October 21, 2015

Governor Shumlin Declares Lund Day in Vermont

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

August 1, 2014

Lund welcomes new board members

Posted in Board of Trustees Spotlight, Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , , at 1:42 pm by Lund

Lund is very lucky to have a hardworking, dedicated, supportive  Board of Trustees who are entirely committed to helping the women, children and families of Vermont.   We could not do the work that we do without them.  As of the beginning of our new fiscal year in July, we are pleased to welcome five new board members.  We also have a new Board President, Sara Byers.   Former President Lisa Pizzagalli will remain on the board.   Thank you to all our board members for their hard work.  Please read about our new members below.

Lucy_Abair

Lucy Abair

Lucy Abair

Lucy had worked with Lund for many years in her role at the Department for Children and Families where she worked for over 40 years. She is pleased to now have the opportunity to become directly involved by joining the board. Having lived in Burlington all her life, Lucy sees Lund as “contributing enormously to the fabric of the town”. Lucy is also on the board of the Champlain Senior Center. In her free time she enjoys walking, gardening, tai chi, boating on the lake and spending time with her four grandchildren.

Heidi_Kelley

Heidi Kelley

Heidi Kelley

As a former beneficiary of Lund’s services, Heidi was looking for an opportunity to give back to the organization. “Over the years, I have often wondered how I could ever repay Lund’s generosity. As a board member I will have the opportunity to say thank you for all that you have done for me and my family,” she says. Heidi lives in Milton and is an active volunteer for the Recreation Department and the library while also studying full time for a legal studies degree.

Susan_Nostrand

Susan Nostrand

Susan Nostrand

Susan has been a Lund volunteer since 2011, helping with Lund’s Ride for Children, serving on the Development Committee, and working with the Kids-A-Part program.  Susan has an extensive background in education and has taught in schools in Marin County, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Susan also helps women reach their educational goals as a member of Champlain College’s Single Parents Program Advisory Committee which helps students obtain scholarships to attend school full time. Susan is an active volunteer at her children’s school and is currently a Chittenden South Supervisory Union School Board member. Susan is excited to learn more about the many ways Lund strengthens families throughout Vermont. Susan lives in Charlotte with her husband, Ben, and two children, Elizabeth and Sam.

Chris_Curtis

Chris Curtis

Chris Curtis

Chris has worked with Lund in his role as an attorney at Vermont Legal Aid where his practice primarily relates to housing, public benefits and family law cases brought on behalf of low income Vermonters. Chris is extremely active in his community serving local organizations in a variety of volunteer roles. He also currently serves as Co-Chair of the Governor’s Council on Pathways from Poverty.

Stephanie_Reiskin

Stephanie Reiskin

Stephanie Miller Reiskin

Although new to Lund, Stephanie is a long time supporter of organizations that help women and children, such as the Single Parents Program at Champlain College, and “believes that all children deserve a good start in life”. Stephanie is experienced in all aspects of running a small business and looks forward to applying her skills to help Lund. She works at her family’s real estate business, R.E.M. Development, in Williston and currently sits on the boards of the Burlington Business Association and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Stephanie lives in Warren.

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.

January 31, 2014

“One of the Greatest Privileges of My Life” by Sara Byers, Vice President of Lund’s Board of Trustees.

Posted in Board of Trustees Spotlight, Events, Residential, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services tagged , , , , , , at 12:10 pm by Lund

Waking up at 4:55am this morning to meet my board colleagues for our ride to Montpelier, it felt early.  The sun was beginning to rise over the mountains as we made our way south along I-89.  The frigid temperatures were evident as my toes curled inside my boot for warmth.  However, the trip was worthwhile.  We were headed to the Vermont State House to represent Lund.

Opening the broad, heavy doors, we experienced the peace and beauty of the State House during the early morning hours.  As a former page in the legislature, I was immediately transformed to my days in a green jacket, feeling a pull to the Sergeant at Arms office to receive my daily tasks.  However, this time, as a grown up, I headed to the empty coat room to hang my jacket.  One of the most wonderful things about our State House is the ability to just walk in.  It truly does belong to the people.

Making our way up the stairs and into the cafeteria, there wasn’t a whole lot of activity.  Cleaning crews were apparent throughout, and the hustle and bustle of the day’s work was soon to begin.  We got to our destination and waited for a few minutes when our Lund staff team arrived.  They quickly focused on setting up our display, paperwork outlining our work, pins with our Lund logo.  As board members, we stood in awe – it was apparent they were used to this work and very committed to it.  A few other Board members joined us, along with more staff and our executive director, Barbara Rachelson, who was doing double duty as a legislator from Burlington.  As legislators, lobbyists and administration officials began to filter in, they were welcomed with free coffee, desserts and smiling faces.

The room quickly filled up with people eager for their caffeine infusion.  As they engaged in conversation, they were immediately drawn in by our amazing staff.  These dedicated people were able to answer any questions directed to them.  Their passion and dedication was infectious.  They were superstars, dedicating their lives to improving the lives of others.  It is no wonder that Lund is able to achieve the outcomes they do with these individuals working at it day in and day out.  It got me thinking about my own family.  These staff members are one of the reasons two of my young relatives are thriving today.  If there was ever a question about their work, I could validate it.  With a drug problem and nowhere to go, Lund took in a close relative when she was pregnant.  The Lund program was incredibly comprehensive, teaching life skills along with parenting skills, helping her see the light at the end of a long tunnel.  Months later, her children were born free of illicit substances and ready to take on the world.  Today, they are almost eleven.  I can’t imagine our family without their smiles, life and humor.  If it wasn’t for Lund taking her in when she needed it, I’m not sure where these beautiful children would be today…..I shudder thinking about it.  These compassionate Lund professionals cared enough to make a difference.  The individuals who supported Lund with financial help made a difference.  The State who supported many of Lund’s programs made a difference.

As I looked at the crowd of legislators around our table, I was overcome by the attention and dedication shown by our elected leaders.  These individuals truly cared about Vermont and its people, and were genuinely interested in hearing about Lund’s work.  Many legislators were eager to stop by and visit our facilities, others spoke of their personal connection with Lund and some were looking forward to joining us at our Heart of the Community celebration.  The people working under the Golden Dome understood the value of Lund’s work and its place in our greater community.

As the Board Vice President, I was incredibly humbled this morning; humbled to be surrounded by so many people doing amazing work; humbled by our Lund team and their passion for improving the lives of families; humbled to be able to give back to an organization that had given me so much; humbled for the opportunity to represent this almost 125 year old institution.  When the legislative day was called to order, the Speaker recognized Barbara Rachelson, who in turn welcomed the Lund team to the House Chamber.  As I stood to be recognized, the applause was overwhelming.   I was honored, filled with pride and emotion.   The opportunity to work with Lund’s incredible board and talented staff in this wonderful state is one of the greatest privileges of my life.

Sara (second from right) at the Statehouse with board colleagues and staff members.

Sara (second from right) at the Statehouse with board colleagues and staff members.

September 12, 2012

United Way Building Block Awards

Posted in Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 3:38 pm by Lund

Lund congratulates outstanding volunteers Sara Byers and Linda Barker, 2012 recipients of the United Way Building Block Awards!

From left: Beth Knox, Lund’s Development Director; Barbara Rachelson, Lund’s Executive Director; Lisa Pizzagalli, President of Lund’s Board of Trustees; Sara Byers, 2012 recipient of United Way Building Block Award; family of Sara Byers.

Sara Byers, President of Leonardo’s Pizza, serves as the Vice President of Lund’s Board of Trustees and is an active member of the Lund Development and Legislative Committees.  Her committment to Lund is evident, from her involvement in event planning, fundraising, and relationship building to her compassionate and caring manner.  Lisa Pizzagalli, President of Lund’s Board of Trustees says “Sara is passionate about Lund’s mission to help children and families thrive.  In the several years that we have worked together she has brought incredible energy, commitment and  experience to Lund.  She has served on any committee asked, followed through on numerous initiatives, and put Lund in its best light through her presentation skills. “
 

Linda Barker, 2012 recipient of United Way Building Block Award

Linda Barker, Citizens Bank Branch Manager, has shown steadfast committment to Lund’s mission over the past four years.  She frequently asks “what is the next thing you need?” and is eager to hit the ground running.  Lund relies on Linda for her determination and passion; she regularly goes above and beyond to help Lund achieve its mission to help children thrive.  Not only does Linda volunteer her own time and talents, but she also reaches out to her coworkers and friends, routinely delivering a team for events and special projects. She brings energy and enthusiasm to fundraising efforts, secures sponsorships, and plays a lead role in special event planning.

Thank you, Sara and Linda, for your generous contributions and committment to Lund!  Congratulations!