Spring Gala & Dance Show postponed

Our gala is postponed until further notice. When it resumes it 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!

When we are able to reschedule, Youth Services will hold its 3rd Annual Gala & Silent Auction at the Arts Barn at Hilltop Montessori School 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).

  

PRESENTING SPONSOR

The festive evening of food and drink sponsored by Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors 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 Roast Beef with Horseradish or Roasted Salmon and Pea Shoots. The vegetarian entree selection is Spring Vegetable Strudel. Side dishes include Roasted and Blanched Spring Vegetables; Grilled Asparagus; Orechiette Pasta with Spinach; and Mint and Pistachio Spring Rice Pilaf 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 Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors 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!

Youth Services Case Manager Honored for Two Decades of Service

Patrick Fleming 

Patrick Fleming, a Court Diversion case manager for Youth Services since 1981, was recently honored by the organization for his nearly two decades of restorative justice work in Windham County.

Youth Services’ Court Diversion program involves victims, offenders, and community members in a constructive process that helps offenders repair the harm to victims and the community, according to Sally Struble, Youth Services’ Director of Restorative Justice programs. Every year, this one program works with close to 300 referrals.

“Patrick is the glue between our volunteer panelists and the offenders,” Struble explained, describing how once the State’s Attorney offers Diversion to adults charged with committing a crime or youth charged with being delinquent, Fleming meets with both the offender and the volunteer panels to prepare for one or more sessions together.

“Patrick’s skill and commitment to the goals of the program make him an outstanding liaison,” Struble said. “Our hope, realized in 90 percent of his cases, is that the offender not only learn from their mistakes, but also make different choices in the future.” After successful completion of the Diversion program, the original charge is dismissed, she explained.

“While being charged with a crime is often experienced by the client as a mini-tragedy, more often than not they avail themselves, with the support of the panel, in finding the silver lining,” Fleming attested. “In many cases that means re-evaluating their behaviors,” he stated. “Being able to refer them for counseling or substance use treatment as part of their diversion agreement is very helpful in this process,” Fleming admitted.”

The entire process takes on average between 60-90 days from start to finish, Fleming said. Describing how in an average week he prepares five distinct panels of trained community volunteers in Brattleboro and one in Bellows Falls. The case manager credits the Diversion Board members, who meet only once a month to hear cases, with possessing a diverse skill set that when combined is like a carefully tuned orchestra.  “I’m in awe of our volunteers. They hit all the notes and I always end up learning from them!” Fleming exclaimed.

Fleming described how powerful it is for clients to grapple with what they did and how it impacted others.“Unlike pleading guilty, paying a fine and getting a record, our participants have to engage with their actions and come to terms with the human elements,” Fleming emphasized,

What keeps Fleming doing this work case after case, year after year? “I’m interested in people. I’m interested in the challenges each case presents,” he stated. “When our participants comprehend that their life is out of balance and that there is an opportunity to set something right, take responsibility, make this crisis into something positive, we get to witness a truly transformative change for the better,” he said.

“What more can one ask for?” Fleming enthused. “Being an agent of change is the best feeling, treating them with respect and kindness in the process. Helping people to become healthier- that’s everyone’s goal.”

For more information on becoming a Youth Services Court Diversion board member, contact Sally Struble, Director of Restorative Justice at Youth Services at 802-257-0361 or email info@youthservicesinc.org.

Vickie Case inducted into Youth Services’ Hall of Fame

Vickie Case,  a Youth Services Board member for 15 years, was recently inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame, designated as “Envoy Extraordinaire” for her role as a valuable link to the Windham County communities.

Vickie Case, Inductee, Youth Services’ Hall of Fame

The award ceremony at Duo Restaurant in December included moving testimonials from Youth Services Executive Director Russell Bradbury-Carlin, and Board President, Rachel Selsky.

According to Youth Services Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin, the Hall of Fame is a way for Youth Services to recognize community members like Case who make outstanding and sustained contributions to youth development and the agency’s outreach. “Vickie is a magnet,” Bradbury-Carlin hypothesized.  “She attracts people’s attention and interests.  This is why she is so good in all of the roles she plays in the community and why we consider her an “envoy extraordinaire” for Youth Services,” he said.

Case is the fourth inductee to Youth Services’ Hall of Fame, joining the late Ben Underhill, a former board member who was honored with the MVP Award; former board member Liz Richards, who was recognized with the Community Ambassador Award; and court diversion volunteer Marilyn Buhlmann, who was inducted as its first Restorative Justice Advocate.

According to Board President Rachel Selsky, Case is a ‘true believer’ in Youth Services’ mission and isn’t shy about convincing others of the value of supporting Youth Services as part of their marketing budgets. “Vickie generated countless new event sponsorships for Youth Services through contacts she had through her work then in radio advertising. “Thanks to Vickie’s persuasive powers, numerous businesses came around to seeing it as a win-win situation and many continue to support us today as a result of her introductions,” Selsky said.

To find out how to join Vickie in this important work to support our youth and families, please call Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or email info@youthservicesinc.org

Affordable housing development in Brattleboro reserves four apartments for Youth Services’ clients in transition

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust celebrated its new downtown development at 29 Flat St., otherwise known as the Snow Block. The new apartment building  creates 23 new homes ranging from studio to two-bedroom apartments, with the goal of revitalizing a portion of the downtown area.

Youth Services has four apartments dedicated to its clients with an opportunity to provide services on site.

“We are delighted by our partnership with Youth Services at the Snow Block,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Bridgewater. “Young people often have the hardest time getting their first apartment and the Snow Block will provide a home and support at a critical point in a young person’s life to set them up for success now and in the future.

Funding for the project includes monies from the state’s Housing for All Revenue Bond (HRB), which was passed into law in 2017.

“The Snow Block, located in downtown Brattleboro, has met a housing need that continues to grow throughout Vermont,” said Gov. Phil Scott in a statement. “And with both millennials and our aging populations looking to live in walkable communities close to shopping and access to public transportation, having housing they can afford in vibrant downtowns is critical. I’m so pleased our housing bond is making that possible in Brattleboro and in our downtowns across Vermont.”

Funding totaling over $7 million from numerous sources was raised to cover the total development costs. Almost $5 million came through Housing Tax Credits administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) and purchased by People’s United Bank.

“The Snow Block is the latest example of Windham & Windsor Housing Trust’s vision of a vibrant downtown Brattleboro where everyone in the community can afford their housing,” said VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins. “This building will strengthen the health, connections, and financial stability of residents today and well into the future.”

“People’s United Bank is pleased to have been a major investor in the Snow Block and we are thrilled with our long term relationship with Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, said People’s United Bank Vice-President and CRA Officer Art Casavant. “This important project reflects the power harnessed in Vermont in support of low and moderate income communities and we look forward to the occupancy of this vibrant new housing space.”

For information about any of WWHT’s apartments or to learn how to apply for housing, call 802-254-4604.

 

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.

 

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