FamilyWize March Newsletter – 2017



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Health and Wellness Newsletter – March, 2017

Medicare Open Enrollment


Each year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer.1

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is defined as any condition that causes reduced kidney function over a period of time. Chronic kidney disease may develop over many years and lead to end-stage kidney (or renal) disease (ESRD).

The five stages of CKD are:

Stage 1: Kidney damage with normal kidney function

Stage 2: Kidney damage with mild loss of kidney function

Stage 3: Mild-to-severe loss of kidney function

Stage 4: Severe loss of kidney function

Stage 5: Kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant for survival. Also known as ESRD

More you should know:

    • The overall prevalence of CKD in the general population is approximately 14 percent.


    • High blood pressure and diabetes are the main causes of CKD. Almost half of individuals with CKD also have diabetes and/or self-reported cardiovascular disease (CVD).


    • More than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure. Of these, 468,000 individuals are on dialysis, and roughly 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.


  • Kidney disease often has no symptoms in its early stages and can go undetected until it is very advanced. (For this reason, kidney disease is often referred to as a “silent disease.”)

1Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Bastian BA. Deaths: final data for 2013. www.cdc.govExternal Link Disclaimer. Published February 16, 2016. Accessed December 6, 2016.

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Volunteer Connection Opportunities from Green Mountain United Way – March 2017

Hi Friends and partners,

I hope your Spring is off to a great, though chilly, start. In case you missed our e-newsletter the other day, I wanted to let you know that we have a variety of new volunteer opportunities up on our Volunteer Connection Listing on our website. Please check out the options, there are all types of ways for volunteers to connect as individuals or in groups!

In addition, mark your calendars and let your teams know that our Annual Days of Caring will take place on May 23 (NEK) and May 24 (Central VT). If you have teams that are interested, it’s never too soon to get signed up. Both dates will be outdoor activities, in the NEK we’ll be gleaning (harvesting veggies for local food shelves) and doing gardening, and in Central Vermont, we’ll be helping do outdoor playground maintenance and homeless shelter indoor/outdoor cleanup projects.

Here is a sampling of other volunteer opportunities – please share these widely and THANKS!

  • Event Volunteers needed for Good Beginnings of Central Vermont’s Baby and Child Expo on Saturday, April 1st in Berlin.
  • Community Restorative Justice Center Seeks Community Volunteers for Restorative Justice Panels, Reintegration Program, and neighborhood development.
  • Community Repack needs help sort and pack grocery store donations to be distributed to food shelves with the Vermont Foodbank in Barre – This is a great volunteer activity for groups!
  • Help Prepare and Serve Community Meals at the First Presbyterian Church of Barre.
  • Garden for Good! Help with the reconstruction and planting of the perennial herb gardens at low-income housing site
  • Day of Caring 2017 – Green Mountain United Way seeks projects to offer as part of the Annual Day of Caring in late May or early June. If your organization has projects that 8-25 volunteers could help with, contact Carrie for more information at
  • Plan ahead – Vermont Works for Women’s Women Can Do! Conference needs Expo and Workshop Instructors and event volunteers in October

As always, if you have a group or team who is looking for a volunteer project in any of our five counties, reach out and we can help to connect you with organizations and opportunities to help!

Thanks for all you do and for supporting our communities!


Carrie Stahler / Director of Funding & Program Development / Green Mountain United Way 

Montpelier Office / 73 Main Street, #33, Montpelier, VT 05602 / tel: 802-613-3989

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. 

GIVE. | ADVOCATE. | VOLUNTEER. | LIVE UNITED   Find us on: Facebook | Twitter 

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March Newsletter – New Events, Program Expansion, and Volunteer Opportunities!

Spring is here, so are new training opportunities, events, and reasons to support Green Mountain United Way’s Annual Community Campaign!

Dear Community Members,

Spring is a time of renewal, and we’re seeing a renewed passion to be involved, for making a difference, and for mobilizing change within our communities. This renewal bridges generations, existing communities and groups, as well as the needs and life experiences. In the midst of this revitalization, one thing remains the same – Vermonters care about one another and are here to listen, understand and work hard to solve problems that impact all of us. At Green Mountain United Way, we are proud to be part of these conversations and to bring people together to foster understanding and community that crosses these traditional lines.

I hope you will join us as we work toward the common good of all in our communities. This is what LIVE UNITED means here, in the communities of our five counties, and this is where renewal begins.

In gratitude,

Tawnya Kristen
Executive Director

Help us reach our $500,000 Goal
Join our Community Campaign to help bring resources and solutions to your community


Green Mountain United Way in the News

Working Bridges is here. We’re bringing human service support to businesses and low-to-moderate income employees in the Northeast Kingdom and Central Vermont …read more
Tatum’s Totes and Green Mountain United Way Celebrate one year of working together to help 57 kids in Newport and Barre …. read more

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Event Volunteers needed for Good Beginnings of Central Vermont’s Baby and Child Expo on April 1st in Berlin.
  • Community Restorative Justice Center Seeks Community Volunteers for Restorative Justice Panels, Reintegration Program, and neighborhood development.
  • Community Repack needs help sort and pack grocery store donations to be distributed to food shelves with the Vermont Foodbank in Barre – This is a great volunteer activity for groups!
  • Help Prepare and Serve Community Meals at the First Presbyterian Church of Barre.
  • Garden for Good! Help with the reconstruction and planting of the perennial herb gardens at low-income housing site
  • Day of Caring 2017 – Green Mountain United Way seeks projects to offer as part of the Annual Day of Caring in late May or early June. If your organization has projects that 8-25 volunteers could help with, contact Carrie for more information at

Community Resources

Do you earn under $64,000? File your taxes for FREE using the website through the United Way!
Get answers to questions about child development and behavior and access Help Me Grow through Vermont 2-1-1, the United Way-supported referral service…Learn more

Upcoming Events

Community Partner Discussion about Financial Coaching – Wednesday, March 22 at Capstone Community Action ….read more
UPS Roses Sale for Mother’s Day starts next week, stay tuned for more information or email Carrie to be added to the announcement!
Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope Community Screening – April 26 in Central Vermont. Watch the trailer here: and ….read more
Bridges Out of Poverty Workshops – Join us and national trainer Prudence Pease in Central Vermont, Newport or Burlington for a one-day Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop in April, May and June …read more
13th Annual Green Mountain United Way Golf Tournament – Save the Date for Saturday, July 29th at the Barre Country Club!

Copyright © 2017 Green Mountain United Way, All rights reserved.

Phone: 802-613-3989


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Vermont 2-1-1’s 12th Anniversary!

Vermont 2-1-1

Did you know that Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the United Ways of Vermont? Support the United Ways of Vermont today by starting your shopping on Amazon Smile. Click on the image above to get started! 

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

February 11, 2017 marked Vermont 2-1-1’s 12th Anniversary and the entire 2-1-1 team would like to take this occasion to express its sincere appreciation for the United Ways of Vermont’s continued commitment to the Vermont 2-1-1 program! Over the past twelve years, our delivery of professional information and referral services to Vermonters has grown in strength, expanded in scope, and increased in reputation, in large part due to the steadfast support of each of Vermont’s local United Way agencies!

Over 11,000 requests for assistance came into our Vermont 2-1-1 call center during the first two months of 2017 and 5,691 of those calls were made in February. February averaged 203 incoming calls per day of service, which is on average 12 more incoming calls per day of service than January.

Each year more and more Vermonters are calling Vermont 2-1-1 to find out where they can receive free income tax preparation services. In February, referrals to Tax Organizations and Services totaled 897 showing the largest increase in call numbers over January than any other sub-category. All Vermonters can call 2-1-1 for accurate information about local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites closest to them and Our Contact Specialists will also provide information about income eligibility guidelines to callers requesting this free service.

This year, individuals who live or work in Windham and Southern Windsor Counties, have been able to dial 2-1-1 to be transferred directly to a tax scheduler for appointments. In Chittenden County, appointments for filing assistance are being scheduled, live, in real time, by the 2-1-1 Contact Specialists.  Vermont 2-1-1 has taken the tax filing assistance scheduling initiative to pilot our new texting platform. The important “what to bring” information to make sure that the VITA tax preparer can get Vermonters the refunds they deserve is now being texted to callers.

February housing statistics were second only to December, 2016 (see After Hours Housing Report) and 30% of the contacts were inquiries to the Cold Weather Exception automated line. Crucial to Vermont’s ability to house so many of its most vulnerable population during the winter season is the longstanding commitment of local, volunteer-run emergency warming shelters throughout the state. In the first two months of 2017, a total of 107 referrals were made to Cold Weather and Warming Centers while Vermont 2-1-1 was administering the after-hours emergency housing program. This number, in conjunction with the large numbers of shelter placements recorded by other housing partners, illustrates how life threatening Vermont winters can be for Vermonters without stable housing.

The existence of these vital community shelters has provided safe havens for our homeless population; offering warm, safe spaces to sleep and places to connect to agency partners who can assist them with gaining access to appropriate resources. Reliance upon these “filled-to-capacity” shelters most certainly speaks to the kindness and dignity with which occupants are treated, but it also speaks to the now longstanding, and growing, need for permanent housing solutions.

Referrals to specialized Information and Referral partners continue to be broken out and can be found at the bottom of the report’s second page. An example to note is the Child Care Resource and Referral inquires that are transferred by the 2-1-1 Contact Specialists to the Help Me Grow Vermont Child Development Specialists for their professional assessments and referrals. These important partnerships provide a network of support and a “no wrong door” approach to Information and Referral.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly contact volume report here.

Get Ready for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

If your prescription medications have expired or you are no longer taking them, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day offers you the opportunity to participate in the largest, confidential, environmentally safe, and secure disposal of prescription medications initiative that the United States Department of Justice offers. It has become clear to law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals that medications no longer being used that remain in the home pose grave and unnecessary dangers to families and the people visiting their homes. This national prescription drug take-back program’s one-day initiative, in partnership with local communities, is a big step toward preventing unnecessary deaths due to accidental medication exposure and its importance is underscored when we think about the growing epidemic of abuse, misuse, dependence, and overdose of opioids in our nation.

In Vermont, safe disposal of medicine is a year-round activity through the state’s provision of convenient and safe drop-off sites that are not limited to the national one-day initiative.  These drop-off locations, now available in many of our local communities, allow Vermonters to get potentially dangerous leftover drugs out of their homes on almost any day of the year. Local police departments, county sheriffs, and many local pharmacies now offer this important service to community members.

On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, this year scheduled for April 27th, the number of drop-off locations in Vermont increases to make it even more convenient to dispose of unused prescription medicines.

For information about your nearest drop-off sites and hours call Vermont 2-1-1, or for a list of all drop-off sites visit the Vermont 2-1-1 database and search using:

Service Keywords:
Medication Disposal

Click on:
Information Clearinghouses for Medication Disposal 

Take back your meds! Together we can make a difference!

Help Me Grow Update

This month we will continue our work exploring the Five Protective Factors. As a recap: in January we discussed Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development and in February we discussed Social Connections. This month we will take a look at:

Concrete Support in Times of Need

All families go through tough times and need help and support. Making sure your family’s needs are met through resources and community supports helps to make your family strong. Knowing where to get help—from basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter to specialized services for domestic violence or drug treatment—can help you rebound from difficult challenges and reduce stress. When basic needs are met, you can spend more time helping your children learn and grow and less time worrying.

However, seeking help can be difficult for some parents. Sometimes parents feel like asking for help is embarrassing or they are admitting they don’t know how to solve their own problems. But actually, when parents ask for help it is a step towards building resilience and getting the help you need for yourself and your children is part of being a good parent.

Some ways you can find those concrete supports when you need them:

• If you or a family you know have children prenatal to age 8, call a Child Development Specialist at Help Me Grow VT by dialing 2-1-1 and choosing ext. 6. Child Development Specialists are available Monday- Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm. In addition to comprehensive information on services and programs across the state, we can also support families as they access these services. Service systems can be hard to navigate, we’re here to offer resources and support to help you understand and receive the services you need.

• If you or a family you know has children over the age of 8, you can speak to an Information and Referral Specialist at Vermont 2-1-1. Vermont 2-1-1 is available 24/7 and provides up-to-date information on resources in Vermont.

• Spend some time looking at community bulletin boards at your local library or community center. You may be surprised at what is available in your local community.

•Talk with other parents. Not only can other parents provide some ideas on what may be helpful to you, but it can create an opportunity for you to help others as well.

Remember, it is important that parents and caregivers: know what help is available, ask for help when they need it, get what they need to keep their families healthy and safe and help others when possible.

These things keep our families strong!


Vermont 2-1-1 Web Statistics

In addition to the contact statistics, the following data is from the 2-1-1 website and shows how the public used the database search engine during the month of February:

Top Services: Christmas Programs; Assistive Technology Equipment LoanHousehold Goods Donation ProgramsClothing Donation Programs; Homeless Motel Vouchers

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Department for Children and Families – Economic Services; Vermont State Police; CVOEO; NECKA

Top Search by City: Hancock; Burlington; Bondville; New Haven; Whiting

Total Site Visits: 2753

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1299

Emergency Housing in Vermont

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 628 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for February here.

Vermont 2-1-1 · PO Box 111 · Essex Junction, VT 05453 · USA



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