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.

July 29, 2014

First ever team Employee of the Quarter award

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Awards, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , , , at 4:46 pm by Lund

The sight of lots of people gathered in the hallway of Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program last Friday afternoon was probably  confusing at first for the toddler looking out from the vantage point of his teacher’s arms but he soon picked up on the air of celebration and happiness amongst the crowd.  His teacher and all her colleagues were being awarded Lund’s first ever team Employee of the Quarter award.

Bringing joy to Joy Drive, every day.

Bringing joy to Joy Drive, every day.

Associate Director of Residential and Community Treatment, Courtney Farrell, read out a glowing nomination about the wonderful work that the 14 full-time and one part-time teachers at LECP do every single day.  “As a team, the teachers in childcare make a huge difference in the everyday lives of the children at Lund and embody our missions as an agency to help children and families thrive.  Their commitment to meeting the needs of children is so commendable and we are all so impressed with their work each and every day.”

LECP serves 50 of Vermont’s most vulnerable children and every day the teachers are faced with the challenging behaviors that come from a population living lives of constant transition and turmoil.  They give the children love, consistency, structure and fun and strive to spark their curiosity and imagination in every interaction.  There are hard moments of course but the progress that the children make under the love and supervision of these dedicated teachers is inspirational.  From playing with blue oobleck, to catching frogs, dancing, singing songs, reading the same book ten times back to back and hours of dramatic play inspired by the garbage truck that pulls up behind the playground, children are thriving at Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program thanks to the energy, love and commitment of their amazing teachers.

Congratulations to all the teachers.  Thank you for bringing joy to Joy Drive.

July 14, 2014

Doughnut Monday!

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , at 1:24 pm by Lund

Stand down! Not today!   We are releasing this article after the fact so that we aren’t overtaken by doughnut seekers.   The delicious doughnuts in the following pictures were made some weeks ago by the trainee bakers of the older toddler classroom at Lund’s Early Chidhood Education Program.  They have been baking regularly on Mondays, making snack to share with the other children and trying out exciting new recipes.  The doughnuts came about when older toddler teacher, Kent Huntoon, asked one of his students to choose from a recipe book.  The book fell open at doughnuts and the decision was made.

The children helped to mix the ingredients together, roll out the dough and cut the ‘O’ shapes.  The doughnuts were baked, not fried and mixed with spices that made the whole school smell like Thanksgiving!  The bounty was shared amongst the classrooms for snack.  And since I conveniently happened to be in the area right around snack time, I was invited to share some as well. They were delicious!

Kent and his helper work on cutting out the doughnut shapes.  Another friend worked on the holes.

Kent and his helper work on cutting out the doughnut shapes. Another friend worked on the holes.

Cooking with children is fun and can also be a great opportunity for learning.  Following a recipe encourages basic math skills – measuring ingredients, figuring out what comes first, second, third – and helps with reading and introduces new vocabulary.  It is also a very sensory experience as children get to put their hands in the dough, use a rolling pin, hear the mixer whirring, smell the doughnuts baking.   When everything is ready, it can be a great opportunity to boost the children’s confidence as they get to share what they’ve made with their peers and hear the excitement and compliments of others eating what they have made.   Not that getting kids to eat doughnuts is usually a problem, if it was, being part of the cooking process can help picky eaters to engage with new foods.


I wonder what they’ll be making next Monday.  I better clear my calendar at snack time…

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.

August 2, 2013

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , at 4:34 pm by Lund

Friday is pizza day at Lund’s Early Childhood Education program.  The older toddlers make pizza every week to share with the entire center for lunch.  This process starts the night before when the children learn how to mix together yeast, salt, sugar, flour and water to make the dough.  They then check in on their work on Friday morning and are able to see how the dough has changed over night.  This is a practical opportunity for the teachers to talk to the children about the chemical reactions between the acid and alkaline ingredients that cause the dough to rise and also a lesson in patience as they need to wait until the next day to get to the fruition of the project.

On Friday morning, the cooking process starts as the children get to work spreading the sauce on the dough.  This usually takes hands, not spoons or any other sort of kitchen implement and so can get a little messy.  The teachers are unperturbed and simply put plastic sheeting down on the floor and let the children get to work.  They experiment with different flavor combinations and really try to incorporate as many local and fresh ingredients as possible.  Past specials have featured cauliflower and parmesan crust with sauce and cheese, quinoa maple crust with avocado cream sauce, pizza with zucchini crust and toppings such as apples, pineapples, olives and peppers.

Sometimes they need to go to the store to pick up ingredients for these creative specials and so the whole class takes a field trip down the hill to the grocery store to pick up what they need.  This often results in an excited announcement from the chefs to the other shoppers, “We’re making pizza today!”  This is a chance for the children to practice the social skills needed to ask for assistance at the deli counter and to wait in line.  It also allows the opportunity for conversation around where food comes from and what represents healthy choices.

This week the Pizza Day Special was pesto, chicken, mozzarella, ricotta (Broccoli and cauliflower….shhh, the children didn’t even notice). 

The pizza is shared by everyone for lunch and has become a beloved weekly tradition at LECP.   The children feel directly engaged in the process and as a result often eat more of this meal than others as they feel pride in their work.  And who doesn’t love pizza?


June 24, 2013

Jadranka Gubic named Early Childhood Educator of the Year

Posted in Awards, Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:35 pm by Lund

“The biggest reward is seeing a baby’s face light up,” said Jadranka Gubic of Lund’s Early Childhood Education Program at the Building Bright Futures of Chittenden County award ceremony where she was celebrated as Center Based Early Childhood Educator of the Year.  To an audience of colleagues, friends, and of course some of her young charges, Jadranka smiled and was visibly moved as Judy Harvey, Childcare Coordinator at Lund, spoke to her skill, patience and true dedication as a care giver to young children.

Jadranka with one of her young friends at LECP

“Sometimes when I walk in the infant room and see her sitting on the floor, quite literally covered with children – some crying, some laughing, some eating – my hair stands on end. In the middle of it all, no matter what, Jadranka will say “Isn’t she wonderful?” or “Look how he’s developing”. And I think to myself, what greater security can a caregiver provide a parent who leaves their child during the day, and what greater gift can someone give a child as they develop attachments and a sense of worthiness?” Said Judy.

Both Judy and Jadranka were holding back tears as she continued, “Every baby and parent she works with knows that she truly loves and respects everyone around her. Every baby and every parent also feels they are her “favorite”, her most beloved charge.  I know it time to recognize this outstanding woman for her invaluable contributions to colleagues, children and families in Chittenden County. A woman known as the ‘baby-whisperer’ though I argue that she’s really a ‘people-whisperer’. We’re truly blessed to be in the presence of her unassuming greatness.”

Also honored at the ceremony was Penny Blanchette of Hinesburg as Family Care Provider of the Year and Laurie Redel of the Essex School District as EEE Provider of the Year.    Blanchette was commended for her commitment to her own constant education in order to improve her practices and provide the best possible experience for the children in her care.  Redel was celebrated as having worked extremely hard to serve the youngest children with the highest needs in the Essex public school system and making the EEE program there, according to written testimony by Tom Bochanski of Hiawatha Elementary, “one of the best in the state.”  A special lifelong achievement award was given to Nancy Savoy, who, though now retired, worked with Headstart for 43 years serving countless numbers of children and families in the Champlain Valley.

Jadranka and Lund colleagues at the Awards Presentation

Julianne Nickerson of Building Bright Futures was keen to also promote the council’s latest project to write a new strategic plan based, in part, on the granting of Project Launch funds by the SAMHSA to Vermont.  The goal of Project Launch is for all children to reach social, emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive milestones.  Healthy growth in each of these areas builds the foundation for children to thrive in school and beyond. (Project Launch Briefing Sheet,  Retrieved June 21st 2013 from

The awards ceremony was a celebration of professionals who make a difference in the lives of children every single day.  It was obvious that the statement made by Judy Harvey in her nomination of Gubic, could be applied to all in the room.  “By example, she has taught us all the difference between ‘taking care of a child’ and ‘caring for a child’.”

December 30, 2012

These Children Deserve a Childhood

Posted in Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:01 pm by Lund

Produced by Cat Cutillo/Lund

Watch this 30 second video.

There is still time to make a donation to Lund before the end of the year. Your gift helps families break the cycles of abuse, poverty and addiction. Lund must raise $850,000 this year to provide crucial services building hope, opportunity and healthy families for Vermont’s children. Please make a donation to Lund before the end of the year. Your gift helps ensure children have the childhood they deserve.

Donate now to Lund at

March 15, 2011

Kris Hoffman Leaves Lund After 11.5 Years of Service

Posted in Employees, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , at 3:24 pm by Lund

Burlington free press article1

“Everyone has served as my teacher and I take all of you in my heart.” These were the words of Kris Hoffman in her farewell message. Kris worked as Lund Family Center’s Educational Services Coordinator for 11.5 years, seeing Lund transform frequently as she worked with young women in the New Horizons Education Program and engaged with infants and toddlers in the Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP). Kris was a tireless worker during her time at Lund, and when not tutoring students at New Horizons she could be found nurturing, reading to, singing to, and playing with the children enrolled at LECP. Kris says she calculated that she and her staff have worked with 500-600 families during her service. Every single one of these families was approached with enthusiasm and provided with the educational tools necessary to improve their lives. Kris Hoffman is already dearly missed, and Lund Family Center staff wishes her the best of luck in her future.

Read Kris’ full goodbye letter below:

Comrades—I know that I tend to be verbose, but please bear with me.

I wanted to express my immense satisfaction and exceeding gratitude for all of the gifts that I have received during my work over the past 11.5 years at Lund. Everyone has served as my teacher and I take all of you in my heart.

I calculate that we have worked together with 500-600 families over my service, and we’ve experienced that our program participants arrive bringing us their worst— their despair and humiliations—and we have worked hard to give them our best in return.

Throughout the years I have felt grateful to have experienced ambassadors from those families share how their lives have changed for the better. Some of them we hear from frequently: Chrissy, Kayana, Jasmine, Tonnie; some less frequently: Smitty, Amino, Sabrina, Leahn; some sporadically: Jacko, Alicha, Lynette. Because these ambassadors and others share their current lives with us we know that our best works, and that it is always the right thing to do. I feel honored to have worked with such talented colleagues for so many vulnerable families, and to have worked long enough to see the work continue past what is Usual and Customary.

I’ve seen that sometimes our best works quickly, and other times it takes longer. Working in a SA/MH/Co-Occurring/Integrated treatment program, we have sometimes struggled with setting expectations that are too low for participants who are high, and too high for those who are low. ☺ Working to support families and planning and re-planning has been challenging, but also exhilarating, and teams have shouldered heavy loads in order to help families thrive. It has been great to be a part of this and I admire you all and honor your teachings.

Amazing children have been my teachers, too: Grace, Brock, Savior, Jayshia, Anecia. My heart has been laid wide by both joy and sorrow on behalf of children and their resiliency has never shocked me, but sometimes healed me.

My staff has been outstanding in their patience and acceptance of my chaotic leadership style. Please, please mirror back to them the same understanding in the months that come when the paper clips and rubber bands that I have used to hold everything together start to give way! All hail Steph, Judy, Sarah, Ben and Audrey and their tremendous work the 30 families, 12 students and their babies in the Fayette classrooms, and the hundreds of school children throughout the land who experience Outreach presentations and our amazing panelists! All hail the teachers in our center who conduct the important work of raising families up!

Working in our agency with many departments has been fantastic. Admin, Development, and Adoption have all helped me to adapt my practice and I am thankful for the leadership and creativity among Lund staff that has shepherded me through wild and wacky projects and duties. No one has ever said, “I don’t do that.” Some of the greatest alliances have been brokered over waste water being in places it shouldn’t, and I appreciate the hard work of every staff in supporting our mission. I am happy that I have eaten so well over the years and I will miss that sustenance. I will also miss everyone in the front office and business office, both at Glen and Hallam. I will miss the all-staff retreats and the SP team. I might not miss the waste water, but I will miss those who keep it at bay. I am thankful to the Board for their generous commitment to Lund and their accessibility and oversight.

I have learned much from the Management Team and the Coordinators, and thank them for all of the opportunities presented to me.

Finally, I invoke two teachers who have made a big impact on my thoughts regarding compassion. The Buddah tells us that compassion is not truly developed unless we extend it also to ourselves, and this is a lesson I have learned from Nurse Sharon and Marty. I hail their impact on us even in their absence and recognize their lasting contributions to this world and the next.

All we can ever plan to do is more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Remain mighty.


Kris Hoffman
Educational Services Coordinator
Lund Family Center

Volunteer Spotlight: Elaine Dennis

Posted in Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP), Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , at 3:01 pm by Lund

Elaine Dennis

Elaine energetically tells me how she discovered Lund as she dollops small amounts of batter into several muffin tins. Elaine has been volunteering at LECP three days a week since January. She is currently in her second semester of graduate school at Saint Michael’s College, where she is studying Special Education.

Elaine became interested in childhood education while writing her undergraduate senior thesis on children’s geography. She was amazed by the correlations she found between the geographic location of children and their ability to thrive in different communities. These findings corresponded with her experience studying abroad in South Africa at Stellenbosch University during her junior year of college, where she was involved in an after school program serving six to ten-year-olds in the rural town of Kayamundi.

Elaine found out about Lund through her work as a Teacher’s Assistant in 2009 at Acorn, a childcare center in Shelburne. Many of the older toddlers at LECP transfer to Acorn when they mature, and Elaine was impressed by the developmental level of these incoming toddlers. Elaine has now found the time to begin helping out at LECP in conjunction with her busy class schedule at St. Michael’s. After graduate school, Elaine plans on staying in Chittenden County and pursuing a job in early education either teaching or doing administrative work.

There is no such thing as a typical day at LECP. At any given moment, Elaine may be making snacks and lunches for children, rocking a child to sleep in the Infant Room, calming down a teary toddler, or playing with toddlers in the Water Play Lab. Elaine loves engaging with the staff and children at LECP, and she greets every challenge with a smile.

Currently, Elaine is working on an early childhood education assessment project known as the Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale (ITERS). The ITERS is an assessment tool for rating childcare environments and teaching practices, both of which are held to the highest standard at LECP. By studying the ITERS, LECP will be able to further improve its five (out of five) star education environment and evaluation techniques.

Elaine currently lives in South Burlington with her fiancé. In her free time, she loves reading, cooking, and running. Thanks Elaine!