November 12, 2015

Jeff Small Pioneer Award Winner 2015

Posted in Adoption, Awards, Employees, Events tagged , , , , , , at 4:45 pm by Lund

The Jeff Small Pioneer Award: Jeff Small was on the Lund Board of Trustees for 16 years, including 6 years as president.  He was a dedicated and hard working board member who always was looking to the future and the continued success and security of Lund.  The recipient of this award will show similar dedication and hard work in each of the following four areas:

  •  Focus on the mission of Lund, knows what we need and is driven to achieve it.
  •  Courageousness in pursuit of what is right and what is needed.
  •  Confidence in working to secure a brighter future for Lund and its clients.
  •  Persistence in understanding all of Lund’s needs and not giving up on a project or a belief even where there is resistance or slow progress.
  • Above all, the recipient of this award is an advocate and ambassador for Lund

The 2015 winner of the Jeff Small Pioneer Award is Kate Van Wagner, Options Counselor in Lund’s adoption department.  Kate works with pregnant women and their partners and/or family members providing counseling and helping them access needed resources and supports as they plan for their future and the future of their child.  To learn more about Kate’s work, read this blog post.

Julia Conner, Kate Van Wagner, Wanda Audette and Barbara Rachelson at the All Staff Retreat on October 23, when Kate was announced as the Jeff Small Pioneer Award Winner for 2015.

Julia Conner, Kate Van Wagner, Wanda Audette and Barbara Rachelson at the All Staff Retreat on October 23, when Kate was announced as the Jeff Small Pioneer Award Winner for 2015.

Kate was commended for her clear vision, focus and determination but was especially celebrated for her courage. “I’ve intentionally saved courageousness for last,” said Kate’s supervisor Julia Conner when presenting the award. “In part, because I feel it is the most important but mostly because I feel this is the characteristic that truly sums up Kate.  It is courage, a willingness to take risks, and an unwavering dedication to this work that creates positive change. Kate radiates fierce courageousness – as a social worker, as a team member, and on behalf of her clients and her belief in everyone’s ability to grow and change.”

Since one of the definitions of ‘pioneer’ is “leading the way, trailblazing”, we’ve decided to try an innovative interview technique to learn more about this year’s pioneer.  The questions might seem a little unusual but you will see all the traits mentioned above come out in Kate’s answers.

Interviewer:  Describe the color yellow to someone who is blind.
Pioneer Kate: I feel like it smells like when you toast something perfectly and you have the perfect amount of butter melted on it.  You can smell the yeasty bread goodness plus the buttery, melty too.  Maybe that’s because butter is yellow.  It feels rich.  It’s a warm feeling obviously.  What’s the happiest key, musical key?  The saddest one is A minor, I think.  Yellow sounds likes a major chord on the piano, D major. You hear that chord and then you smell the toast.

Interviewer:  Who is your favorite pioneer?
Pioneer Kate: Jane Addams,  Louise Bourgeois, Bread & Puppet,  UVM MSW faculty Susan Roche, Brenda Solomon, JB Barna, Stan Witkin, and Suzy Comerford who are pioneers of Transformative Social Work and sparked the brave/curious parts of me that allow me to do my work.  And my great-grandmother Alice Maher, whom I didn’t get to know but had her MSW (super rare for a woman to have an advanced degree at that time!) and was a vegetarian (frowned upon as a daughter of a farmer!).

Interviewer:  If you had to unload a 747 full of jelly beans, how would you do it?
Pioneer Kate:  Oh man, I feel like you would need to construct something around the plane.  Park the plane on a platform and there is some sort of containing wall around the platform and there’s a giant spout funnel.  You could just open the door and let the jelly beans out and they would go into this funnel. You could pull up pickup trucks.  Where are you trying to bring them?  (Interviewer: Unspecified) Load them into boxes.  The platform would need to be a little tilty too to get the last ones out of the corner.  What I would really want to do is get into the plane with all those jelly beans.  That texture and sound would be amazing.  If they were all one flavor and one color, how pleasing would that be?

Interviewer:  How many cows in Canada?
Pioneer Kate:  Cows?  In Canada? I have no idea. There are farms up there.  Is this a real question?  Why would you ask that? I have no frame of reference for that.  I am horrible at number things, this is why I am a social worker.   I have no concepts of the amount of anything at any point.  A million?  Are there a million cows?  Do you know the answer?

Interviewer:  What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Pioneer Kate:  Once a week my best friend and I have breakfast club, so that was this morning.  We meet really early, she’s also a social worker.  This morning I had coffee  and this is the most hipster thing in the world, chia porridge. It’s delicious and healthy.  It’s chia and buttermilk and it has amazing hibiscus syrup and crumbled pumkpin seeds, dehydrated blueberries and some sort of dried hibiscus flower.  It goes well with coffee, it’s really good.  We go there really early and either we are the only ones there and we are the clearly too loud.  Or there are other people there with their macs and their hipster outfits and we are the only ones talking.  We talk about everything and probably everyone is just listening as entertainment.   It’s like peer supervision in a way.

Interviewer:  Tell me something inspirational from you recent work
Pioneer Kate: The people I work with are usually in the most stressful or overwhelming situations.  They are not calling me and saying how excited they are about their pregnancy.  So my good days might not look like what you think.  There was this one woman who I worked with, in a situation that was super complicated and I worked with her through all kinds of things.  She was going to have the baby any minute and she didn’t know what she was going to do.  The father got involved at the very end of it. We were all at the hospital for a really long time.  I talked with the father in the waiting room, talking with him for eight hours straight, doing therapy with him almost. Other family members were coming and going and there were lots of complex dynamics at play, everyone’s emotions were really up.  I felt like I was holding them together.  I waited for a very long time to be able to see her after the birth, I wasn’t going to leave without seeing her again.  When I saw her she was so thankful, “I knew that you were there with all those people and I knew that you would make sure it was OK and that no one would fight about everything.” It felt important to me that I was there.

Congratulations, Kate, on winning the Jeff Small Pioneer Award.  Your work for Lund is making lives better for women, children and families all across the state of Vermont.  We are so thankful for your dedication, compassion and pioneering spirit.

 

October 21, 2015

Governor Shumlin Declares Lund Day in Vermont

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Awards, Employees, Events tagged , , , , , , at 9:50 am by Lund

Governor Shumlin with Chelsea Mitchell and Megan Clogdo after signing the Proclamation and making Lund Day official

Governor Shumlin with Chelsea Mitchell and Megan Clogdo after signing the Proclamation and making Lund Day official

“Happy Anniversary,” said Governor Peter Shumlin in a speech at the Hoehl Family Building in South Burlington.   “I am the biggest cheerleader for Lund because for 125 years you have been fighting for the most vulnerable folks who actually have extraordinary potential to make a difference for Vermont and for their families and to be the great moms they want to be.”  The anniversary that Governor Shumlin was referring to was Lund’s 125 years of helping vulnerable families in the state.  In celebration of this long and important history, Governor Shumlin declared October 19, 2015 to be Lund Day in Vermont.  This was an exciting and unprecedented tribute to the organization.  As Executive Director, Barbara Rachelson said, “This is the first time in 125 years that a Governor has proclaimed a day for us.  Making Lund Day throughout the state and drawing attention to the issues that are near and dear to us is very important and we are so grateful. Even though much has changed over the last 125 years, we are still true to the heart of the mission.”

In addition to Governor Shumlin and Barbara Rachelson, Board President Sara Byers, Lund program participants Chelsea Mitchell and Megan Clogdo, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, and Secretary of State Jim Condos all offered testimony to the positive impact of Lund’s services in the community, the state and their own lives.   “I believed I was above addiction.  It wasn’t something I thought I would have to deal with.  Fast forward two years and there I was in need of somewhere or someone to help.   Newly sober and pregnant, I mustered as much courage as I could and reached out to begin my long journey with Lund.  It is a decision I never regretted.  I needed to learn how to live again,” said Megan, who gave birth to her twin sons while living at Lund’s residential treatment program for substance abuse and mental health issues.  “I cannot think of another place where I could have successfully done that.”

Governor Shumlin touched on the prevalence of opiate addiction in Vermont, the need for high quality early childhood education and every child’s right to grow up in a loving family during his remarks and implored the gathered crowd to continue to work together with Lund on these critical issues.  “Let’s use this 125th anniversary  to say as a state that we will support Lund and everything they do with all the resources that we have.  And we’re going to continue to have the honest conversation about the problems that lead too many to need the services that are provided here.  Let’s hope that 125 years from now, Lund continues to thrive.”

After signing the proclamation and being presented with cookies baked that morning by students at Lund’s New Horizons Education Program, Governor Shumlin took a tour of Lund’s Hoehl Family Building.  His first stop was the Early Childhood Education Program where he observed the youngest children in the baby room and then took a moment to talk with teachers during their lunch break.  Governor Shumlin is unendingly personable and cheerful and makes the people around him feel comfortable, never stumped for something to talk to people about.   “They’re best when you leave them. They go red and wrinkly and then they’re perfect,” he said to one teacher about the pomegranate she was eating.  “Oh goodness,” said another, relieved when she saw the pomegranate. “I thought he was talking about babies!”

The last stop was New Horizons where Govenor Shumlin strode in and asked, “Now who made those delicious cookies I just ate?” and talked to the students and teachers and inviting them to pose with him for pictures.  “Keep up the good work,” he told them all.  “I’m proud of you.”   He echoed this sentiment through all the departments at Lund and to the agency as a whole and was later heard saying to a reporter outside the building, “Lund has touched over 50,000 lives.  But you know that 50,000 is not just a number, it’s 50,000 stories of moms who want to do better for their kids.  It’s an incredible history.”

Thank you to Governor Shumlin and everyone who attended the celebration.  Happy Lund Day to all our friends, partners and supporters!

To catch up on media coverage from this event, check out these links:

 

 

October 16, 2015

I would never in a million years trade one day with her” – Chelsea’s Story

Posted in Awards, Employees, RPG, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Workforce Development Program at 2:47 pm by Lund

The windows are open in Chelsea’s upstairs apartment at Lund’s transitional housing facility, Independence Place, welcoming in the first warm day of the Spring. Chelsea’s three year old daughter, Serinna, is napping in her bed wrapped in a Minnie Mouse blanket. The breeze blows lazily through the apartment. “Where shall I start?” says Chelsea. “Shall I tell you the whole story?”

She takes a deep breath and begins. Her story rushes through periods of using drugs, homelessness in the cold of the Vermont winter, repeated stints in rehab, losing custody of her daughter, her boyfriend being sent to jail and periods of despair where she couldn’t do anything but sleep all day. The Department of Children and Families became involved with her when Serinna was just over one. She was connected with Lund Substance Abuse screener, Amie Baker and Lund clinician Alice Larned, both of whom work out of the Burlington DCF office as part of ongoing collaborations between DCF and Lund to provide early screening and assessment in families where substance abuse is a concern. It was Amie who helped get her into rehab for the first time, though her time there was very short and unsuccessful.   It was during this time that Serinna wen to live with Chelsea’s mother in law while Chelsea worked so hard to get her back.

Chelsea can’t pinpoint the exact moment that things changed for her but during yet another stint at rehab when there were only a few months left before her parental rights would be permanently terminated, she had a realization. “This is crazy. Serinna misses me so much. I can’t lose her.” So she stuck at it, left rehab successfully but she was homeless and unable to be with Serinna when she left.

That’s when she knew she had to come to Lund’s residential treatment facility. She knew of the program as a DCF worker had mentioned that coming to the program would be the quickest way to regain custody of Serinna. “I came to Lund in September of 2014 and within a month, Serinna was spending some time there with me. She was so happy to be there. she was ecstatic. When she left I would cry and cry and cry. Within another month she was living full time with me and everything changed. I worked all day in group treatment, worked on housing, got Serinna into daycare, got my driver’s license, had three front teeth replaced, joined peer council, started a workforce placement position. And I had stopped using drugs. I moved here into Independence Place after seven months. They had to pick who moved in and I was everyone’s top pick. Lund helped me get everything; this apartment, furniture, money for clothes, a place at a daycare where I don’t have to pay a co-pay. Even Christmas presents. It’s amazing but I’ve worked hard to get where I am.”

Serinna begins to stir, waking from her nap as Chelsea thinks about one last question. “What do I hope for her? I hope she never uses drugs, that she goes to college and we have a great life. I want to get a house and make it good for her, not mess up. I want to her to be happy in school and help her with her homework.   I want her to be a happy healthy girl.”

“I can’t believe I let it go on so long,” she says, pausing to reflect for a minute. “I would never in a million years trade one day with her.”

Chelsea with members of the New Horizons staff and Honoring Ceremony speaker, Ryan Esbjerg.

Chelsea with members of the New Horizons staff at the Honoring Ceremony where she was voted the Kit Stone Humanitarian Award Winner for 2015.

You can read more about Chelsea’s story and her experience with Lund’s Regional Partnership Program in an interview that she recently did with the Burlington Free Press:  Vt Program Guides Parents

October 1, 2015

“I hope she stays here forever” – Phyllis Palmer, Volunteer Extraordinaire!

Posted in Awards, Events, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP), United Way, Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , at 11:51 am by Lund

Teachers and children at Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program love volunteer Phyllis Palmer. The children love that whatever she is doing with them, she makes them feel important and cared for and the teachers feel exactly the same way. Phyllis has taken on the charge of caring for the whole program. Childcare Coordinator Judy Harvey says, “Phyllis has gone above and beyond what I could ever expect from a volunteer. Her work with the children is amazing and everyone loves her. She just does what needs to be done, whatever it is. And she takes the most wonderful care of the teachers. It feels like she has been here forever. I hope she stays here forever.”

When there is something that needs to be done, Phyllis gets to it. “I hope that in the few hours I am at Lund each week I can contribute to the collective effort that makes the center so special and run so smoothly,” she says. “Sometimes that includes sweeping the floor after snack, wiping down rest mats or washing a few dishes. It also might mean rubbing the back of a restless 3 year old, or reading a book to whoever needs a lap and some one-on-one time with an adult.”

Phyllis, a retired Kindergarten and First Grade teacher, is especially dear to the older preschoolers. She brings intentional structured activities to work with the children on early literacy and math skills. She is able to bring small groups of children out of the classroom to play learning games and practice the skills that they will need in kindergarten. The children love Phyllis and look forward to their time with her. They refer to her days as “Phyllis Days” and take the “schoolwork” or “kindergarten work” they do with her very seriously.   These children would not have such focused exposure to these activities without Phyllis. She is actively improving their level of kindergarten readiness and giving them tools and experiences that will help them succeed in kindergarten from the very first day. The children are excited about school and know what to expect when they get to Kindergarten.

This genuine and considerate care does not stop with the children. She takes great care of the teachers at the program as well, knowing that the work they do is challenging but crucial for the happiness, stability and education of the children. One rainy summer day she dropped off a new copy of “Blueberries for Sal” and homemade blueberry bread for the teachers to enjoy. She accompanied her gift with an uplifting note that said, “Blueberries need the rain.” She knows and appreciates how hard it is to be stuck inside because of rain with active toddlers and preschoolers who need to run, climb and get outside in the fresh air.   She also has volunteered for two years in a row (in searing heat in 2014 and cold, windy rain in 2015) to work at the rest stop at the Charlotte Senior Center providing snacks and help to riders participating in the Lund Ride for Children.

The teachers at LECP were delighted to nominate Phyllis for a United Way Building Block Award for her outstanding commitment to the program. She was honored, along with many other community members, at the United Way’s celebration breakfast last week held at the Flynn Theater in Burlington.   “Receiving a United Way Building Block Award was quite a surprise! If somehow it sheds light on the amazing job the whole staff at Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program does every day of every week, then I am both honored and humbled.” Once again not missing the chance to celebrate and look out for the teachers who are so happy to work alongside her.

Phyllis (third from right) with the other winners of the United Way Building Blocks Awards for Education at the Flynn Theater, September 24, 2015.

Phyllis (third from right) with the other winners of the United Way Building Blocks Awards for Education at the Flynn Theater, September 24, 2015.

 

June 25, 2015

‘Looking Toward Tomorrow’ – Kit Stone Award Winner 2015

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Awards, Events, New Horizons Educational Program, Residential, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Workforce Development Program tagged , , , , , , , at 12:03 pm by Lund

Smiles and surprises all around as the winner of this year’s Kit Stone Award was announced.  The recipient was completely surprised and had even been lovingly misled by a staff member in order to keep this wonderful achievement a secret. “Deb told me all week it was someone else,” said Chelsea Mitchell, 2015 honoree after she had recovered from hearing her name read out. “Oh my God, I was thinking, no way, no way, are you guys serious? I can’t believe this is happening. I was convinced it was someone else and I was getting ready to clap for her. I heard my name and was like ‘WHAT???’ Everyone had been telling me what a big deal it was and how its hard to get it. It’s amazing.  I think there’s a lot of people that do what I do so I was totally surprised and psyched.”

The Kit Stone Award is named after a former long time board member and supporter of Lund.  It is presented each year to a woman who meets the following criteria:

  • The young woman will recognize the value in using what you’ve been given to blossom in life.
  • The young woman will take the opportunities presented to her and make them work for herself, her family, her peers and her community.
  • The young woman will demonstrate a commitment to her education and/or vocational training.
  • The young woman will demonstrate compassion, kindness and goodwill for others.

Chelsea was nominated by a record 5 different staff members – Greeta Soderholm, Dinah Larsen, Deb Mayville, Jenny Labelle, and Amanda Johnson.

Chelsea currently lives at Lund’s transitional housing facility, Independence Place, with her almost 3 year old daughter.  She works in the front office with Deb, Jenny and Amanda at Lund’s Glen Road building as part of the Workforce Development program.  “I answer phones, greet people, do a lot of paperwork, copying, faxing, scanning, mail, spreadsheets.  I help the girls out with stuff and take donations in.  Wherever they need me to be, I’m there. I love it. I love helping people. I greet people and they tell me I always have a smile on my face.”

Before moving to Independence Place, Chelsea lived at Lund’s Residential treatment program for substance abuse and mental health disorders.  “I just banged the program right out. They were surprised I had such a short stay but it was good for me. My daughter came to live with me a month after I got there and I was so happy.”

Chelsea with members of the New Horizons staff and Honoring Ceremony speaker, Ryan Esbjerg.

Chelsea with members of the New Horizons staff and Honoring Ceremony speaker, Ryan Esbjerg.

In her nomination she was praised for her hard work, determination and constant commitment to doing the best thing for her daughter.  “She talks about her future, going back to school, taking the steps she needs to make, knowing things take time,” said Deb in her nomination. “What I see now in Chelsea is a woman who is determined to make the most out of her life for her daughter and herself. She’s strong, determined and presents a can do attitude. Even when she has a day when life is not easy she maintains a positive attitude, looking toward tomorrow and not concentrating on the negatives.”

“Chelsea came to Lund with a  huge uphill battle and had not been parenting her daughter for a great deal of time,” said Greeta who was Chelsea’s clinician and helped her take the important steps she needed to take before being able to come to Lund.   “Her addiction had taken a full grip on her and she had lost everything because of it. She worked so hard to do what she needed to do to get into treatment, and there were a great number of barriers. Chelsea took advantage of all Lund offered and demonstrated wonderful parenting capacities once the barriers were removed. She is getting back out in the workforce while also balancing all the busy aspects of being a single parent. She is out in the world, independent, and the future looks so much more bright for her as a result of all her hard work and dedication.”

Chelsea plans to pursue Personal Care Assistant Training through the VNA this summer and hopefully then move into a job in that field. “I’ll go to peoples’ homes, cook them dinner, do whatever they need me to do. I think I’ll be good at that. If I like it I’ll go from there and proceed to be a nurse. Right now I want to make sure I like it. It’s hard work but I’m a hard worker so I’m pretty excited,”  she said.  Though so doing would mean that she would have to leave her work placement at Lund.  “I’m debating on that at the moment.  I don’t want to go,” she admits.  “But when I leave Independence Place, I can come and sub as a residential counselor there or at Glen. I would love to work here someday. This is my ideal job.  I can start as a sub and go from there. I am 100% going to do that, no doubt in my mind. I wish I could do it now.”

Dinah’s tribute perhaps describes most succinctly the key to Chelsea’s success, “She took the opportunity given to her to take a deep breath and try to create a life that could be different and better for herself and her family.  She woke up every day with a smile on her face and a strong focus in her head to forge ahead when she easily could have given up.  She is kind, thoughtful, and a good friend to other people as well as a loving and nurturing mother to her daughter.”

Congratulations Chelsea on being the 2015 Kit Stone Award Winner.

May 5, 2015

Employee (s!) of the Quarter

Posted in Adoption, Awards, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , at 4:08 pm by Lund

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 and Director of Operations, Bob Robinson

Deb Mayville and Director of Operations, Bob Robinson

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.”

Judy Harvey, Childcare Coordinator and Kristin

Judy Harvey, Childcare Coordinator and Kristin McClary

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 Connor and Kate Van Wagner, Private Adoption Team

Julia Conner and Kate Van Wagner, Private Adoption Team

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.

March 18, 2015

Kim Coe appointed to Building Bright Futures Council

Posted in Awards, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , at 10:56 am by Lund

Kim Coe, in her office at Lund's Glen Road Residential Treatment Facility, Spring 2015

Kim Coe, in her office at Lund’s Glen Road Residential Treatment Facility, Spring 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.

 

 

December 8, 2014

Jeff Small Pioneer Award 2014

Posted in Awards, Employees, Events tagged , , , , , , at 8:29 am by Lund

Kristi Provost, Billing Support Specialist, was awarded the Jeff Small Pioneer Award at the All Staff Retreat last month.   The Jeff Small Pioneer Award is given to a Lund employee who shows focus on the mission of Lund, courageousness in doing what needs to be done, confidence in working to secure a brighter future for Lund and its clients and persistence in not giving up on a project even if the going is slow.  These were all qualities shown by former Lund board president Jeff Small, in whose honor the award is named.

Kristi has worked at Lund for almost 5 years.  First as an administrative assistant and receptionist in the front office at Glen Road, and now as the first employee in this newly created position where she is responsible for quality assurance of client records and billing across multiple programs as well as data collection and reporting.  In her new position, Kristi has also been helping to prepare Lund for the implementation of our new electronic data base and has helped streamline processes for obtaining information to adhere to our many reporting requirements.  “This was a role that was very much needed to support the growth of our programs, but did not yet have a lot of structure built into it,” said Courtney Farrell, Associate Director of Residential and Community Treatment.  “Kristi took what she already knew and identified what she needed to learn to meet the demands of the new position, often taking responsibility for her own learning and focusing on what she needed to do this job to the best of her ability. Kristi quickly learned so much about what each of our programs required and set up systems to manage an incredible amount of data in a way that decreased the burden for staff, and provided the management team new program information that we had never had before. Kristi often knows what is needed by each individual to do our jobs well (sometimes when we don’t even know!) and takes responsibility to provide us each with what we need.”

Executive Director Barbara Rachelson, Courtney, Kristi and Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Treatment Services

Executive Director Barbara Rachelson, Courtney, Kristi and Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Treatment Services

Kristi was surprised but pleased at being given this award, “It was a very unexpected surprise, but I was so moved by the recognition I received from the agency.  Working in the background, so to speak, you become accustomed to applauding the hard work that is being done for families on the front-line.  It is a very pleasant moment when it is brought to your attention that the work you do as an administrator to support all of the direct service providers really is making a difference in the way they are able to help support the children and families that we serve.”

In her free time Kristi enjoys spending time with her family hiking, baking, drawing and reading.

December 4, 2014

Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Year 2014

Posted in Adoption, Awards, Employees, Events, Foster Care Program, Project Family tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:34 am by Lund

Melissa Appleton, Post Permancy Worker in Lund’s adoption department, was awarded the Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Year Award at the all staff retreat last month.  Melissa provides specialized support services for families after they have finalized their adoptions or guardianships.  Her focus is to help families manage the joys and challenges of adoption and guardianship and grow stronger by offering support, education and information.  Having worked for 8 years at Lund, Melissa felt honored and grateful to receive the Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Year Award, “I know how special the Elizabeth Lund award is. Lund is a great place to work with committed and skilled staff. I am grateful to receive this award-especially knowing that I work with other Lund staff who are equally deserving.  Knowing these peers nominated me is very special. I could not do this job without the support and encouragement of an amazing team and co-workers. I am also grateful to the Lund families who have taught me about being a social worker and have helped shape my work here at Lund.”

Executive Director, Barbara Rachelson with Melissa, Christina and Director of Adoption, Wanda Audette at the 2014 All Staff Retreat at Hotel Vermont.

Executive Director, Barbara Rachelson with Melissa, Christina and Director of Adoption, Wanda Audette at the 2014 All Staff Retreat at Hotel Vermont.

Christina Shuma, Post Permanency Services Coordinator, presented Melissa with the award referring to her as a “very special and extremely skilled social worker.”  She also remarked on her admirable commitment to professional development and her role as a go to person for post permanency issues not just at Lund but at other organizations she works with.  Everything Melissa does is driven by her commitment to the families, “At the core of her work with families she believes that families want the absolute best for their children and are doing the best they can with what they already know. She sees it as her mission to help these families, who are parenting children not born to them, learn as much as they can about this unique role that they have with their children, how they can parent their children at the child’s developmental level, how parents can learn more about their own parenting style, stress and coping skills; and to ensure that the community of providers involved with the families are sensitive to the adoption or guardianship needs of the child and family,” said Christina.

Doing work that can be frustrating and sometimes difficult, Melissa takes time to focus on the positives, “One of my favorite parts of being a Post Permanence Service Provider is being able to sit with an adoptive or guardianship family and celebrate the successes. These may not be considered huge successes in general terms: it may be a month at school free of write-ups for behavior or a parent finally getting nightly hugs from their child. To many these may not seem that substantial but to some of our Post Permanence families these small successes are so important. These children and families have not always traveled the easiest road and being able to recognize these celebrations reminds me how important this work is.”

In her free time Melissa enjoys getting outside as much as possible – skiing, mountain biking, swimming, horseback riding.  Activities which she uses to refuel herself to face the considerable demands of her job.  Thank you, Melissa, for your dedication and hard work for families who need you.  We are all very lucky to have you at Lund.  Congratulations on this well deserved award.

 

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.

 

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