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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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).
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!
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 email@example.com. There will be another volunteer training in the spring.
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?
Are you interested in joining the 2019 cast of Can Windham County Dance?
Have you ever imagined yourself dancing in the spotlight? Would you enjoy performing in front of a live audience? Are you looking for a way to positively influence the lives of young people and families in Windham County? If you answered yes to the above questions, Youth Services has an opportunity for you to fulfill that dream.
Youth Services is hosting So Can Windham County Dance? second annual gala presented by Twombly Wealth Management, with a goal of $20,000 raised to strengthen the safety net for area young people and families. This spring, Can Windham County Dance? gala takes place on Saturday, April 27, once again at SIT in Brattleboro.
Youth Services’ newest signature fundraiser pairs well-known “celebrity” members of the community with their own partners or professional dance instructors who train with them on a dance routine that is performed in front of a sold-out gala crowd at SIT. This is a local twist on the reality TV show, Dancing with the Stars. The winner of the dance ‘competition’ is determined by both talent and fundraising ability.
“We encourage anyone who’s up for the challenge, to apply to join the cast of So Can Windham County Dance?” said Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Executive Director of Youth Services. “We are currently recruiting individuals who are not only inspired by our mission to transform lives and inspire futures, but who also have the charisma, skill to perform on stage, and ability to raise funds for our cause.”
An easy-to-complete questionnaire is available below. The deadline for submission is approaching. For more information call (802) 257-0361, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Brown, an award-winning realtor with Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country, was voted Board Emeritus at Youth Services’ October board meeting on which Brown “served with distinction” for over two decades.
Only three other board members have received the board emeritus status in Youth Services’ 46-year history: attorney Jesse Corum IV and insurance executive Ben Underhill, both now deceased, and Larry Cassidy, one of its founders who continues to be a key advisor.
Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Executive Director, said he has relied on Brown’s intimate knowledge of the organization and Windham Country communities since he arrived at the nonprofit in 2015. “David has been extraordinarily devoted to the success of Youth Services. He stops by our offices regularly and is always available to lend a supportive ear or to connect us to people who might be helpful with a new project or a particular issue we are facing.”
Few have worn as many hats at Youth Services as Brown, according to Bradbury-Carlin. In addition to being a volunteer for 26 years and counting, Brown was a liaison to area businesses for the agency’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program and served as Interim Executive Director from 2011-2012.
Brown’s Youth Services affiliation started as a Court Diversion Board volunteer in 1992 and continues to this day, participating in monthly panels focused on repairing the harm caused by a community member. Diversion holds those who violated the law accountable in a manner that promotes responsibility to individuals, community and relationships and addresses underlying needs or issues that led to the offense.
“David is very much the diplomat on his panel,” attested Patrick Fleming, Youth Services’ Diversion Case Manager who describe Brown’s approach as one that is often able to defuse the individual’s reluctance to address an issue.
Marion Dowling, who is a Diversion panelist with Brown, said he knows how to share space with his fellow panelists. “David is truly the anchor of our panel. I have learned so much from his way of seeing the whole picture of the individual in front of him,” Dowling said. “He has a remarkable way putting the client at ease, using a lovely sense of humor which allows the person freedom to share in an open, trusting manner,” explained Dowling.
In addition to countless volunteer hours, Brown has also shared his creative side with Youth Services, donating his own pastel paintings to the organization’s annual gala and silent auction that he co-chairs, and by asking other local artists to contribute their artwork.
“David is amazing to work with,” stated Liz Richards, who co-chaired the Jazz Jubilee and the Denim & Diamond- themed galas with Brown for 15 successful years. “We had a lot of fun pulling off annual galas & silent auctions at the Grafton Inn that had Youth Services supporters coming back year after year,” Richard recalled.
Brown was the organization’s board president from 2004-2006. Allyson Villars, executive director at that time, recalls Brown’s kindness of spirit, and his unbiased concern for staff and board members, clients and volunteers and his modeling of all the values Youth Services promulgates with youth living in difficult circumstances.
“He was always my go-to-guy, my first phone call, my port in any storm, and both my last meeting of the day and my first meeting in early mornings. David was my guide, my mentor, my confidante — a great boss,” Villars explained. “When I think of the reasons for Youth Services’ success at that time, his ever-presence, wise counsel, and willingness to go above and beyond is always one of the things that comes to mind,” she recalled.
Supporting and mentoring new board members was a role Brown also relished, introducing each new board members to the staff and helping them find a way to use their expertise on a committee to benefit Youth Services. Rachel Selsky, the present board chair recalled Brown as her mentor during the Get on Board non-profit board management certificate program she was taking through Marlboro Graduate Center.
“David’s enthusiasm for Youth Services was infectious and I was truly impressed by his open heart and commitment to the organization. I am especially appreciate of all the wisdom and laughs we have shared. “We are grateful to be able to honor David’s efforts on behalf of the young people of Windham County, with the title of board emeritus. David’s dedication to Youth Services has set a high bar for the rest of us,” said Selsky.
Mentors for adolescents and young adults are currently sought. To get involved as a volunteer or to donate to Youth Services, visit youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361.
Suzie Wagner, the Regional Manager for the Vermont Department of Labor’s Career Resource Centers in Springfield and Brattleboro, recently joined 18 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors.
Through nineteen programs ranging from restorative justice, to outreach, mentoring, workforce development, transitional living and case management, the nonprofit agency helps Windham County young people and families thrive.
A certified Rehabilitation Counselor who specializes in career counseling for teens and young adults with disabilities, Wagner brings insights and background in workforce development efforts to the Youth Services board, according to Rachel Selsky, board president, who said they are fortunate to have the vast experience of Wagner when they are developing strategic plans for the future of the organization. “Suzie’s deep understanding of the employment challenges facing Windham County young adults will be a tremendous asset to the board,” Selsky predicted.
Wagner first became connected with the nonprofit through her work with VocRehab Vermont in 2007. Since that time, she has provided a strong partnership with the many programs at Youth Services adding a workforce development component to their collaborative work.
Suzie stated, “I have always been impressed with the level of support given to clients and the creative thinking that comes from the Youth Services’ team. I’m excited to contribute further to the organization’s mission and dive into a deeper level of commitment to the critical work at Youth Services.”
Wagner holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Assumption College and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic.
Suzie Wagner resides in Brattleboro with her husband Isaac and their children.
To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services workforce development or to refer a young person for services, visit wwwyouthservicesinc.org or call 802-257-0361.
In response to the opioid epidemic, Youth Services has added substance abuse treatment and counseling to its 19 other Windham County programs serving young people and families earlier this year, with appointments given at either its Bellows Falls or Brattleboro facility. Recognizing that substance use disorders can be chronic problems, with both common and unique challenges for each person, is key to the approach of Heather Smith, the agency’s new Director of Clinical Services.
“We focus on the belief that each individual is a person of worth and dignity and is capable of recovery,” Smith stated emphatically. “Realistic hope is central to our treatment philosophy. By increasing our client’s awareness of risks associated with substances we can support positive and sustainable change in their lives,” she explained.
Smith described some of the young people who come through Youth Services’ doors as knowing what it’s like to live in a family where a parent struggles with addiction. Or they know the peer pressure of friends experimenting with alcohol or prescription pills who ask them to join in. In other scenarios she’s seen in her career, individuals may be struggling with anxiety or depression and turn to various substances to self-medicate instead of seeking counseling and support. These individual are then at risk of development a substance use disorder in addition to the original anxiety or depression, she explained. “Regardless of where someone is on their journey, we can met them where they are and work with them to achieve their goals,” Smith said.
Nearly half of all Youth Services clients—whether they are in Youth Services’ court diversion, our shelter housing, or receiving services as they age out of the foster care system — have substance abuse issues to varying degrees, according to agency intake data. Most of the individuals Smith sees are referred internally by Youth Services case managers but that is expanding now to include referrals from community partners, such as West River Valley Thrives and Turning Point, Smith said, reflecting the shortage of out-patient substance abuse treatment options in the region.
Engaging youth out in the community rather than depending on them finding Smith, is also part of the programs’ strategy, according to Youth Services’ Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin.
He described Heather Smith’s hiring, made possible by a combination of grant funding and donations from concerned community members, as allowing Youth Services to provide consultation and clinical services designed to decrease hazardous use, promote abstinence, assist in recovery and problem resolution, improve functioning and help the young people they serve develop a healthier lifestyle overall.
“I can’t tell you how fortunate we are to attract such a skilled counselor with experience not only with the runaway and transitional youth populations we work but also with youth in the foster care and justice system!” Bradbury-Carlin stated. “Heather’s five years working in Corrections also gives her many insights she employs in her substance abuse treatment and counseling,” he noted.
In the AIR program (Assessment, Intervention, Recovery), one of the clinical programs offered, Smith works with clients who present a variety of struggles including: alcohol and other drug use, misuse, abuse, dependency, recovery, relapse or family/relationship/peer concerns. Other clients seeking services not related to substance use, misuse or abuse are seen as well.
Heather Smith is a licensed clinical mental health counselor with 10 years of experience working with young people in various settings including residential care, rehabilitation, corrections and college and community care. Most recently she was employed four years as a Behavioral Health Specialist for The Community Health Team. She also spent two years working as part of the HCRS Crisis Team. Prior to that Smith was a Substance Abuse Therapist for students at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. Her Masters in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in Substance Abuse is from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH.
To make a donation to Youth Services to stop the epidemic or for more information on substance abuse treatment and counseling, call Heather Smith (802) 257-0361.