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.


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.

November 21, 2013

First Jeff Small Pioneer Award Winner – Amie Baker

Posted in Awards, Board of Trustees Spotlight, Employees, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services tagged , , , , , , at 9:25 am by Lund

Amie Baker, a case manager who works with Lund and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to help families get access to substance abuse treatment services, has shown tenacity and courage in her work with Vermont children and families and is a wonderful and worthy recipient of the first Jeff Small Pioneer Award.  This award was established earlier this year  as a tribute to long serving board member and former board president Jeff Small’s commitment to getting things done during his board tenure. 

Kim, Amie, Jeff and Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund

Kim, Amie, Jeff and Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund

“I feel honored to receive this award,” said Amie.  “My position has been part of a collaboration between two agencies that have both worked very hard to secure the service that I provide.  I am thankful to have the support of Lund and DCF and I feel grateful to have my work recognized with this award.”  Amie has worked at Lund in this position since 2008 but also previously interned at Lund and worked in the early childhood program.

The collaboration between the two agencies, DCF and Lund, is something that Kim Coe, Director of Residential and Community Treatment Services, also spoke about as she presented Amie with the award referring to her skills at building partnerships and getting everyone to commit to the same priorities and goals.   “I can tell you without a second of hesitation that families and children are better off because of Amie’s work.  Social work practice is better.  We are better,” said Kim. “Amie has not only been a leader, a change agent and a risk taker, she has done so with bravery, motivation, determination, kindness and compassion and creativity.

“I enjoy the change that I see in families as they access the necessary supports,” said Amie.  “I enjoy doing work that makes a notable difference in the community.”

Congratulations to Amie on being the first ever recipient of the Jeff Small Pioneer Award.  All the children and families that are served by Lund and DCF are lucky to have such a fantastic support on their side.

July 15, 2013

Departing Board Members Leave Legacy of Service

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Board of Trustees Spotlight, Capital Campaign, Residential, Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , at 2:42 pm by Lund

The June 26th meeting of the Board of Trustees saw the departure of three board members who between them have given 22 years of service to Lund.  What an amazing achievement.  We are so grateful to the hard work of Tim Halvorson, Aimee Marti and Jeff Small.

Tim joined the Board in 2010 and served on the legislative committee, now referred to as the government relations committee. He is the owner of two successful restaurants on Church St in downtown Burlington and also serves on the board of COTS and the Vermont Downtown Project.  Tim has a huge presence in the local community and we are very appreciative for his time helping children and families to thrive by working with Lund.

Aimee also joined the Board in 2010 and served on the development committee and was instrumental in helping Lund with the 2012 re-branding process.   She has recently launched ‘The Starboard Collection’ – a line of nautically inspired dishware.  You can check it out here.   We wish her luck as she sets sail on her new adventure and are so thankful for her time with us.

Executive Director Barbara Rachelson with Aimee.

Executive Director Barbara Rachelson with Aimee.

Jeff is a CPA in Burlington and served on the Lund Board for 16 years, including 6 as president.  He was extremely involved in the Glen Road Capital Campaign that was completed in 2007 and saw the addition of 8 bedrooms to the residential treatment facility as well as sorely needed renovations.  Jeff brought his financial acumen to Lund and was keenly committed to the continued sustainability of the organization.  In recognition and honor of his service,  the Lund management team has established the Jeff Small Pioneer Award to be given annually to a staff member who shows commitment to innovation and change at Lund.  Jeff remains on the 50 Joy Drive Capital Campaign Steering Committee and we are very grateful for his continued support.

Three new board members have been elected to fill these now empty positions.  Stay tuned for updates on our new trustees.

Thank you to all our friends and community members who currently serve or have previously served on our Board.  Your dedication to helping us do essential work for the children and families of Vermont is an inspiration.