Kids and Screen Time



Vermont 2-1-1

The staff and volunteers at Vermont 2-1-1 send you wishes for a happy holiday season and a reminder that you can dial 2-1-1 24 hours a day, every day of the year. 

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

October’s call volume of 2,540 is indicative of the changing season and 2-1-1 Contact Specialists are hunkering down for another very busy season helping those in need escape the often life-threatening cold nights. This month’s housing-related calls continue the historical trend of a significant uptick in the requests for referrals to housing resources. The Adverse Weather Conditions set forth by the Department for Children and Families started on November 1st , but the race to escape the cold weather had already begun during October. The number of referrals in the Housing/Shelter sub-category shows an 18% increase over September. This month these referrals make up 77% of the total in the Basic Needs category. October’s prelude to Vermont’s winter weather has local non-profits actively planning and preparing for the opening of their warming shelters. These mostly volunteer-run, cold weather shelters will serve the most vulnerable members of our Vermont communities and most will fill to capacity each night.

Another noteworthy increase in requests for assistance this month can be seen in the Public Assistance Programs sub-category.  These types of calls are clearly in line with the numbers we saw this past winter in January of 2017. Primarily, referrals were made to General Relief, an income maintenance program administered and funded entirely by each county, that provides basic financial assistance for people who are “indigent” – a term that should be understood as describing individuals in need who are truly down and out. This sub-category also includes referrals to Reach Up, 3SquaresVT, WIC and other State and Federal public assistance programs.

October’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day proved to be another successful, single-day push to remove unused prescription drugs from medicine cabinets as a preventive measure against misuse of leftover medications. Once again Vermonters were encouraged to participate by turning in unused, expired and unwanted prescription drugs at specified, local collection sites. This nationwide collection effort is held twice a year, but Vermonters can drop off their prescription drugs any day of the year at numerous local sites. Governor Phil Scott is promoting Vermont 2-1-1 as the number to call for a list of collection sites and Vermont 2-1-1 is working closely with the Vermont Department of Health to keep the medication drop-off information accurate and up-to-date. Contact Specialists responded to more than 60 calls and the Vermont 2-1-1 website showed 100 hits for this information in October alone, a good sign that Vermonters are interested in properly disposing of their unused medications.

Finally, October’s data reveals 67 referrals to the Disaster Services sub-category. The referrals were in response to sheltering information requests due to the worst recorded wind storm to hit Vermont. This powerful windstorm moved into regions of Vermont during the early morning hours on Monday, October 30th, downing trees, cutting power to thousands of homes and shuttering dozens of roads. While responding to requests for storm-related information and assistance, 2-1-1 Contact Specialists were also tracking Vermonters’ needs and sharing that with Vermont Emergency Management, the Agency of Human Services, American Red Cross, and other state and local partners. The information collected at the 2-1-1 Contact Center helped to identify the regions where community emergency shelters might be needed.

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

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 203 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 October here.

Did You Know…?

You can reach us by phone 4 ways by:

  1. Simply dialing 2-1-1 – a local call from anywhere in Vermont
  2. Dialing 1-866-652-4636 – toll free in Vermont
  3. Dialing (802) 652-4636 – from outside of Vermont
  4. Texting your zip code – to 898211

The Vermont 2-1-1 Contact Center is available 24/7. Texting is only available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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 October:

Top Services: Homeless Motel Vouchers (310 searches); Christmas Programs (166 searches); Clothing Donation Programs (153 searches); Community Meals (144 searches); Pet Care Services (140 searches)

Top Agencies: Salvation Army (Rutland); Champlain Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO); Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA); Salvation Army (Burlington); Vermont Department for Children and Families – Economic Services Division

Top Search by City: Burlington; Essex Junction; Hancock; New Haven; Rutland

Total Site Visits: 4609

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 2013

Kids and Screen Time

Smartphones, computers and other media devices are a part of our every day lives. But research has shown that when it comes to kids, too much tech and too little face-to-face time with family and friends can delay the development of communication, language and social skills.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children 18 months and younger should not use screen media other than video-chatting with family and loved ones. For children 18 months to 5 years, parents should choose high-quality programming and apps that they view with their children and limit screen use to 1 hour or less per day. Parents should avoid letting children use media by themselves.

Here are some helpful tips for managing your family’s media use:

  • Make a family media use plan. This can help parents think about how to use media thoughtfully and make sure other important activities like sleep, outdoor-play, reading and family activities get priority. The AAP has a useful link to help families get started.
  • Set limits. In addition to limiting the amount of time your child uses media, know what platforms and apps your children are using, what sites they are visiting on the web, and what they are doing online.
  • Make unplugged playtime a daily priority. Unstructured play stimulates creativity and engaging in back-and-forth “talk time” is critical for language development and improves language skills much more than one-way interaction with a screen.
  • Be a good role model. Limiting your own media use means you will be more engaged with your child and be able to give them your full attention while setting a good example.
  • Create tech-free zones. Keep meal times and children’s bedrooms screen free. This encourages healthier eating habits and better sleep, which are critical for children’s wellness.
  • Don’t use technology as an emotional pacifier. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, learn how to come up with activities to manage boredom and ways to calm down and solve problems.  These are important skills for the healthy development of your child.



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


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It’s #GIVINGTUESDAY – Help us raise $2500 to create financial stability for families in our communities!

It’s #GIVINGTUESDAY – Help us raise $2500 to create financial stability for families in our communities!

Dear Supporter,

It’s GIVING TUESDAY! Your support throughout the year means everything to the people in our communities who need your help, so today we are asking you to help raise $2500 toward our K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching initiative to helps families in our five counties become financially stable.

We know that when a family is financially stable they are less likely to face food insecurity, they have the ability to weather life’s storms better, and their children have better access to educational opportunities that can offer a chance for a better future. This work is so important to the families in our communities and your gift could give them the help they need!

A gift of just $25 can help families in our communities get on the road to a more stable future. Give today and be of the solution our communities need!

In gratitude,
Tawnya Kristen

Executive Director

P.S. Simply donate online through our secure giving link, or send your check to Green Mountain United Way, 73 Main Street #33, Montpelier, VT 05602 and remember to put Giving Tuesday in the memo line!

Green Mountain United Way Events


Does your business struggle with employee retention and productivity, or with employees’ changing needs and have 25 or more employees? If so, join us for a Lunch & Learn to hear about how the innovative Working Bridges program could help you meet your business goals by bringing human service resources to employees at their workplace. Learn more…

  • December 12, 2017, 12:00-1:30 pm at NVDA in St. Johnsbury or
  • December 14, 2017, 12:00-1:30 pm at the Gateway Center in Newport, VT  

Join Green Mountain United Way and the Northfield Promise Community for the latest showing of this ground-breaking film on Tuesday, December 5th at Northfield Middle High School Auditorium, 6:30PM – 8:00PM. Admission is FREE and open to the public. There will be a facilitated panel discussion following the film. Read more…

Volunteer Opportunities in our Communities

Check out our up-to-date listings for Volunteer Opportunities in your area on our website and give the Gift of Time this year!

Community Notes



Compare drug prices before you get to the pharmacy or send one of your clients or patients for a new medication. This tool can help save money and understand your options. Try it NOW!


Vermont 211 Resources:

Vermont 2-1-1 has just updated their Seasonal Resources page including information about Fuel Assistance, VITA Tax Prep, and Flu Season resources for all vermonters. Learn more…

Join the #GIVINGTUESDAY Movement today!
Help us raise $2500 to help families in our community become financially stable!


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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New Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines to Follow


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Health and Wellness Newsletter – November, 2017

Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines

New Blood Pressure Treatment Guidelines to Follow

Our partners at the American Heart Association have shared new blood pressure treatment guidelines that will change the way high blood pressure is diagnosed and managed in America

They are now defining high blood pressure as a systolic measurement of 130 and higher, or a diastolic measure of 80 and higher. Previously the blood pressure definition was set at 140 and 90 respectively. By lowering the definition of high blood pressure, the guidelines recommend earlier intervention to prevent further increases in blood pressure and the complications of hypertension.

They also eliminated the “pre-hypertension” category for blood pressure ranging from 120 to 139 systolic, and 80 to 89 diastolic. The team of experts who wrote the guidelines determined that people needed to understand their increasing risk to take swift action.

High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking. It’s known as the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms, despite its role in significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.

The guidelines will replace the 2003 guidelines published by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health entrusted the AHA and ACC to produce the first comprehensive guideline update in 14 years.

The new guidelines also stress the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure. Blood pressure levels should be based on an average of two to three readings on at least two different occasions.

You can find updated resources for patients at Clinical tools have also been updated on


Quick Tips

Drug Price Lookup Tool




While at your doctor’s office, use the Drug Price Look-up Tool in the FamilyWize mobile app to see which pharmacy will have the lowest price for your prescription. Then ask your doctor to send your prescription to that pharmacy.

It’s that easy!



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UW Volunteer of the Month: Robert Harvey of Wash. Co. Mental Health

If you were to play a word association game, when you hear, “I have a background in engineering and business at a Fortune 500 company,” you might not think, “volunteer at the local mental health agency.” And if you did that, you would miss the incredible volunteer contributions Robert Harvey has made to our partners at Washington County Mental Health.

Harvey was recently recognized at WCMH’s 50th-anniversary celebration for his contribution to the organization over the past 17 years. His volunteer contribution on the board of directors there is a career in itself. He is the treasurer of the board, a role requiring an engineer’s meticulous attention to detail because of both the size of the organization — WCMH employs nearly 700 people in our region and serves many more community members — and also because the breadth of their funding sources and services.

Harvey is also on several volunteer committees at WCMH and regularly meets with the executive director, the director of finance, staff and management regarding health insurance benefits structure, financial performance, service delivery and staff workplace issues, and acts as a link to the board of directors. His enthusiasm for administrative and logistical topics is contagious and demonstrates the immense value of the volunteer work he does. It is also, likely, one of the reasons WCMH nominated him for Volunteer of the Month. His enthusiasm, focus, and attention to detail translates to a job well done: Harvey is not your average volunteer and he is just as dedicated to his work as someone hired for the job. His career prepared him well for his retirement volunteer “job.” As an engineer, his career contributions even include a part in the creation of the lunar module in 1967-68. He is an engineer at heart with the ability to focus on the details while keeping in mind the larger goal.

Harvey’s introduction to Washington County Mental Health’s services started when he and his family moved back to his wife’s home here in central Vermont after his retirement from that Fortune 500 company and decades as an engineer and businessman. His family’s move was not without challenges. His son is on the autistic spectrum and struggled with the changes of moving to a new, unfamiliar place. After his son had several crises, Harvey’s family was connected with WCMH to work with a case manager. He and his family were so grateful for the support and resources offered by the agency that helped their son transition into his new home. In particular, the case manager assigned to their son made a huge impact on Harvey. He described her effort as “really going the extra mile. She was so effective at getting our son into a support program and getting him everything she could to help him better transition into the community.”

It was she who suggested that Harvey consider joining the board of directors, so he wrote a letter and was invited to join. That was 17 years ago.

“Bob is an absolute gem. We just presented him with our Community Support Award for 17 years of dedication to our staff and clients through service on our Board of Directors as well as numerous committees. This is an award given for keeping the flames of hope and support alive. We are incredibly fortunate to have Bob on our team,” said Washington County Mental Health Executive Director Mary Moulton. When asked what the award means to him, he spoke about WCMH’s “staff and their commitment to the community. They live their work every day.” Harvey is proud that his volunteer contributions support the staff and the work the agency does, allowing more people to focus on the people in the community who they are helping. He said, “All the little details make the whole thing work.”

Harvey plans to continue to dig into all of the details at WCMH, and to continue to support the work they do, as well as honor their hard work by matching that with his effort as a volunteer. And after 17 years, he’s just getting started.

If you are interested in learning more about WCMH’swork, go to

The Volunteer of the Month is a feature compiled by the Green Mountain United Way, focusing on the contributions of local volunteers whose work benefits local nonprofit organizations in Green Mountain United Way’s service territory. For more information, or to nominate a volunteer, go to

Originally published by the Times Argus through their partnership with Green Mountain United Way to support Volunteerism in the community.

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