October 1, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


September 5, 2014

United Way Building Block Awards – Celebrating the Powerful Connection Between Individual and Community

Posted in Awards, Board of Trustees Spotlight, Employees, Events, United Way, Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 11:31 am by Lund

The large ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel was full yesterday morning as volunteers, community members, representatives of the local non-profits and supporters of the United Way gathered to celebrate the Building Block Awards and officially launch the United Way’s 2014 campaign.   The Building Block Awards are given to volunteers at local non-profits who have made a difference in the United Way’s target areas of income, education and health.  Lund celebrated volunteers who have made a huge difference in our organization – Ann Klinkenberg and Paulette Thabault and Peter Gunther and their family.  Ann volunteers in the New Horizons Educational Program tutoring students one on one and providing assistance to the teachers in the classroom.   Since the students are all at different stages in their education, having Ann’s support to provide individual assistance is absolutely key in the students’ success.  Paulette and her husband Peter and their children have done many different things at Lund from helping at the bike ride, representing Lund at events and panels, hosting fundraising events and recruiting their children to play Santa and his elves at the very last minute and saving the Glen Road Holiday Party!  Paulette has also been a board member since 2007 and chairs our strategic planning committee.

Director of Development Beth Knox with Paulette Thabault and Peter Gunther

Director of Development Beth Knox with Paulette Thabault and Peter Gunther

Learning Together Coordinator Tammy Santamore and NHEP teacher Kathy Rossman with Ann Klinkenberg (center)

Learning Together Coordinator Tammy Santamore and NHEP teacher Kathy Rossman with Ann Klinkenberg (center)

United Way Volunteer Coordinator Amy Carmola referred to the volunteers in the room as “treasures” and said, “Volunteering represents the powerful connection between individual and community. When we volunteer we go beyond taking care of our families and ourselves.  When we volunteer we give our time and our attention, which is such an important part of ourselves, we give that to someone else, to something else.”  Our volunteers make a active difference in the lives of our children and families and we are so grateful for their time, attention and commitment.

The Sisters of Mercy were honored for their work in Vermont with the 2014 Advocate Award.  United Way Director Martha Maksym referred to them as “walking sermons” and congratulated them on the breadth and scope of their work in the state.  Sister Lindora Cabral accepted the award on behalf of the sisters, “Advocacy is such an important part of who we are.  We advocate for those who are poor. For us service and advocacy go hand in hand.”  The Sisters of Mercy founded Mater Christi School, Trinity College, the Women’s Small Business Program, Mercy Connections and other important service intiatives.  Lund is proud to partner them in their work to support women and children in need.

The breakfast was also the kick off of the United Way’s 2014 community campaign to raise $3,850,000 to allow the United way to support the work of it’s 29 member agencies as they tackle the most pressing societal problems and ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community have what they need to be successful.  This year’s campaign is chaired by Robert DiPalma, an attorney at Paul Frank and Collins.    You can watch this year’s campaign video here.

Thank you to the United Way of Chittenden County for allowing us this opportunity to celebrate volunteers both here at Lund and in the wider community.

August 14, 2013

Opiate Addiction in Vermont – What can we do?

Posted in Board of Trustees Spotlight, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, United Way tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:41 pm by Lund

On Wednesday August 7th the United Way of Chittenden County sponsored a viewing of a short documentary film titled “The Opiate Effect” followed by a panel presentation and community discussion about opiate and heroin addiction in Vermont.  The film is a powerful and educational document weaving the experience of a family who lost a son/brother to a heroin overdose; the testimony of three young people who lost everything they valued—friends, family, jobs, school, respect—to addiction to opiates and heroin; and a fictional young man who stands on the precipice of misuse of a prescription opioid medication.  Viewers will be brought to tears by the pain and anguish caused by use of and addiction to opioids—whether the legally produced opioid medications or the illegal and highly toxic heroin. The film is brutally clear that any use of heroin and any misuse of opioid medications is bound to result in tragedy and significant loss.  No one has power over these substances!

Image courtesy of Baitong 333 at freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Baitong 333/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The panel hammered home the startling prevalence of heroin in Chittenden County and all of Vermont and the appalling ease of access to prescription opioid medications.  U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin, Burlington Police Chief Michael Shirling and Spectrum Youth and Family Services Associate Executive Director Annie Ramniceanu revealed the frightening level of crime associated with the distribution of heroin and opioid medications.  Violent crimes, thefts, prostitution are all primarily connected to the illegal distribution of heroin and opioid products.   Also speaking on the panel were Bob Bick, Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the Howard Center, Mary Alice McKenzie of the Boys and Girls Club and Dr Carlos Pino, Medical Director of the Fletcher Allen Center for Pain Medicine.    All of the qualified and compassionate panelists presented their own take on the problem but all could agree on three essential steps towards a solution:

1.  Prevention – Start with children when they are young and provide a really good prevention program that is directly responsive to their needs.   Recognize how pervasive and quotidian this problem is for children and understand that a blanket “Drugs Are Bad”   approach is just not enough.

2.  Treatment on demand – Those who are ready to get help with their addiction should not have to wait six or eight months to get the help that they need. There are currently 832 people on the waiting list for treatment at the Howard Center.

3.  Swift and severe justice – The words that Police Chief Schirling used to describe how punishment for drug dealers ought to be.

What can we do about it?  The panel exhorted community members to become educated and get involved in raising awareness and combating misuse of opioid medications and any use of heroin.  All panel members echoed the need for community—every citizen—response to the problem. One easy but powerful step every one of us can take is to hide or lock-up any opioid medications we may have in our houses.  The number one source, by far, for prescription medicines that are found and misused by teens and others, is our own medicine cabinets.  Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percoset, and generic opioids are commonly found in medicine cabinets in family homes.  Lock these medicines up! Discard them on “Take-Back Days” sponsored by law enforcement agencies!

Lund is a community and state leader in helping young people combat use and addiction to drugs.  Without the kind of help that Lund provides to help young women address substance abuse problems and build resilient lives, many more young people would be lost to addiction and crime.

Written by Will Rowe, Lund Board of Trustees.

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!

September 17, 2011

Hampton Direct wins Hometown Hero Award

Posted in Events, Volunteer Spotlight tagged , , , , , , at 10:57 am by Lund

Photos by Cat Cutillo/ Lund Family Center

How can we forget the first time we met Hampton Direct: It was during our holiday gift giving two winters ago when Hampton Direct came up with the idea to sponsor Lund families in need. They dropped off three carloads of neatly wrapped gifts, sponsored not 1 but 6 families, and apologized for going over-board with the wish lists.

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