October 21, 2013

Business Leaders Learn about Lund

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Capital Campaign, Employees, Events, Project Family, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services tagged , , , , , , , at 8:06 am by Lund

What better way to spend a morning than taking some time to admire the view from the Great Room at Main Street Landing, enjoy a Skinny Pancake breakfast and learn about one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Burlington?  Surely many of the guests a recent event hosted by Melinda Moulton couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend their time.  Business leaders from across Burlington were invited to hear Melinda, Rick Davis of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s children, Governor Jim Douglas, State’s Attorney for Chittenden County T.J. Donovan and Lund’s Executive Director Barbara Rachelson speak about why it is crucial that they support the work of Lund.

Melinda introduced the event by making reference to Lund’s 123 year history as an organization that provides comprehensive treatment, education and support services to women, children and families as well being Vermont’s oldest and largest adoption agency.  All of the speakers spoke of how investment in Lund’s programs makes economic sense as to put money into treatment of substance abuse disorders, early childhood education and support towards self sufficiency now significantly saves the tax payer later on.  T.J. Donovan spoke of how it costs $79,000 a year to pay for one woman’s incarceration and that the state spends more money on corrections than it does on higher education.  By making strategic investments in substance abuse treatment programs and focussing on finding homes for young people before they age out of the foster care system the number of women incarcerated will decrease.

T.J. also spoke about the huge saving, around $4.8 million in 2013, that was a result of the 183 foster care adoptions that took place between July 1st 2011 and June 30th 2012.  Finding forever families for every child in foster care is the number one priority for Project Family, Lund’s innovative partnership with the Vermont Department for Children and Families.  This of course benefits the children by providing the loving security of a permanent home but it also has a hugely positive financial impact.  Governor Douglas spoke of an conversation that he had with foster children during his tenure as governor and he asked them what was the most helpful thing he could so for them.  “Stop bouncing us around from home to home, ” came the answer.  Children need the consistency  of a forever family and that is what Lund is striving for.  Barbara Rachelson brought to tears to more than just a few eyes a she read from a letter from a foster child who had recently been adopted.

The point of this event was to introduce Lund to people who had not heard of the organization before or had only vague or inaccurate ideas about the programs.  Benjy Adler, CEO of the Skinny Pancake, was quick to admit that he knew little about Lund before attending this event, “I had no idea that Lund was so old or, frankly, what the organization did.  Everything I learned about Lund surprised me.”  Operating a business in the heart of Old North End, one of the most economically troubled areas of town, Benjy says that he sees first hand the effects that drug abuse, child neglect and poverty can have on a community.  “I see the destructive forces of addiction & generational poverty fully on display every day. It is frustrating & bewildering and frankly, seems like it has been getting worse in the last 1 – 2 years.  At the Chubby Muffin, we have had several attempted burglary and a few successful ones. One time, they broke in the door and destroyed the cash register before the alarm scared them off. Most recently, we had a neighbor addicted to pills routinely stealing our tips.”    These are problems faced by everyone in the community and all the attendees were invited to participate in the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign and help Lund to provide support, help and treatment to women,children and families as they seek to break the cycles of abuse, addiction and poverty.

Thank you to everyone who attended this event and our generous hostess and true friend to Lund, Melinda Moulton. To learn more about the 50 Joy Drive Campaign.  Please watch our campaign video.

Governor Jim Douglas speaks about the need to invest in children in Vermont so that they stay here and themselves invest in the future of the state.

Governor Jim Douglas speaks about the need to invest in children in Vermont so that they stay here and themselves invest in the future of the state.

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