All posts by NanciL

Brattleboro’s Youth-Led Business Seeks Volunteer Mentors: Experience with design, business, entrepreneurship or sales especially needed

Youth Services is recruiting additional volunteer mentors for its youth-led enterprise, DemoGraphix, a business-to-business screen-printing company in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The employees, ages 12-24, have been instrumental in readying the business to open this month, building a strong team, selecting the name and designing a logo, training on the screen-press, established policies, a pricing structure and a marketing plan, all with the input of adult mentors, according to Emile Kornheiser, Youth Services’ director of Workforce Development.

Employees of DemoGraphix can make and sell their own designs as well as be employed by the company, Kornheiser explained. Launched earlier this year, the company employs young people in every aspect of the business— design, printing, shipping, customer service, marketing and accounting.  “DemoGraphix is dedicated to delivering job skills for these young people and fostering entrepreneurship and community connections,” stated Kornheiser.

 Mentors join a caring, fun team of adults who support the youth both at the screen printing shop and through one-on-one meetings. “The mentors are an integral part of the overall structure which guarantees the success of our outcomes,” said Kornheiser. “Our participants learn how to be a member of a team in a connected, supportive environment, learning from adults who are on the other side of so much of what they’re going through,” Kornheiser explained. 

Youth Services asks for a commitment of four hours per month, for one year, as well as attendance at quarterly trainings. There is no one profile for a successful mentor; excellent mentors can all have different backgrounds and be different ages, confirmed Kornheiser, who suggested scheduling an initial visit or a meeting as a way to determine a good fit before formally applying.  “What all our mentors share in common is an interest in working with young people and a willingness to share their expertise,” Kornheiser said.

A one-year commitment is requested from volunteer mentors; they must be at least 21 years old; provide references and pass a background check.  Kornheiser stressed that DemoGraphix mentors must be dependable and consistent in the minimum commitment: attending two group meetings a month, typically from 4-6 pm on Wednesday afternoons at the Printmakers Co-op space in Brattleboro.

The description for mentors lists as desired qualities being a willing listener, patience and flexibility. Youth Services offers quarterly ongoing trainings for mentors and an optional mentor support group.

To learn more about joining DemoGraphix as a mentor, visit email info@youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361 x138. For screen printing estimates, email: demographixvt@gmail.com or call 802-275-7871.

View application materials to become a mentor

 

The Reverend Dr. James Kowalski joins Youth Services Board

The Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, a retired Episcopal priest who is a long-time second home owner in Townshend, VT, recently joined 13 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors. Through nineteen programs ranging from restorative justice, to mentoring, transitional living, workforce development and therapeutic case management, the nonprofit agency helps Windham County thrive.

Dr. James A. Kowalski

For the past 15 years, Dr. Kowalski served as Dean of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. Prior to that, he had parishes in Massachusetts and Newtown, Hartford and Darien, Connecticut. During that time, Kowalski helped found a Youth Services in Newtown, CT which focused on positive youth development, adolescent depression and suicide prevention. He was also key in launching the Shepherd’s Center, a teen pregnancy prevention and pre-Head Start childcare facility in Hartford, CT.

With years of experience serving on Boards for agencies focused on low-income housing, supportive housing, hospital oversight and community mental health, Kowalski brings crucial insights and background to the Youth Services board, according to Rachel Selsky, board president.

Selsky said they are fortunate to have his vast experience when they are developing strategic plans for the future of the organization as well as fundraising.

“Jim’s deep understanding of the many challenges facing young people and the homeless will be a tremendous asset to the board,” Selsky predicted.

As an extension of his ministry, Kowalski was a volunteer counselor at Planned Parenthood in Burlington, where he also was a chaplain at UVM and did clinical training at the medical center and its outpatient psychiatric clinic.

Rev. James Kowalski resides in Townshend with his wife, Dr. Anne Brewer, who works part-time at Grace Cottage Hospital. First exposed to Youth Services by the late board member Stan Holt of Townshend, they became donors many years ago, keeping an eye on the organization as their work took them to other locales.

“We’ve always appreciated what Youth Services was accomplishing in this neck of the woods,” said Kowalski. “Now that I’m in Windham County full-time I look forward to supporting the staff in their work and helping the critical mission of Youth Services to be realized, including its outreach to Townshend,” he stated.

To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services or to refer a person for services, visit youthservicesinc.org or call 802-257-0361.

Brattleboro’s Youth-Led Company Opens Its Doors: Screen Printing Orders Sought from Area Businesses and Organizations

DemoGraphix, a youth-led business-to-business screen-printing company in Brattleboro, Vermont, established by Youth Services earlier this year, has opened its doors for sales, after a six-month start-up period.

The employees, ages 12-24, have selected a name, designed a logo, trained on the screen printing equipment and establishing policies and a pricing structure during that time, in addition to being paired with volunteer mentors with professional skills such as design, running a small business, and marketing.

Having completed several successful test runs, DemoGraphix employees are now ready to market their services and line up printing orders for promotional products on fabric or paper for the fall, according to Emilie Kornheiser, Youth Services’ Director of Workforce Development.

“We believe that people in Brattleboro want to be conscious shoppers, and will support a business like DemoGraphix offering a living wage and better life opportunities for its employees,” explained Kornheiser.

While DemoGraphix can print on any fabric medium, the two most popular items so far are t-shirts and tote bags, according to the company website. Prices depend on the quality of the materials, manufacturing practices, and the complexity of the design but generally range $10-25 dollars for T-shirts and $5-15 for totes. The designers are happy to have a conversation with prospective clients and will provide an estimate in three days or less.

Launched earlier this year, DemoGraphix, which employs youth in every aspect of the business — design, printing, shipping, customer service, marketing and accounting — is dedicated to delivering job skills and fostering entrepreneurship and community connections, stated Kornheiser.

Members of DemoGraphix can make and sell their own designs as well as be employed by the company. “Our participants learn how to be a member of a team in a connected, supportive environment, and then move on with the knowledge to benefit their community and their own work lives,” Kornheiser explained. “We expect that these youth will have marketable skills and good job references when they leave the company,” she said.

This Youth Services program operates out of Brattleboro Printmakers on Elliot Street. Youth Services pairs 12-24 year olds with volunteer mentors with professional skills relevant to the business who are also interested in being a part of a young person’s life. According to Kornheiser, a major goal of our youth-led business initiative is for the participants to get more than just a paycheck.

To learn more about getting involved, email: info@ youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361 x138. To obtain an estimate for print shop orders (T-shirts, bags, bandanas, aprons, or collectible posters) email: demographixvt@gmail.com with a description of the project or call 802-275-7871.

Youth Services’ Annual Golf Tournament received strong community, corporate support

A enthusiastic turn out by local golfers —78 in all — and strong corporate support, made Youth Services’ 34th Annual Golf Tournament a rousing success, generated nearly $15,000 to help underwrite the agency’s programs. The tournament was held at the Brattleboro Country Club on July 24, a breezy 80-degree day with sunny skies.

The GS Precision team

 

The Elizabeth Walker team of Andrea Nelson, Eileen Ranslow, Terry Boyce and Elizabeth Walker won First Gross, with the Brattleboro Food Coop team of Bob Lyons, Sabine Rhyne, Jeff Houle and Tracy Sloan finishing First Net.

The Springfield Housing Authority team of Bill Morlock, Mike Augustauskas, David Nichols and Tracy Johnson took Second Gross with the Cersosimo Industries team of Michael Cersosimo, Brian Knowles, Bruce Davis and Wayne Wright taking Second Net.

Elizabeth Walker won the prize for the Women’s Longest Drive. Sabine Rhyne took Women’s Closest to the Line with Maggie Aldrich winning the prize for Women’s Closest to the Pin.

In the Men’s Division, Brian Knowles took the prize for Men’s Longest Drive. Dave Anderson took Men’s Closest to the Line with Paul Saccoccio winning Men’s Closest to Pin.

Youth Services’ Executive Director Russell Bradbury-Carlin, together with staff member Gail Bourque, ran a Putting Contest which raised close to $200 for the agency.  The winner of the Putting Contest was Bonnie McKellar.

For the sixth year in a row, there was a silent auction and over 50 items and services were raffled thanks to the generosity of local businesses who has supported the fundraiser with contributions in-kind.

Dave Manning helps helicopter pilot Michael Renaud with the Helicopter Golf Ball Drop raffle.

A special feature was the 7th year Helicopter Golf Ball Drop thanks to the Renaud Bros, Inc. helicopter, piloted by Mike Renaud and assisted by David Manning. Individuals did not need to be part of the tournament to buy golf balls, priced at $100 each, nor be present at the drop to win. Buckets of golf balls were dropped from 20 feet on the fairway at the Brattleboro Country Club, with the winner of the $3000 cash prize being Melanie Boese of Brattleboro, VT with ball #46.

Because of struggles with substance abuse in her family, Boese pledges to donate her winnings to Youth Services new Substance Abuse treatment program.  Jeff Morse and Gene Wrinn had the next closest balls. Melanie Boese was also top bidder on the helicopter ride that evening.

Winner of the Helicopter Golf Ball Drop, Melanie Boese.

MANY THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

PRESENTING SPONSOR (Golf Tournament)

G. S. Precision

PRESENTING SPONSOR (Gala)

Twombly Wealth Management

SUSTAINER SPONSORS

Brattleboro Savings & Loan

Chroma Technology

ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care

Edward Jones Investments

New Chapter

River Valley Credit Union

Silver Forest of Vermont

Vermont Country Deli

 

PATRON SPONSORS

Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors

Brattleboro Retreat

C.E Bradley Laboratories

Chroma Technology

C & S Wholesale Grocers

Crispe & Crispe

David Manning Inc.

Downs Rachlin & Martin PLLC

Green Mountain Tents

Phillips, Shriver, Dunn & Carroll, PC

Rolls Royce Nuclear

Trust Company of Vermont

ASSOCIATE SPONSORS

Cota & Cota Oil Co.

Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation

Stevens & Associates, PC

True North Granola

WW Building Supply

MEDIA SPONSORS

Brattleboro Reformer

WTSA

 

Youth Services is part of national and local strategy to combat opioid addiction among young people: attended RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

Youth Services’ Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin attend the RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta the last week in April. The summit, which began in 2012, bills itself as the event for decision makers and allied professionals working to address the public health emergency. The Summit is now the annual gathering for stakeholders to discuss what’s working in prevention and treatment. In previous years, former Presidents Obama and Clinton presented.  President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump addressed attendees this year.

Windham County is a high-risk community for substance use disorder and is one of the 220 high-risk rural counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being at highest risk for HIV and Hepatitis C infections due to injection drug used.

Youth Services’ executive director attended this conference for the first time through funding from the Windham County Consortium on Substance Use, a group who together are assessing current gaps and resources in order to develop a strategic plan to uniquely address issues of substance abuse, primarily from opioids, within Windham County.

Youth Services believe that supportive and therapeutic counseling services for individuals, families and groups are effective methods to address substance related issues. “We provide a variety of consultation and clinical services designed to decrease hazardous use, promote abstinence, assist in recovery and problem resolution, improve functioning and develop a healthier lifestyle,” stated Bradbury-Carlin.

“Our approach to substance abuse counseling focuses on the belief that each individual is a person of worth and dignity and is capable of recovery,” explained Bradbury-Carlin. “An attitude of realistic hope is central to our treatment philosophy. We recognize that substance use disorders are chronic problems, with both common and unique challenges for each person,” Bradbury-Carlin said.

 

Local “Celebrity” dancers brought out the crowds at Youth Services’ Spring Gala & Dance Show, raising close to $25,000

Nearly every seat was occupied at Youth Services’ Annual Gala & Dance Show at SIT on Saturday, April 27, with 106 guests witnessing local “celebrities” showcasing their dance skills and supporting a great cause! This was the second year that the much anticipated annual event showcased a twist on televisions’ hit reality show, Dancing with the Stars.

Presented by Twombly Wealth Management, the festive evening of food and drink at SIT started with a silent auction auctioning art and crafts, gifts, and getaways from 95 local artisans and businesses which grossed $12,000 for the youth serving nonprofit.

Dinner was followed by the Can Windham County Dance? show featuring local “celebrity” dancers. None of the celebrities were novice dancers but all rehearsed numerous times to perfect their routines.

Matt Peake and Connie Burton dance The Lovers’ Waltz.

Richard and Margo Langlois, long-time line dance instructors shared their medley of 1950’s/60’s novelty dances. Car wash owner, Connie Burton and artist Matt Peake prepared a beautifully executed performance of The Lovers’ Waltz. Attorney Andrew Marchev of Phillips, Dunn, Shriver & Carroll and Physical Therapy Assistant at BMH Melissa Kuralt danced a charged and flawless Salsa to “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi.

Architects Joseph Cincotta and Julie Lineburger performed a high octane and original swing dance to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, while the audience clapped. Dr. Jesper Brickley and his wife, Cara Wolff performed a crowd pleasing Hustle, including lifts. Dance teachers Gershom Moore and Francesca Bourgault, owner of Windham Movement Apparel tapped out an elegant duet to “After Hours” by Qunicy Jones and his Orchestra. Internationally recognized ballroom dancers Justin Vasselli and Sophia Marx, amazed the crowd with their precision Cha cha to “Diras Que Estoy Loco” by Miguel Angel Munoz.  Closing the performance was Victoria Jaenson, participating courtesy of the Charlotte Ballet Co., with an choreographed original contemporary piece to the music “Maribel” by Oskar Schuster, to much applause.

Francesca Bourgault and Gershom Moore perform tap dancing to the music of “After Hours” by Quincy Jones and His Orchestra

Top prize for fundraising went to “celebrity” Dr. Jesper Brickley and his wife Cara Wolff, jewelry maker and Brattleboro shopkeeper, for raising the most donations to support Youth Services critical safety net for area young people. All together their sponsors contributed close to $5000 to Youth Services. In second place for fundraising was “celebrity” Melissa Kuralt and Andrew Marchev whose sponsorships totaled $1338; Margo and Richard Langlois who raised $1163; and Joseph Cincotta and Julie Lineberger who closely followed them by raising $1141. All together the eight sets of dancing partners raised $9505 on-and off-line from 67 donors from as far away as Nebraska.

Cara Wolff and Dr. Jesper Brickley won the trophy for top fundraisers for the event by raising close to $5000 singlehanded.

“We appreciated our presenting sponsor, Twombly Wealth Management, the great turnout from the community, the lovely venue SIT provided, and the dedication of the dancers and volunteers who made this a truly memorable event,” stated Russell Bradbury Carlin. “Through their incredible support of Youth Services, it is clear that the community is committed to each young person realizing their full potential,” he said.

Youth Services anticipates holding a third “Can Windham County Dance” event next spring and will be seeking a new line-up of local “celebrity” dancers in January, representing different genres of dance, towns, professions and most working intensively with dance instructors to prepare for their debut. Youth Services’ Pacesetter Sponsors for 2019 are The Richards Group, GS Precision and Brattleboro Subaru. For more information call Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or email info@youthservicesinc.org.

 

Youth Services’ Summer Camp Fair held during April Gallery Walk April 5 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Youth Services will host their Annual Summer Camp Fair on Friday, April 5, on Gallery Walk Night from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the River Garden in downtown Brattleboro.

Many summer camp providers will supply activities and entertainment for the children. The public is encouraged to take advantage of this great opportunity to arrange a fun-filled summer. There will also be youth entrepreneurs selling their creations. To entice the public to stop in, Youth Services is holding a free drawing for $100 credit toward a camp of the winner’s choice and is giving out free balloons.

“Our Summer Camp Fair gives parents and grandparents the chance to ask questions and register their children for many of the camps listed in our Summer Resources Calendar in one convenient location,” notes Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Youth Services’ Executive Director.

Parents will be able to pick up information about and register their children for nearly two dozen summer camp programs at the Camp Fair. Organizations that have hosted booths in past years include: Bonnyvale Camp Waubanong; River Gallery School; Boys and Girls Club; Brattleboro School of Dance; Brattleboro Music Center; Cub Scouts; Retreat Farm; The Garland School; Education Center; Brattleboro Outing Club/Tennis; Brattleboro Community Television; Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Dept.; Farm Camp!; New England Center for Circus Arts; The Grammar School Summer Camp; Green Mountain Camp for Girls; Magical Earths Retreat; Meeting Waters YMCA; New England Youth Theatre; Vermont Wilderness School and more!

Copies of Youth Services’ Summer Resources Calendar with information on these programs and many others will be available in the March 30 Reformer and at the fair.  You can also pick up a calendar at area locations, including Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, Brooks Memorial Library, and Youth Services after March 30.

The fair is sponsored by Youth Services Pacesetters: The Richards Group, Brattleboro Subaru, and GS Precision. For more information, call Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or visit www.YouthServicesInc.org, where you can download the listing.

Summer Camp Fair Guide

Summer Job Guide

Spring Gala & Dance Show at SIT features local “celebrity” dancers

Our gala is your chance to witness local “celebrities” showcasing their dance skills while supporting a great cause!

If you like Dancing With the Stars-you didn’t want to miss this show!

On Saturday evening, April 27, Youth Services will hold its 2nd Annual Gala & Silent Auction at SIT’s International Center from 5 to 10 pm. The much anticipated event is a twist on television’s hit reality show, Dancing with the Stars. Billed as Can Windham County Dance? tickets are $90 per person ($55 of which is tax deductible).

  

PRESENTED BY:

MUSIC SPONSOR:                        MEDIA PRESENTING SPONSOR:The festive evening of food and drink sponsored by Twombly Wealth Management starts with a silent auction and cash bar from 5-6 p.m.  Click here to see highlights of auction items last year. Beginning at 6 p.m. wait staff will serve A Vermont Table buffet with entrees of Grilled Skirt Steak with Preserve Lemon & Parsley,  Oven Roasted Salmon with Creamed Spinach or Stuffed Delicata Squash (gluten free/vegetarian option). The side dishes are Broccoli with Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes, Green Beans with Toasted Almond Butter, Maple Whipped Butternut Squash, and Fingerling Potatoes with Tarragon & Chive followed by Gourmet Ice Cream and Homemade Cookies

Stay tuned for more information on our local “celebrity” dancers who will be announced shortly. Top prize will be awarded to the dancer who raised the most donations to support Youth Services critical safety net for area young people.

Following the performances, DJ music from BE HEARD  Sound will showcase numerous eras to  liven the dance floor for all attendees.

We are grateful to Twombly Wealth Management as the gala’s Presenting Corporate Sponsor.  Youth Services Pacesetter Sponsors are The Richards Group, G.S. Precision and Brattleboro Subaru. Many thanks to all who attend and those who sponsor individual celebrity dancers!

Make a resolution for 2019: Become a Youth Services volunteer. Learn about it April 1 from 9-noon

Youth Services is offering a Volunteer Training on Monday, April 1 from 9 am-noon at their offices in Brattleboro for community members interested in becoming more involved with the nonprofit. Volunteer opportunities range from helping on an ad hoc basis with transportation, meal prep, sharing parenting and life skills to more formal roles such as volunteering as a mentor for a youth-led screen printing business, sitting on a once-a-month Diversion Panel, or serving as a temporary Host Home.

The first part of the evening will orient prospective volunteers to Youth Services’ philosophy and trauma-informed approach to building communities where young people and families are healthy, empowered and valued. The second half of the evening will provide specifics about each of the volunteer opportunities currently available.

Mentors are sought from Brattleboro’s vibrant small business and art community; adults who can apprentice young people ages 17-24 in bookkeeping, design, sales and marketing and entrepreneurship, among other skills needed to run a business. This commitment is twice a month for 2 hours on a afternoon or evening.

Host Homes are volunteer households who agree to provide shelter, food and include youth in family activities while they can stay up to 21 days during a family crisis. Host home applicants undergo a screening process that includes an interview, home visit and criminal background check. Youth Services provides shelter parents with training, ongoing support, and a small stipend to help cover costs.  Shelter parents also have access to 24-hour on-call services at Youth Services.  Shelter parents aren’t responsible for any type of counseling or case management.

Diversion Boards involve victims, offenders and community members in a constructive restorative justice process that helps offenders made amends to victims and the community while taking responsibility for their unlawful actions. Volunteers as a group meet once a month with individuals referred to Youth Services by the State’s Attorney Office after involvement in delinquency or criminal activities. It is a voluntary alternative to the court process and has been quite successful in reducing repeat offenses, according to Youth Services.

“We’re excited to be offering training opportunities that are integrated across our programs. It means that we can bring many more people into our work, and know that they’ll understand and engage with a wider slice of our community,” explained Emilie Kornheiser, Youth Services’ Director of Workforce Development.

For questions or to register for this informational session on volunteering at Youth Services, contact Michaela Stockwell at (802)257-0361 or email michaela.stockwell@youthservicesinc.org. There will be another volunteer training in the spring.

Course: “How to be a Successful Renter” starts January 23 afternoon at Youth Services

A course for new and prospective tenants, “How to be a Successful Renter,” will be starting January 23 at Youth Services’ Brattleboro office for renters of all ages and circumstances, the result of a collaboration between Vermont Legal Aid, Brattleboro Housing Partnerships, Windham and Windsor Housing Trust, SEVCA and Youth Services. All organizations are concerned with housing vulnerable populations in Windham County and ensuring that they are successful renters.

These collaborating entities are reviving a program called “Renter’s 101” that in years past had been very helpful to their client population, according to Wendi Byther, Youth Services’ Therapeutic Case Manager. Byther said that, the “collaborative” has rechristened the course, “How to Be a Successful Renter”.

The renter course will consist of five 1.5 hour Wednesday afternoon classes from Jan. 23 to Feb. 25. At its conclusion, participants will receive a certificate they can include in applications for housing. There is a cap of 10 participants in this first rendition in January, but if popular, this will become an ongoing cyclical course that will be offered several times a year to meet the demand, which is expected to be high. This way, if participants miss a class, they can pick that one up at a later date on a different cycle and still be certified at the series conclusion.

According to Byther, many of the young adults she works with who are transitioning to stable housing with her support will benefit from the course.  “The young people I work with in particular are new to renting and would benefit from knowing their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Also, although concrete skills like budgeting and paying rent on time are important skills to learn, soft skills can be equally important, such as knowing how and when to communicate with a landlord. We’re very excited that all these housing agencies are collaborating to make this happen in 2019!”

The Wednesday afternoon courses will be held at Youth Services, 32 Walnut St., Brattleboro from Jan 23-Feb 13 with refreshments and childcare provided.

To sign up for this or future sessions, contact Susan Howes of SEVCA at 802-579-1314 x102. To see or print titles, dates and presenters click here.

How to Be a Successful Renter Series

MONEY: Can I Afford to Rent?

Wednesday, January 23, 1:30-3 pm

 

WHAT IF’s: What if My Landlord is a Serial Killer?

Wednesday, January 30, 1:30-3 pm

 

LANDLORD PANEL: How to Be a Good Tenant

Wednesday, February 6, 1:30-3:00 pm

 

TENANTS’ RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES

Featuring Sara Kagle from Legal Aid

Wednesday, February 13, 1:00-2:30 pm

 

MORE MONEY & WRAP-UP

Monday, February 25, 12:30-2 p.m.