Day of Caring 2017 at Good Samaritan Haven

I think that Ken O’Rourke of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont said it best when he said “I think you got 8 hours of work done in 6 hours!”. Brooke Jenkins, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Haven, was blown away by the amount of work that our volunteers were able to do. The attic and basement were reclaimed from their piles of donations, and reorganized into useful spaces where staff can find items for clients, move freely, and put away new donations easily and quickly! The porch and interior hallway were painted, 3 truckloads were taken to the dump, and tons of boxes were sorted for the tag sale (and the trash/recycling!). These amazing folks even baked goodies for the upcoming Good Samaritan Bake Sale! Incredible work was done by everyone, thank you for this amazing gift to our partners at Good Samaritan!

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Spring, Training Opportunities, events, and Reasons To Support Green Mountain United Way’s Annual Community Campaign!


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


Dear Supporter,

Here at Green Mountain United Way, engaging our communities and partners on a variety of levels is truly changing how we see poverty. It is not simply a lack of money, but the missing opportunity for prosperity. And therein lies what we really do. We work to empower people to build, identify, and grasp that opportunity for prosperity for themselves or to help others discover their individual purpose.
We educate through understanding of past, present, and future with events like the showing of Resilience and the accompanying panel discussion; we provide access to resources through programs like Working Bridges; we create opportunities for people to give back through volunteering at our Day of Caring, and to gain the opportunity to build their own personal sense of value and community connection.
I invite you to join us in building those opportunities within our communities from the ground up so that everyone in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties may know prosperity and LIVE UNITED.

In gratitude,
Tawnya Kristen
Executive Director

Green Mountain United Way Updates


Green Mountain United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring is May 24! We will have two great projects at the Family Center of Washington County and at the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre. Learn more….

Resilience Film Community Screening and Panel Discussion – May 24 in Central Vermont. Learn about ACES (Adverse Childhood Experices) and community solutions.
Watch the trailer here or learn more.

Volunteer Opportunities in our Communities

Your gift of time makes a huge impact on your community and can build relationships that last a lifetime. Your gift of time is the one that keeps on giving!

Community Notes


Join this open discussion at Montpelier City Hall on June 1 from 6:30-8:00pm with a panel of Community Providers, Law Enforcement, and Hospital Staff moderated by Peter Mallary of VAMHAR. Find out more…

The Community Wellness and Prevention Working Group is hosting a community meeting to discuss a community wellness and prevention initiative in the Orleans County and northern Essex County Wed., May 31 from 5:30 – 9:00 pm

Find out what you can save on prescriptions with the Familywize prescription tool at and ask us for your FamilyWize cards today!

Vermont 211 now offers 2-way texting! Learn more…

Sponsor Green Mountain United Way’s
2017 Annual Golf Classic on July 29th!

Help your community and have fun – sponsorships at the $500 level and up include registrations for your team! 


Upcoming Events

  • Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope Community Screening – May 24th 6-8 pm at Montpelier High School. Watch the trailer here: and ….read more
  • Bridges Out of Poverty Workshops – Join United Way and national trainer Prudence Pease in Colchester for a one-day Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop on June 2nd …read more
  • 13th Annual Green Mountain United Way Golf Classic – Saturday, July 29th at the Barre Country Club! Registration and sponsorships now open – Register Now!
  • Save the Date – Saturday, November 4, for our Annual Lift Up Benefit at Green Mountain CrossFit (or better yet, start training now!)

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

Our mailing address is:

Green Mountain United Way

73 Main Street, #33

Montpelier, VT 05602

Phone: 802-613-3989

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Vermont 2-1-1 Launches Texting Platform!



Vermont 2-1-1

Vermont 2-1-1 Launches Texting Platform!

The 2-1-1 texting service allows people to receive referrals via rapid-response texts so they don’t have to use valuable phone minutes, while at the same time allowing our 2-1-1 contact specialists to respond even more quickly to callers whose needs require more in-depth problem-solving and research.

With the addition of texting, Vermont 2-1-1 now offers four ways to find local resources in Vermont:

1. Dial 2-1-1 or (866) 652-4636 to speak with a highly trained Contact Specialist who will provide individualized assistance 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

2. Text your zip code to 898211 for help Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm

3. Search online at

4. Email

Read the full press release here.

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

The Vermont 2-1-1 contact center closed out this year’s tax season in April with over 2,100 referrals to tax filing assistance programs. The growing awareness of free tax filing assistance programs that help low- to moderate-income taxpayers has meant that each year more Vermonters have valuable discretionary income for everyday essentials such as housing, utilities, and food expenses.  This year, in Chittenden County, 2-1-1 Contact Specialists scheduled appointments in real time. Our Contact Specialists also provided information about income eligibility guidelines to callers requesting this free service. Vermont and Federal income taxes filing assistance totaled 8,134 and total refunds amounted to over $5 million.

Vermont 2-1-1 used scheduling appointments in Chittenden County this year as an opportunity to pilot its new texting platform. During this pilot, 531 people in Chittenden County received text messages confirming their tax preparation appointment and the important documents to bring with them to make sure that the VITA tax preparers could get Vermonters the refunds they deserve. Over 800 individuals were provided the information via email and an additional 120 individuals were sent the information via US Postal service. In previous years, the list of documents required for these appointments had needed to be mailed out to every client.

This month’s increase in the number of referrals to Community Planning and Public Works sub-category exemplifies an important aspect of Vermont 2-1-1’s mission. Through a Public Service Announcement sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health and Governor Phil Scott, 2-1-1 was promoted as the number for Vermonters to call to find out about sites participating in National Prescription Take Back Day. Aired on major television stations across the state, the Public Service Announcement provided Vermonters with the simple, easy-to-remember 2-1-1 number for accessing information about medication disposal sites nearest to them. Callers were also given information about nearby safe and permanent drop off sites, with many learning that the safe disposal of unused medicine is a year-round activity in Vermont, not limited to the national one-day initiative. These permanent 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 local pharmacies now offer this important service to community members. On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the number of drop-off locations in Vermont increased to make it even more convenient to dispose of unused prescription medicines. In April 2017, there was a 19% increase over April 2016 in referrals to prescription medication disposal sites

During April, calls for emergency housing declined; only 128 requests for emergency shelter were received, less than half the number of requests in April 2016. Vermont 2-1-1 provides after-hours provisional housing for the Department for Children and Families, and this year’s cold “spring” weather meant a continuation of requests for emergency housing information.  An additional 237 automated calls for information on cold weather exception were handled without the caller needing to speak directly to one of our information and referral specialists.  The number of Vermonters needing help with non-emergency housing related issues also remained high in April and included referrals to service providers for rent payment assistance, subsidized rental housing and housing authorities.

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

Resource Corner: Watching Out for Summer’s “Pesky Pests”

As happy as we Vermonters are to be outside in the sunshine —Beware!  “Pesky pests” can make outdoor adventuring miserable and even dangerous for humans and their animals. Ticks, mosquitos, and earwigs are expected to arrive early and be very active throughout Vermont this season. This is particularly true of the Vermont black-legged tick (deer tick). The deer tick is responsible for over 99% of all tick-borne diseases reported to the Vermont Department of Health, including the newly tracked Powassan virus.

Vermont 2-1-1 actively partners with the Vermont Department of Health as a “health information helpline.” Information & Referral Specialists at Vermont 2-1-1 are able to refer callers to local resources so they may receive the most up-to-date information about the potential dangers of Vermont’s summertime threats: Lyme Disease, Powassan Virus, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and the Zika Virus.

Search the 2-1-1 database for the following terms:

And follow these links:

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 128 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 April here.

HMG VT Update: Parental Resilence

Being a parent is tough work and comes with all kinds of stressors and bumps in the road. For our fifth and final protective factor, we are going to share some information about Parental Resilience. So, what does that mean? Resilience is being strong even when you are stressed. It means being able to bounce back and manage stress when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.

Being resilient as a parent means:

  • Taking care of yourself and asking for help when you need it
  • Feeling good about yourself and hopeful about your future
  • Planning for the future and for what you will do in situations that you know are challenging for you
  • Not allowing stress to get in the way of providing loving care for your child
  • Taking time to really enjoy your child and what you like about parenting
No one can completely eliminate stress from parenting, but building resilience and strengthening the other protective factors can change how you deal with stress. Having social connections, knowing how to get concrete supports when you need them, understanding your child’s development and your strengths as a parent, and having social and emotional competency can all play a role in building your strength to deal with life’s stress. Here are some ideas to help you build up your parenting resiliency each day:
  • Write down all the things you love to do with your child and think of ways you are going to make more time to do them.
  •  Identify your most challenging parenting moments and make a plan for what you will do when these moments come up.
  • What helps you feel less stressed? Create a list of stress-buster activities to use on those difficult days.
  • Make time each day to do one thing that you are good at.
HMG VT has been fortunate to work with the Center for the Study of Social Policy to help promote the protective factors in our state, and help us support all parents in building a strong family. Click here for more information on the Stregthening Families Five Protective Factors.
For more information on the five Protective Factors and other community resources and services to support your family, contact a HMG VT Child Development Specialist by dialing 2-1-1 and pressing ext. 6 Monday though Friday from 9:00- 6:00. Also, check out our website and Facebook. We have lots of information for families to help you support your child’s development and for providers to help them support the families they work with.

New, Innovative Partnership between Age Well and UWsVT for VT Senior Helpline

Age Well, Northwestern Vermont’s leading resource and advocates for the aging population and Vermont 2-1-1, United Way’s Information & Referral program, are excited to announce an innovative partnership to improve and expand the Senior Helpline. When Vermont seniors and their families call into the Helpline, Age Well Information & Referral coordinators will now be utilizing a new software platform, ReferNet, which is supported by the Vermont 211 resource database. Utilizing ReferNet, Age Well can now capture more accurate call information that not only reduces duplication of client records, but also helps to identify the needs of Vermont Seniors.

Kathleen Peterson, Age Well’s Client Access Team Lead, stated, “ReferNet is a powerful tool that allows our Information & Assistance professionals to efficiently and accurately provide our callers with the support and guidance they need to meet today’s challenges.  It is rewarding to be able to hit a few keys and solve a problem for our seniors.”

MaryEllen Mendl, Vermont 2-1-1’s Director, stated, “There is a natural partnership between Vermont 2-1-1 and Referral and Assistance programs such as Age Well and the Helpline. The 2-1-1 Resource Database is updated regularly by dedicated staff, saving the need to create a redundant system and deploying of staff resources.”

Read the full press release here

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 April:

Top Services: Medication Disposal (330 searches);
Christmas Programs (225 searches); Clothing Donation Programs (179 searches); Household Goods Donation Programs (153 searches);
Assistive Technology Equipment Loan (80 searches)

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Vermont State Police; Department for Children and Families – Economic Services; Capstone Community Action; City of Barre

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

Total Site Visits: 3785

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1810



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

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May is Stroke & High Blood Pressure Month


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Health and Wellness Newsletter – May, 2017

Stroke & High Blood Pressure Month

High Blood Pressure is the Leading Risk Factor for Stroke



High Blood Pressure (HBP or hypertension) is one of the leading causes of Stroke. It is often the first domino in a chain or “domino effect” leading to devastating consequences, like heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and more.
Barely half of the 86 million Americans with high blood pressure have it under control. Another factor in this equation is that 16
percent of the people with high blood pressure are completely unaware that
they have this symptomless “silent killer”1.


•  80% of strokes can be largely prevented
•  1 in 3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure2

STROKE is all around us.

    • Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke.
    • Each year, about as many Americans have a stroke as a heart attack.
    • Stroke causes more than 133,000 deaths annually.
    • After years of going down, stroke deaths are now up by three percent.


80% of strokes are PREVENTABLE.

    • High blood pressure is the most important controllable risk factor for stroke.
    • One in three American adults has high blood pressure.
    • Most people who have a first stroke have high blood pressure.


Stroke is largely TREATABLE.

  • The faster stroke is treated, the more likely the patient is to recover.
  • Stroke patients who are treated with the clot-busting drug within 90 minutes of their first symptoms are almost three times more likely to recover with little or no disability.
  • Ninety-one percent of stroke patients who were treated with a stent retriever within 150 minutes of first symptoms recover with little or no disability.

When it comes to spotting stroke and getting help, the faster, the better. That’s because prompt treatment may make the difference between life and death — or the difference between a full recovery and long-term disability3.

Helpful Resouces:

2017 American Stroke Month Landing Page – Find American Stroke Month campaign messages and elements: High Blood Pressure infographic, F.A.S.T. video and more.

Together to End StrokeTM – Learn about the ASA’s national initiative and how you can teach Americans that stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable.

ASA Stroke Resource Center – Digital library for stroke resources on prevention, treatment and recovery.

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Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week!



Thank you for subscribing to the VFFCMH Newsletter.
In this issue:


Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week!
May 2017


Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week !!!


“PARTNERING for Help and Hope”
As we look to promote Children’s Mental Health Awareness week, May 1-6, we must remember and honor the fact that children are an integral part of a family unit, and increase our efforts to educate Vermont about the importance of prevention and early identification of mental health challenges.  Further, we must advocate for a holistic approach to children’s mental health that includes the provision of supports that strengthen the family as they nurture resiliency.

Partnering with Family Run Support organizations, also called Peer Support, is a second crucial “Partnering,” as these organizations support families to improve their lives. This partnering with family organizations must be recognized as important to and requested by the families, and as a critical part of Vermont’s system of care for children and families.

Our third arm of partnering is the critical importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders. This involves recognizing the importance of social, emotional, behavioral, and physical health needs of children, youth, and young adults, and modeling effective communication practices between families, youth, behavioral health providers, and primary care providers.



Getting Ready For Children’s Mental Health Day!


Please consider joining us and others around the state as we celebrate Children’s Mental Health Awareness
Some scheduled activities for Children’s Mental Health Day/Week
  • May 4, 11-2 Church Street Marketplace- Outreach table to families, children and community members sponsored by VFFCMH
  • May4, 11-4 Waterbury State Office Complex- Outreach and informational table sponsored by the Department of Mental Health and VFFCMH
  • May 4, 8 PM, Me2/Burlington in Concert presented by Lamoille County Mental Health Services, Lamoille Union High School 736 VT. Route 15 W, Hyde Park VT
  • United Counseling Services, Bennington, is offering
    a free youth mental health first aid training, and doing bookmarks again this year in local businesses, bookstores and libraries.
  • Open house First Call, at the Howard Center 1138 Pine Street, from 3-6. Light refreshments will be served


Vermont Federation of Families, PO Box 1577, Williston, VT 05495


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