees, or older children waiting to be adopted happens here.  Let me give you a few examples:

First our adoption services:

“Dear Christina, You are absolutely incredible.   What a tremendously life-altering experience …..   I never, in my wildest dreams, expected to ever know whatever happened to my birth son given up for adoption almost 49 years ago or to ever have communication with him…..

 I want you to know what an incredible difference it has made in my life to be connected with my son.  My heart is so full – my long deeply withheld feelings, emotions and thoughts are finally being released and the tremendous joy is really indescribable.   He is a truly wonderful and deeply caring man who is very open and honest.  I am so blessed.

Our school and childcare:

We got a letter from relatives of a child was in our child care when her mother first started residential, and continued with us when she moved into her temporary foster placement. The kinship placement was finalized when she was three and she moved to California. About 5 months after the child moved we received a card, “We just wanted to reach out and thank you so much for being a part of our child’s life for the last couple of years. Although we never had the chance to meet any of you, she talks about her school and teachers all the time. We can tell that you were an important part of her life and we’re grateful that you were there for her during some difficult times. You’ll be happy to know that she’s doing well in our family. She is a delight and joy, and we are convinced that the care she received from all of you is a large part of who she is today. Thank you again for everything you do and for who you are.”

Here is another letter about our parent child center services and in particular our Parent education/job training:

“I want to express my gratitude to your program.  having been here over seven months.  I was five months pregnant, homeless, and was trying to leave an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. 

Between working with my team here, and also my services at the Howard Center I have turned my life around. ….I have secured housing and made enormous progress toward starting out in working towards my educational goal.  I cannot say enough about the support I have received from the great staff that have gone out of their way to help me.   My hope is that future clients can benefit as much as I have in this program by doing what they are here for but also going above and beyond what is expected.  I am leaving here and moving into an apartment with my daughter. In two weeks I start college with a plan in place up to job placement in 2016.  I am starting my daughter, at Lund’s day care next week and wouldn’t have been able to attend school without that.

I attribute all of these accomplishments to the assistance I have received here at Lund and also the Howard Center.  I also thank everyone here for making it possible for me to give my daughter a better life and me another chance at it.

This campaign will help Lund to help children and families to have a bright and joyful future for many years to come.”

Please get involved and join us in our efforts.

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.–Buddha

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