July 24, 2015

Making ‘Small Talk’ at Lund – Guest post from Let’s Grow Kids

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Events, Lund Early Childhood Program (LECP) tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:33 am by Lund

(This blog post appeared as an e-mail sent by Let’s Grow Kids to their supporters, partners and fans.  We’re happy spread the word on our blog too)

Last Sunday, at an event called “Circus-palooza” in Shelburne, a single dad took a deep breath and admitted on camera, “Sometimes it feels like you might as well just sit at home and not work at all. Because the expenses of child care are overwhelming. I can’t keep up.”

This hard-working dad was participating in an interview for Small Talk, a new initiative of Let’s Grow Kids and several key partners to collect the personal stories of Vermonters who have interacted with Vermont’s early childhood system.

The Circus-palooza interviews were a test run for Small Talk’s official launch event this past Tuesday at the Lund Early Childhood Education Program in South Burlington. The Small Talk team interviewed seven more Vermonters at the Lund site—including parents, providers and State Representative Barbara Rachelson, who is the Executive Director of Lund (below speaking with LGK Campaign Director Robyn Freedner-Maguire).

“We were so honored and thrilled to host Small Talk at Lund, and we’re grateful for all the work that Let’s Grow Kids is doing to spread awareness about the importance of Early Childhood Education in Vermont,” Barbara said. “The families that we work with at Lund are faced with many challenges when trying to find affordable, high quality childcare for their children so that they can work, pursue treatment or continue their education. Helping to make Vermonters aware of these issues and giving a forum for people to share these stories is so critical, and Small Talk is a great way to do that. As a child advocate, working parent, employer, director of a nonprofit organization devoted to the wellbeing of children and families in Vermont and, finally, as a legislator, I am proud to support the work of Small Talk.”

IMG_2868

Community Education Director Molly Loomis and Small Talk Coordinator Lisa Boege Loomis conducting interviews.

This summer, the Small Talk team—LGK community education director, Molly Loomis and Small Talk coordinator, Lisa Boege Loomis (left)—will be on the road, meeting Vermonters across the state and recording their stories on camera. The Small Talk van, a mobile video-editing recording studio, will visit fairs, markets and other community events for scheduled interviews. Small Talk will also visit communities on request. Click here to see a list of currently scheduled Small Talk events or to request a visit to your region.

What will Let’s Grow Kids do with the stories? “Policymakers, community leaders, and others need to hear these stories to understand why the early years are so important and how we can do a better job of giving every child a strong start and equal chance in life,” says Molly. Some of the videos will be posted on the Let’s Grow Kids website and YouTube channel, and will be available for sharing via social media and email.

In one of the Small Talk interviews at Lund a mother said, “We need so many more Lunds. I was incredibly fortunate to find it—I feel like I’ve won the childcare lottery! But if I’ve won, how many other moms have lost?” This mom was speaking to the fact that quality child care is unaffordable and inaccessible for too many families who rely on it in Vermont.

“If I want my son to go to college one day or if we want to do fun stuff like take trips, or go to the beach, or go to the zoo, I can’t afford to keep working in the job that I love,” said an early educator at Lund. Child care professionals in Vermont and across the nation often don’t earn a livable wage because the costs of offering quality care are high, and providers know they can’t fully pass those costs onto the shoulders of already financially strapped parents.

“We really believe in the need for affordable, high quality child care that is accessible to all families,” says Charlotte Blend, communications coordinator at Lund. “The work of Let’s Grow Kids is making important and needed steps in getting this message out to the public and to the agencies that can affect real change. The voices that come out of these Small Talk videos represent the reality that so many parents and teachers face and we were very happy to have this avenue to help share those voices.”

Voices from Lund on real early childhood experiences and challenges.

Voices from Lund on real early childhood experiences and challenges.

To find out how Small Talk interviews work or see a list of potential questions you might be asked, visit letgrowkids.og/small-talk. Small Talk’s next stop is at Lamoille County Field Days in Johnson this weekend. Sign up for that event here.

Let’s Grow Kids is grateful for the support of its excellent partners: Building Bright Futures, Vermont Community Access Media, and The Vermont Folklife Center.

June 3, 2014

6th Annual Lund Ride for Children

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, Events tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:20 pm by Lund

Many people said it was the best bike ride yet.  Perhaps it was the beautiful weather – clear blue skies and sunshine.  Perhaps it was the live band – Something with Strings featuring one of our very own preschool teachers on harmonica.  Perhaps it was the more than 200 riders who came out to show their support for Vermont’s women, children and families by participating in our bike ride.  Perhaps the great support of our generous sponsors.  Perhaps a combination of all of those things.    Whatever the reason, Sunday June 1st was a very special day for Lund and we are so thankful to everyone who rode, volunteered or sponsored this event.  So far we have raised almost $52,000 and fundraising is still going until the end of June.  The money raised will go directly to support our programs in adoption, treatment, family support and education.

Riders took on the 55 mile route down as far as Grosse Point in Ferrisburgh, the 30 mile route through Charlotte, 16 miles through Shelburne or the 4 mile family ride on the South Burlington bike path.  They were greeted on their return to Joy Drive with a party featuring music, face painting, a bouncy house, burritos from Boloco, Ben and Jerry’s, Local Motion helmet decorating, Liz Lovely cookies, giant chutes and ladders from Let’s Grow Kids and so much more.  Repeat rider and Lund Board Member Sara Byers said, “Looking back at 5 years of riding the Lund bike ride with my husband and daughter, I am overwhelmed by the importance of Lund’s work.  Supporting Lund means that 170 children just last year, who were previously living in foster care, have forever families.  It means that there is a place in Vermont where women can seek help for substance abuse and mental illness WITH their children.  It means that more children thrive, more cycles of poverty, addiction and abuse are broken and more families experience joy.  As the ride departs from Joy Drive, and you feel the pride of knowing you made a difference, you, yourself, are filled with joy.” 

It was a wonderful day celebrating family, exercise, summer and an organization that has been helping Vermont families for over 120 years.   Thank you to our sponsors – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, NBT Bank, PC Construction, Starbucks, Boloco, North Star Sports, Ben and Jerry’s, Local Motion, Fletcher Allen Orthopedics and Rehabilitation,  General Dynamics, Northfield Savings Bank, Shelburne Supermarket, Stoner-Andrews, JB Kennedy Associates, Hannaford, Terry Bicycles, WCAX, Mix 102.3 and Free Press Media.

Enjoy the pictures below.

Enthusiastic 55 mile riders

Enthusiastic 55 mile riders

IMG_7693

And they’re off…

IMG_7820

Happy family team, ready to hop on the bike path and take on the family ride.

IMG_7856

Executive Director of Lund, Barbara Rachelson with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger as he starts the Family Ride.

IMG_8039

Lund Preschool Teacher Collin Cope and his band, ‘Something with Strings’

IMG_8017

Seems like summer is here at the Lund Ride for Children