August 4, 2015

Introduction to College Studies at Lund

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:00 pm by Lund

For many people around the country, August means ‘back to school’.  While Lund’s education programs are year round and do not break for summer,  we cannot help but join in with the excitement of this time of year.  Our preschoolers transition to Kindergarten, backpacks full of school supplies are donated for foster children, and across the agency there is a sense of new beginning that comes with the autumnal tinge of this time of year.   One of the most exciting ‘back to school’ things happening at Lund is the first meeting of the Introduction to College Studies class (ICS) that the Community College of Vermont teaches on site at Lund’s Hoehl Family Building in South Burlington.  The class is open to students at New Horizons, Lund’s high school completion program for pregnant and parenting young women, and women living at our residential treatment facility.

The class runs for 13 weeks and offers pre college coursework that helps students to develop the foundational academic skills that they need to be successful in college and beyond.  The goal is to help students develop strategies for college and career success focusing on study skills, the financial aid process, goal-setting, and career exploration and planning.  Data from CCV shows that students who complete this class are 18% more likely to enroll in college.  Last year, 600 students were served by this class statewide at CCV’s 12 campuses as well as other locations, such as Lund.

College work at Lund

Clients from Lund had previously enrolled in this class at CCV locations in downtown Burlington or Winooski but had not often been successful due to the difficulties  of securing transportation and finding childcare.  Many of them also found it hard to coordinate the class schedule with the demands of their schedule at Lund.   It was also hard to complete the work required without additional support.  The solution was simple – bring the class to the students.  “Many of our clients are not ready to attend class in a college environment,” says Tammy Santamore, Learning Together Coordinator, “It can bring up a lot of anxiety for clients or cause them to feel too pressured.  The partnership with CCV has been invaluable in supporting our students in engaging in college level work, in a supportive and familiar environment, by allowing their focus on higher education to compliment their treatment and parenting responsibilities.”

Last fall 15 students from Lund completed the ICS class.  Two of them went on to enroll in another class at CCV in the spring semester and two more took a class over the summer using the tuition voucher that all students who complete the ICS class receive.  The voucher provides the next step in their college journey and can be used up to a year after completion of the class.   Continuing at college is not the path that all of our moms will take but the skills learned in this class are relevant and applicable to high school completion, vocational training or employment.  “The ICS course is a great first step not only for high school students but also adult learners who want to explore post secondary education, those who want to build their resume or explore vocational training and future career choices and build upon their academic skills,” says Tammy.

“We partner with Lund and other non-profits across the state to increase access to the class for our most vulnerable students.  The young moms at Lund certainly fall into this category and we’re happy to help them start the path towards college and career success,” says Katie Mobley, Director of Outreach and Development at CCV.  “As the faculty member who had the privilege of teaching the ICS course offered at Lund, I can speak to the high quality of support that students received in order to make attending ICS a possibility while juggling many other priorities, including motherhood.”

“We are excited to have CCV  back with us this fall, and hope that the collaboration between Lund and CCV continues to improve post secondary enrollment and retention for our families both current and future generations,” says Tammy.

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.

June 16, 2015

‘Any obstacle is worth overcoming’ – Honoring Ceremony 2015

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Employees, Events, New Horizons Educational Program, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach, Workforce Development Program tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:22 pm by Lund

Today is your day,” said Executive Director of Lund, Barbara Rachelson to the students of the New Horizons Education Program. “I know the path you took to get here today was not always easy or fun, and yet, you endured.  Parenting, pregnancy and being a student, each in their own right presents challenges.  There are lots of ways for you to find to not show up – if your baby is sick, if you didn’t get sleep, if you are having a hard day but you persevered.  I hope that you are glad that you did and you feel proud.  I certainly feel proud for you.”

Six graduates were celebrated for obtaining their high school diplomas at this year’s Honoring Ceremony. Many more students were recognized for academic achievement, college studies, participation in Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Program, and attendance at Lund’s Workforce Development Program.  It was a joyful and very proud occasion.   New Horizons is Lund’s licensed education program for pregnant and parenting young women but it is so much more than just a school.  It is a place where students find acceptance, support and a community of peers and teachers committed to helping them be successful students and parents.    On a normal school day you are likely to find a teacher holding a baby while explaining how ions are made, students discussing how often their babies use pacifiers over lunchtime or a teacher helping a student follow up with a potential apartment rental during study hall.    Academic achievement and family support are weaved together through every aspect of the program.

Graduates from the Class of 2015 arrive at the Honoring Ceremony

Graduates from the Class of 2015 arrive at the Honoring Ceremony

The Honoring Ceremony is a time when students, family members, staff from NHEP and other Lund programs, community partners, members of the the Lund board, guests and friends come together to celebrate the students’ achievement and progress during the school year.  Babies and toddlers are integral members of the audience and crying (from children and proud adults alike!) is accepted and celebrated.   In addition to Barbara, this year’s ceremony saw speeches from Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Community Treatment Programs at Lund, Ryan Esbjerg from Flex Your Face and Lund Board President Sara Byers.  But the most powerful words came from the students themselves, many of whom stood up to read from speeches they had written.  Excerpts are given below:

“I would like to thank all who have pushed me to accomplish so much.  My daughter is my hope and motivation to get far in life.  Every student here has achieved so much, from doing their best to come to school every day with or without their kids to being able to ask questions when they get frustrated. ” – Brittany, 18, senior.

Mom and daughter addressing the crowd with their words of thanks and congratulation.

Mom and daughter addressing the crowd with their words of thanks and congratulation.

“I like the opportunity Lund gives us for school because it is a better place for us.  We are all teen and young adult moms and regular high school did not work for us.  High school was difficult because we all have kids.  Some of us are single moms and we don’t have people to watch our kids when we need to learn.  NHEP works for us.  When we need to learn, we can bring our kids with us.” – Fatumo, graduate.

“Three years ago I was supposed to graduate, but I put it aside.  I got pregnant and high school was no longer a priority.  With the help of Lund and my teachers I returned to school to finish my education.  They continued to push me to achieve greatness.  I have learned that any obstacle is worth overcoming.”   – Natalie, graduate.

“Every day I come to school and I’m surrounded with amazing and strong women who have struggled and been hurt but they are here choosing to change their life for themselves and for their children.  When you’re here you aren’t judged, you’re accepted and welcomed.  This program has changed my life and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Because of this program, I can watch my daughter grow into an amazing and smart girl while working hard to build our future.  Coming here was one of the best choices I have made for my daughter and myself.   I can finish school and still follow my dreams so when my daughter is older she can finish hers. ”  – Grace.  Student at NHEP since January.

The ceremony was followed by cake, photos and hugs and congratulations at every turn.  “It’s pretty much the best day of the year,” said Courtney Farrell, Assistant Director of Residential and Community Treatment Services, who couldn’t stop smiling all day.  Her feelings were shared by all, especially those students who left the ceremony with high school diplomas in their hands.

June 1, 2015

“Hearing Real Life Stories” – Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach at Lund

Posted in Employees, New Horizons Educational Program, Program Spotlight, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach tagged , , , at 3:49 pm by Lund

Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Program

Guest Blogger: Kelsey Francis, Lund Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Specialist

condoms

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month—a time for youth, adolescents, parents, educators, service providers, and beyond to think about how pregnancy impacts the goals and future of young people, as well as how to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy and STI transmission. It is also a time to educate and empower our youth and teens to be informed, intentional, and responsible concerning their sexual and reproductive health and wellness.

Last week, we reviewed the current portrait of teen pregnancy and birth rates nationally and within Vermont. Despite great progress in reducing these overall rates over the past 25 years, we also discussed the need for continued prevention efforts, given the immediate and long-term impacts of teenage pregnancy.

One of the many pathways to help educate our community about the realities of pregnancy and parenting at a young age is Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach (TPPO) program. Serving middle and high schools, universities, youth-serving agencies, and community organizations statewide, the TPPO program is divided into two subject areas—the Outreach Panel and the Birth Control Methods Workshop. Together, these components aim to combine accessible information and demonstrations regarding contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention with real-life stories about the realities of pregnancy and parenting at a young age.

Let’s take a deeper look into each component.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Panel is a service in which the TPPO Specialist and current/former Lund clients come on-site to an agency or organization to speak openly and honestly about pregnancy and parenting. The TPPO Specialist discusses statistics and the socioeconomic impacts of teen pregnancy, as well as the services and programs Lund offers to support individuals and families who are pregnant or parenting. Next, the Lund clients share their stories of becoming pregnant at a young age. They address their life pre-pregnancy, choices they made regarding their sexual and reproductive options, their decision to parent or not, their labor and delivery experience, life after labor, how they became involved with Lund, and their future goals and ambitions. After each client has shared her story, the panelists and TPPO Specialist open up a conversation with the audience, taking questions and offering final reflections and advice to their peers.

Lund has also recently expanded its TPPO program to include a Birth Control Methods Workshop. In this comprehensive presentation, audience members are provided with accessible information regarding contraceptive options and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention. The TPPO Specialist leads the workshop, supplementing the information shared with practical demonstrations of each contraceptive method, using demonstration-only samples. Questions, comments, and curiosity are welcome throughout the workshop to ensure attendees are familiar with each contraceptive method’s intended use, availability, effectiveness, and limitations.

Lund’s outreaches have a demonstrated impact on the youth in the audience, and in 2014, 963 Vermont students attended the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Panel. Additionally, we receive positive feedback from attendees about the information they learned and the messages they remember long after the presentations have ended:

  • “I learned that no matter how hard it is to say no to sex, having and raising a child is harder, and it is important not to give in to pressure.”
  • “I heard about real life teen pregnancy stories and how hard it is for people to go through that situation. I enjoyed hearing the real life stories and the advice that the panelists gave us. I think that hearing about these kinds of experiences was very helpful so that we know the risks that are involved with unprotected sex.”
  • “I learned a lot about the vulnerability of kids at my age, the pressures we are exposed to, and how our decisions now impact us in the future.”
  • “I really enjoyed that the guest speakers were so open about their stories…they have had to deal with life’s struggles, and they are so brave. I am extremely proud and impressed with what they have done with their lives now.”

Lund offers the components of the TPPO program as individual presentations as well as via a combined curriculum. For more information, or to schedule an outreach at your organization, please contact Kelsey Francis, Lund Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Specialist, at (802) 861-2072, or via email at kelseyf@lundvt.org.

 

May 20, 2015

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach at Lund

Posted in Employees, New Horizons Educational Program, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach tagged , , , , , , at 1:31 pm by Lund

Guest Blog from Kelsey Francis, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach Specialist.

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month—a time for youth, adolescents, parents, educators, service providers, and beyond to think about how pregnancy impacts the goals and future of young people, as well as how to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy and STI transmission. It is also a time to educate and empower our youth and teens to be informed, intentional, and responsible about their sexual and reproductive health and wellness.

Kelsey in action at the "Let's Talk About Sex" screening hosted by Lund and Planned Parenthood Of Northern New England in celebration of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Kelsey in action at the “Let’s Talk About Sex” screening hosted by Lund and Planned Parenthood Of Northern New England in celebration of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Over the past 25 years, the United States has been making great strides in reducing the national teen pregnancy and teen birth rate. Since 1990, the teen pregnancy rate has declined by 51%, with the current rate of 57.4 pregnancies per 1000 girls, aged 15-19. The teen birth rate has also declined significantly, with a decrease of 57% since 1991. Currently, the national teen birth rate is situated at 26.5 births per 1000 girls, aged 15-19

Vermont has seen declines in both teen pregnancy and teen birth rates that surpass the national decreases. Since the peak year of 1988, Vermont’s teen pregnancy rate has decreased by 60%, and is currently 32 pregnancies per 1000 girls, aged 15-19. Vermont’s teen birth rate has seen a 63% decrease since 1991, currently reported at 14.5 births per 1000 girls, aged 15-19.

Despite great progress in reducing the national teen pregnancy and birth rates, teen pregnancy creates significant educational, social, and economic barriers for young mothers and fathers, as well as their children. Consider the following statistics:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 girls will become pregnant at least once before her 20th birthday
  • Of the young women who have a child before the age of 18, only 38% will receive a high school degree by their 22nd Only 2% will earn a college degree by the time they turn 30.
  • 9% of males aged 12-16 will father at least one child before his 20th birthday
  • Teen fathers are also 25-30% less likely to graduate from high school than their peers who have not fathered a child
  • Less than 25% of teen mothers receive any child support payments from the father of their child. 63% of teen mothers receive some form of public benefit within the first year her child is born.
  • Daughters of teen mothers are three times more likely to become pregnant during their teenage years themselves, compared to mothers who had a child at age 20-21.

Given the various immediate and long-term challenges associated with teenage pregnancy, prevention efforts are essential. Lund proudly offers several pathways to help our youth, clients, and community gain knowledge, insight, and perspective concerning teenage pregnancy. Our Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach (TPPO) Program combines accessible information and demonstrations regarding contraception and STI prevention with real-life stories about the realities of pregnancy and parenting at a young age. Additionally, our individualized services ensure that each client’s reproductive health and wellness needs are addressed and supported. Lund’s TPPO program and services work to empower our clients and community to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, and proactive about their bodies, their choices, and their lives.

Tune in next week, as we discuss more about Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach program!

May 7, 2015

Taking Time to Appreciate Teachers at Lund

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Employees, Events, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP), New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , , at 10:40 am by Lund

Lund staff members took time this week to appreciate amazing, committed and inspiring work of the teachers in our educational programs as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.  We have 3 teachers at New Horizons Education Program (NHEP) and fourteen full time and 2 part time teachers at our Early Childhood Education Program (LECP).  All of these staff members work hard every day to educate, guide, and encourage their students whether they are 2 or 32!

New Horizons Education Program is an alternative high school placement program licensed by the State of Vermont for up to 35 pregnant or parenting students from age 12 onwards.  Older students meet with Lund staff to assess whether our program can best meet their educational needs.  Students come from as many as 15 different school districts per year.  NHEP staff establishes curriculum agreements with each sending school to ensure that students receive academic credit and have the opportunity to walk with their classmates at graduation ceremonies.  Licensed teachers provide instruction in the four core subject areas, as well as art, physical education, life and parenting skills.  Babies aged up to six months can come to class with their moms.   Students at NHEP share common experiences and form a close community where they can give each other support through the challenges of being a young mom.  Last year NHEP began offering the Community College of Vermont’s Introduction to College Studies Class onsite at Lund to allow students to explore further education options after high school.

The teachers in this program work with students on all aspects of their lives.  A recent lunchtime at NHEP saw one teacher helping a student to write e-mails in response to apartment listings she had seen online, another teacher helping a student with her math homework and a group of students enjoying the presence of one of their sons who was a special guest at school that day because his daycare was closed.    Students will frequently state that if it wasn’t for New Horizons they would not be in school and would have no chance of graduation.

Thank you New Horizons teachers for all your hard work.

Ann Klinkenberg, Mary Farnsworth and Kathy Rossman - outstanding NHEP teachers

Ann Klinkenberg, Mary Farnsworth and Kathy Rossman – outstanding NHEP teachers

Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program serves 50 children from birth to aged 5 with consistent, nurturing and high quality care and education allowing their parents to engage in education, employment or treatment programs. For many of the children this program represents the only stability in lives filled with transition and uncertainty. The teachers work hard to ensure that the program is a resource for the whole family by providing connections to necessary resources both within Lund and in the community to ensure that they have what they need to be successful. Examples of these resources include assistance finding housing or food, parenting education, financial education and providing needed clothing or shoes for their children. Parenting is a partnership between the teachers and the families. The program provides the essentials of safety, food and attention and, equally as important, makes the most of this time of crucial brain formation with activities that optimize and prioritize healthy development. The play based program values curiosity, early exposure to art and music and outdoor play. Lund partners HowardCenter to provide embedded counseling and developmental services in the preschool classroom.  LECP is a 5 STAR program, the highest rating in the state’s STep Ahead Recognition System.

Every day LECP teachers sing, do art projects, play outside, work through problems together, encourage children to try new things and teach the importance of being good friends, helpful community members and joyful participants in the world. They are patient, loving and creative.  Every day they value and cherish every child.

Thank you LECP teachers for all that you do.

Some of our truly dedicated early childhood educators.  (The others were too busy to have their photos taken!)

Some of our truly dedicated early childhood educators.

January 30, 2015

Coffee and Conversation at the Statehouse

Posted in Board of Trustees Spotlight, DCF, Employees, Events, New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , , , at 5:04 pm by Lund

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 staff and board members at the Statehouse.

Lund staff and board members at the Statehouse.

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.

 

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!

June 30, 2014

“A Huge Step Forward” – The dedication of the Hoehl Family Building at 50 Joy Drive

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Capital Campaign, Employees, Events, New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:05 pm by Lund

“Lund has been a mainstay in caring for women and children for many decades in Vermont.  Today we make a huge step forward in making these services comprehensive, more organized and more available.  Today we set ourselves on a course for the 21st Century.”

The Honorable Howard Dean, Honorary Co-Chair of the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign.

“For me, it’s pretty simple.  It’s not about a building.  It’s about providing hope and opportunity for every child.”

T.J. Donovan, Capital Campaign Co-Chair.

Thursday June 26th was a day of joy and celebration at Lund as we officially dedicated the Hoehl Family Building at 50 Joy Drive.  Lund’s adoption, parent child center, community treatment, early education, and  high school completion programs and the business and development offices are located in this building.  Lund launched a capital campaign in the early summer of 2012 and moved into the building in October of that same year.  The new building allows clients to access integrated services in one location and the spaces were all custom designed to efficiently house the programs.  No longer are programs and services spread out amongst various inadequate and expensive rental spaces.  Everyone at Lund is very grateful to all the generous supporters of the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign.

Executive Director of Lund, Barbara Rachelson, gave a little history of how Lund came to Joy Drive, “Everyone worked out of Glen Road and we had a lot of people working in the basement.  Our child care center frequently flooded and not always with just water.  Our New Horizons Educational Program had a blue tarp that we kept over the computers because we so often had water flooding down from above.  We moved out into temporary space and by temporary, I mean about seven years.  When Jim [Pizzagalli] gave us a tour of this building, I was ecstatic.  The timing was uncanny and as soon as I saw it I knew it would be the perfect home for the rest of Lund.  I was over the moon when I realized that our address would be on Joy Drive.  I cannot think of a more fitting address given the work that Lund does bringing joy to children and families, often for the first time.”

Barbara Rachelson tells the tale of how Lund arrived at 50 Joy Drive and left the blue tarp days behind.

Barbara Rachelson tells the tale of how Lund arrived at 50 Joy Drive and left the blue tarp days behind.  (Photo: Alison Redlich)

President Elect of the Lund Board of Trustees, Sara Byers, who introduced the speaking program also referred to joy and especially the joy that she personally has experienced through Lund’s programs, “Lund’s work does make a difference.  By being here today, by supporting this building, by supporting Lund’s work, you too are making a difference.  You too are helping to bring joy to the lives of families just like my own.”

The Co-Chairs of the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign, Melinda Moulton and T.J. Donovan also spoke during the ceremony.  Melinda told of the 124 year history of Lund and invited the more than 100 attendees to share in this special history “that has served our community was passion, empathy, shared purpose, team work and social justice”.  T.J. spoke from his position in the criminal justice system, “Folks like me and others in child protective services, we will do our part but our best hope, our best defense, is to support programs like Lund.  They make the difference with early intervention and giving people who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues a chance. This is where we are going to make a difference in this state to give everybody, every child and every family the opportunity for success.”

Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott and Campaign Co-Chair Melinda Moulton share a moment of joy.

Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott and Campaign Co-Chair Melinda Moulton share a moment of joy. (Photo: Alison Redlich)

Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott was also in attendance and spoke about the statewide reach of Lund’s services,  “One fact about Lund that struck me was the number of individuals and families that you have helped over the last year.  Almost 5000 people and when you consider that over the period of Lund’s history, that’s an astronomical number.  How lucky we are to have a non-profit like Lund to take on this monumental task of helping so many Vermonters.  I can’t imagine where we would be without them.”  Congratulatory statements were read from The Honorable Howard Dean and Governor Peter Shumlin, both of whom were traveling and could not be present.

The Honorable Jim Douglas, who was also an honorary Co-Chair of the Campaign, officially dedicated the building as the Hoehl Family Building in recognition of The Hoehl Family Foundation’s generous leadership gift of $1 million to the campaign.   He thanked the foundation for their generosity,”The foundation was started in 1993 by Bob and Cynthia [Hoehl] to enrich the lives of the people in our great state.  They have affected the lives of so many people in Vermont and I thank them for their leadership.” He then invited the assembled guests outside the building to “destroy a perfectly good ribbon” and officially open the building.

The leadership of the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign cut the ribbon and officially dedicate the building.

The leadership of the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign cut the ribbon and officially dedicate the building.  (Photo: Alison Redlich)

The rain had stopped and the sun was shining as guests took tours of the building and shared in the celebration.  Meanwhile behind the doors of the Early Childhood Education Program, mostly unaware of the large amount of guests milling around out front, the children were finishing their snack of apples and crackers and getting ready to play outside.  Downstairs mothers were about to start work on the lab reports in science class and as the celebrations wrapped up the adoption workers, family educators, case managers, clinicians and others went back to their work helping the women, children and families of Vermont.  After ribbons have been cut and the photos taken, the important, life-changing work carries on here at Lund, for another 124 years and more.

June 13, 2014

“Take every opportunity you are presented with.” – Honoring Ceremony at New Horizons

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Events, New Horizons Educational Program, Residential, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outreach tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:54 am by Lund

Students, teachers, family and friends had reason to celebrate on Tuesday as New Horizons Educational Program held the Honoring Ceremony to honor graduates, those who made academic progress and the participants in our teen pregnancy prevention outreach program.  Less than half of teen mothers graduate from high school  (stayteen.org) because it’s incredibly difficult to juggle parenthood and school.  Our students have worked so hard to meet the challenges they face.  A high school diploma is a key step towards future success for themselves and their families.  As one graduate said, “I don’t want to be the mom telling my kids to stay in school and to graduate when I didn’t do it myself.”

Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund, began the ceremony with words of welcome and advised the students to remember that they can and should learn something every day.  Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce was one of the keynote speakers and she spoke about the importance of financial literacy and making plans for the future recognizing that graduation was the an essential starting step towards this future.  The second keynote speaker was Lund graduate Maghon Luman who currently works at the Community Justice Center in the Offender Reentry program which provides support to people leaving prison.  She spoke of how, at 23 years old, she had everything she could have wanted – a great job, nice house, car, loving husband and baby daughter – but how becoming an addict took all that from her.  She credits her recovery and her current success as an employed and stable parent to her commitment to embracing every opportunity.  “Take every opportunity you are presented with and if there isn’t an opportunity, make one for yourself.  Work hard to create the chances you need and be persistent.”  She also offered her congratulations to the students, “Whatever you have completed today, school, a grade or even a class, be very proud of yourself.”

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Maghon addresses the crowd.

New Horizons teacher, Kathy Rossman, presented six young women with their high school diplomas and echoed Barbara’s statement by urging them to continue their education every day and to educate their children as well.  Certificates were also awarded to students who had made academic progress and to those who had participated in Lund’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Outeach Program.  Laura May Ackley who runs this program takes willing young mothers to schools to present the reality of teen pregnancy.  It is such a powerful teaching tool for students but can also be scary and sensitive for the moms presenting.  “I’ve seen your moments of weakness and I’ve seen your strengths,” said Laura May.  “I’ve seen your beauty and I’ve seen your scars.  Thank you for sharing your stories.”

Crystal Parent, one of the six graduates, was presented with the Kit Stone Humanitarian Award which is awarded each year to a young woman who had taken opportunities presented to her and made them work for herself, her family, her peers and her community.  Crystal is a successful graduate of New Horizons and recently left Lund’s residential program where she had been living with her two children.  Shes is now participating in a food services training program and learning valuable skills for future employment.  Treasurer Pearce read a letter from Governor Peter Shumlin congratulating Crystal on her achievement, “Completing one’s diploma is a major milestone, but I understand that you did not stop at educating yourself; you went on to share your knowledge with others at outreach events across Vermont.  I commend you for your hard work, for giving back to the community, and for you commitment to your future.”

Crystal with Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce as she reads a letter from Governor Shumlin.

Crystal with Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce as she reads a letter from Governor Shumlin.

By coming to New Horizons Educational Program and juggling the complexities of being a young mother, each of these students is showing their commitment to being in the 50% that do graduate from high school.  They are doing it for their themselves, of course, but more importantly they are doing it for their children.

Graduation Day for one hard working student, seen here with NHEP teacher Kathy Rossman.

Graduation Day for one hard working student, seen here with NHEP teacher Kathy Rossman.

To see a wonderful news coverage of this event, please click here

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