The Word Gap


Vermont 2-1-1

Join  ASIST —
Become A Life Saver!

Vermont 2-1-1 is hosting an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshop on Wednesday, November 8th and Thursday, November 9th 2017.

ASIST is for caregivers who want to feel more comfortable, confident and competent in helping to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over one million caregivers have participated in this two-day, highly interactive, practical, practice-oriented workshop.

For more information on this training, please see our informational flyer or contact Cathy Nellis with questions.

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

This year’s “summer season” started late and lasted well into September!  This resulted in a calmer September in the 2-1-1 Contact Center, as reflected by the 1,861 contact total. Although phone lines may have been a bit quieter, September was a busy and exciting month at the contact center with the third year anniversary of Vermont 2-1-1’s participation in the Vermont Department of Health’s statewide Help Me Grow initiative!  Our Help Me Grow Specialized Information and Referral line is staffed by trained Child Development Specialists who are available to answer parent and caregiver questions about children’s behavioral and developmental needs. These specialists are providing families with tools to track development milestones and are connecting families to the appropriate resources in their communities. Parents, grandparents, service providers and doctor’s offices contacted the Help Me Grow line during its first year. Child Development Specialists responded to child development concerns and to parent and caregiver requests for help with meeting basic needs. Help Me Grow Child Development Specialists are available from 9:00am – 6:00pm Monday – Friday by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting option 6, or by texting HMGVT to 898211. You can also go to to learn more.

Statewide referrals to housing/shelter resources remind us of what is to come as the season changes and state parks come to close…Vermonters are beginning to prepare for the winter months. September continues the historical trend of a rise in the requests for referrals to housing resources.

September was also National Preparedness Month (NPM). NPM encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA’s Ready Campaign, the correlating public education outreach campaign, disseminates information to help the general public prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. We should all take action to prepare! Go to for more information. On October 21, Aaron Titus, author of How to Prepare for Everything: Empowering You to Face Disruption with Your Community and to Feel Good About the Future, will be presenting about his book in Montpelier. The first 25 registrants will receive an autographed copy of his book. For more information and to register, you can go to our website or Facebook page. You can also follow the link on the second page of this newsletter.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly contact volume report 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 September:

Top Services: Homeless Motel Vouchers (326 searches); Assistive Technology Equipment Loan (148 searches); Clothing Donation Programs (138 searches); Pet Care Services (121 searches); Christmas Programs (120 searches)

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

Top Search by City: Burlington; Hancock; Brattleboro; New Haven; Saint Johnsbury

Total Site Visits: 4008

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1815

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 145 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 September here.

How to Prepare for Anything

Aaron Titus, Executive Director with Crisis Cleanup, is coming to Vermont to conduct a workshop to promote his latest book, How to Prepare for Anything, on Saturday, October 21, 2017, starting at 10:00 a.m.

Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VTVOAD), in conjunction with UpStreet Consulting, is proud to sponsor Aaron’s workshop to promote his new book. The event will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Montpelier Ward, 224 Hersey Road, Berlin, Vermont. This workshop will provide attendees a great opportunity to learn how to prepare for unexpected events and disasters, Please click here for more information and to register.

October Is LGBT History Month

October is LGBT History Month, which originated in the United States in 1994, celebrating the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender “Icons” every year. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured with a video, a biography, and other resources. Vermont’s own cartoonist/author Alison Bechdel has been among the 341 Icons featured over the years.

To view the list, go to the LGBT History Month website. Searching the Vermont 2-1-1 database under the following terms will get you to the agencies that specialize in LBGT issues:

Cultural Awareness/Competencies Training* Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Issues

Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Advocacy Groups

Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Community Centers

Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Support Groups

Suicide Prevention Hotlines* Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual Individuals

The Word Gap

In the 1990’s, researchers conducted a study on the number of words spoken in households of children from poor, middle-class, and wealthy families. This landmark study discovered what we now call the word gap. They found that on average poor and low-income children were hearing about 616 words per hour, the average working-class child 1,251 words per hour, and affluent children 2,153 words per hour. According to NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), a recent study shows the word gap between children in different socioeconomic groups grows significantly from 18 months to 3 years. By the time children turn 4, children from high-income families are exposed to 30 million more words than children from low-income families.

The word gap shows us how poverty can influence the opportunities children have for learning. Language and literacy skills early in life predict future success in kindergarten and beyond. These skills aren’t just about learning words; they are also about communication and social interaction, which, in addition to improving their school readiness, builds a child’s social skills and supports healthy development.

Language and literacy skills begin at birth through everyday interactions, such as sharing books, telling stories, singing songs and talking to one another. Help Me Grow VT has resources for families looking to bolster their child’s language and literacy skills and help close the word gap with parent tip sheets and information on story times at local libraries and area playgroups. To contact a child development specialist at Help Me Grow VT, dial 2-1-1 ext. 6 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., or visit Help Me Grow VT’s website.


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

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