Category Archives: Program Event

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.

 

 

 

Make a resolution for 2019: Become a Youth Services volunteer. Learn about it Jan. 7 from 6-9 pm

Youth Services is offering a Volunteer Training on Monday, January 7 from 6-9 p.m. 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.

Restorative Justice, Restorative Communities discussed at Putney Library event

Learn more about Restorative Justice and its place in our local justice system on Wednesday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Putney Library with a presentation by members of Youth Services and the Brattleboro Community Justice Center.

Restorative Justice is an approach to harm that focuses not on broken rules or laws but on how people are affected by wrongdoing and how to repair harm that was caused. People across the United States and the world use restorative justice to respond to conflicts in schools, community groups, neighborhoods, families, workplaces, and more. And restorative justice is happening right here in our communities, with youth and adults, in schools and in the legal system.

Rosie Nevins-Alderfer, Youth Services’ director of Restorative Justice programs (on right) explains Youth Services’ approach to a BUHS student (on left)

Rosie Nevins-Alderfer, director of Restorative Justice programs at Youth Services and Mel Motel, director of the Brattleboro Community Justice Center will be leading a conversation about what Restorative Justice is, why it matters, and what it looks like in our local area today.

Rosie Nevins-Alderfer joined Youth Services as the director of Restorative Justice Programs in 2015, after graduating from Northeastern University School of Law. At Youth Services her work encompasses court diversion, support for access to substance abuse and mental health treatment, victim advocacy, social and economic justice. The programs serve a variety of ages, and receive roughly 400 referrals per year from Windham County.

Mel Motel joined the Brattleboro Community Justice Center as director in August 2017. Prior to that she was founder and director of the Just Schools Project, where she worked with hundreds of youth and adults throughout New England to bring restorative practices to K-12 schools.

Putney Public Library is located at 55 Main St. This event is free and open to the public.

Raspberry Jam & Moxie Both Take First Prize at Battle of the Bands

Two teen alternative-rock bands Raspberry Jam and Moxie shared the winner circle, taking first prize in Youth Services’ Battle of the Bands Friday evening November 3 during Brattleboro’s Gallery Walk Night, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred fans.  Sponsored by Pacesetter Sponsors Richards Group, Brattleboro Subaru and G.S. Precision, it was a fierce competition between five talented area bands that were judged on crowd appeal, musical technicality, stage performance and originality.

Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Jam, from Massachusetts brings a new spin to alternative music with their “very catchy arrangements,” according to the judges. The Pioneer Valley area band “demonstrated a rockin’ stage presence and are wicked fun to listen to,” stated another. Mac Almeida, 18 was on guitar, Aloutte Battreau, 16 on vocals, Joshua Xavier Gibson, 17 on bass and Milou Rigollaud, 18 on drums.

Moxie

Moxie describe themselves as like opening a non-stop, effervescent fountain of all-original, bubbly, super-danceable, 80s-esque indie rock.  Judges confirmed, “no doubt a crowd pleaser,” and another judge noted, “Super strong stage presence: everyone immediately moved forward to listen.” Rei Kimura, 14 was on guitar and vocals; David Cohen on bass; Leander Holzapfel, 16 on guitar; and David Snyder, 15 on drums.

Outer Space

First prize is a full day (up to 10 hours) of professional recording time donated by Guilford Sound, valued at $1500. In addition, donated by Pure Green Tees, the 1st place winners will also receive a dozen custom-designed T-shirts of their band logo. Other prizes included a two-hour rehearsal and banch coaching session at Headroom Stages and vocal coaching with Judge Samirah Evans.

The Band Notion from the Manchester area came in third, followed by Outer Space from Brattleboro and Fiig, from Westminster.

3 out of the 5 judges

Judging the Battle were musicians Eugene Uman, Samirah Evans, Spencer Crispe and two youth judges from winning 2015 band, Nomad vs. Settler, Archer Parker and Owen James.

Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Director of Youth Services said they were proud to have produced such a successful event. “The bands were all amazing and the crows of young people and adults provided the perfect amount of encouragement and energy. The Battle of the Bands was truly a celebration of youth and of great music,” Bradbury-Carlin said.

For more information on services for young people in Windham County, contact Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or visit wwwyouthservicesinc.org

Youth Services celebrates new Bellows Falls location

Bellows Falls, Vermont — Youth Services has opened a new office at 22 Bridge St. to better serve the young people and families of the Greater Bellows Falls region. An Open House was held  in June with a ribbon cutting ceremony and local dignitaries and elected officials. Youth Services is a 45-year-old nonprofit organization with 19 programs serving Windham County and surrounding New Hampshire communities.

Last year over 200 young people from Athens, Grafton Saxtons River, Westminster, and the Bellows Falls areas received services from Youth Services, including 10 young people who spent 4-6 months in its Transitional Living program housing for homeless or unsafely housed youth while they gained employment and other independent living skills.

Youth Services has operated a satellite office in Bellows Falls for 20 years, previously at Parks Place on School Street, with at times up to four full-time staff. Before then, Brattleboro-based staff provided all the services for area youth, including full-time student assistance counselors at Bellows Falls Union High and Middle schools with an emphasis on substance abuse prevention.

Out of the new office, Bellows Falls-based staff members Michelle Sacco and Janice Berube continue to offer case management for ages 16-22, job skills training and transitional living skills for area young people living under difficult circumstances.  JUMP (Just Us Moms Program) and the Diaper Bank Collaborative serves young parents. This year alone, Sacco and Berube trained 106 high school students in healthy relationships and STD and Pregnancy prevention using the evidence-based Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) curriculum.

Youth Services Court Diversion board will continue holding panels in Bellows Falls as needed as will its Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) program serving youth ages 13-22. These are young people who have been adjudicated in Family Court, are on probation, are at risk of a truancy filing, have Youthful Offender Status, or require additional support.

Youth Services’ RAMP mentoring program at Bellows Falls Union High School is holding its last meetings for the year and they are laying the groundwork to recruit new participants, mentors and site visit locations for when school starts next September.

“We are pleased to have a sustained presence in the greater Bellows Falls area and enjoy close partnerships with the area’s nonprofits, social services and schools,” stated Russell Bradbury Carlin, Youth Services Executive Director. The office on Bridge Street gives us higher visibility in the community and we hope many more young people and families seeking assistance walk through our doors as a result.”

There are many ways community members can get involved in Youth Services Bellows Falls operation, according to Bradbury-Carlin. “We are seeking Host Homes to provide emergency shelter for homeless and runaway youth, need volunteers to share their time, skills and life experiences with young mothers in  our JUMP: Just Us Moms Program and welcome donations of diapers and wipes to the Diaper Bank Collaborative,” he said.

Bradbury-Carlin explained that Youth Services is always looking to collaborate with area businesses on training its clients in job skills while its RAMP mentoring program at BFUHS is seeking area professionals to share their career trajectories with the high school participants.

For more information about Youth Services in the Greater Falls Region, contact (802) 460-0398 or email michelle.sacco@youthservicesinc.org

Youth Services tackles truancy in Windham County schools

Jocelyn York, BARJ Coordinator at Youth Services

Brattleboro—Youth Services has officially hired Jocelyn York as its Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) Coordinator for the organization, a position she has fulfilled on a temporary basis since last year.  In this program, Youth Services works with youth ages 13 through 22 who have been adjudicated in Family Court, are on probation, are at risk of a truancy filing, have Youthful Offender Status, or require additional support.

According to Youth Services’ Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin, the agency’s BARJ program recognizes that many young people entering the criminal justice system have underlying factors that might lead to the criminal misconduct.

“Early intervention is key to addressing the reasons that kids aren’t showing up for school or have started to get in trouble with the law.  With early intervention we can reduce the likelihood of future involvement in the justice system.  Sometimes, by offering individual or group coaching in conflict resolution, anger management, and other skills, we can help the young person and their parents turn around the situation,” Bradbury-Carlin explained.

York is an integral part of the School Success Program, a collaboration between Youth Services and Windham Southeast Supervisory Union. The program focuses on truancy intervention for students age 13-18. The program works primarily one-on-one with students, but also includes work with families and other involved community providers.

“Jocelyn works from a different stance that the traditional “Truancy Officer”, Bradbury-Carlin stressed, “acting instead as a supportive helper with a positive, proactive and less punitive approach that builds the necessary skills and understanding needed for student and families to make a long-term commitment to education. She looks at all areas of a student and family’s life that contribute to or can help solve the problem.”

York’s supportive case management focuses on reducing stresses at home that might be related to money or work problems, housing issues, health needs, and/or transportation. She works to identify and develop the skills and interests of the young person.

York explains, “We link youth and their families with other community providers that can meet their needs. By getting my clients involved with other established community supports and activities outside of the school, I can help them reduce their life stressors and focus more clearly on what they need to do to get through school. When necessary, I also may help a student switch to another school or academic program that may better fit their needs than the traditional K-12 system.”

According to Bradbury-Carlin, the outcomes of this collaboration are increased school attendance, improved relationships in family and school, improved life satisfaction and self-esteem, increased parent involvement, and improved access and use of resources.

Before joining Youth Services, York had been a mental health worker on the Brattleboro Retreat’s Adolescent Inpatient Unit, a behavioral interventionist in Barre, Vermont for Washington County Mental Health’s early childhood autism program, and a pre-school teacher in Windsor County. York has bachelor’s degrees in Women’s Studies and Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University in California.

To find out more about Youth Services Restorative Justice programs, call Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or visit www.youthservicesinc.org

Youth Services’ Summer Camp Fair set for April 6, Gallery Walk Night

Youth Services will host their Annual Summer Camp Fair on Friday, April 6, on Gallery Walk Night from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the River Garden in downtown Brattleboro, VT.

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 while being entertained. 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 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: Big Brothers Big Sisters; Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center; Brattleboro Outing Club/Tennis; Brattleboro Community Television; Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Dept; Creating with Clay; Farm Camp!; The Grammar School Summer Camp; Green Mountain Camp for Girls; Kroka Expeditions; Magical Earths Retreat; Meeting Waters YMCA; Neighborhood Schoolhouse; New England Youth Theatre; Summer Food Program; Vermont Wilderness School; Windham County Career Center STEM Summer Camp, and more!

Copies of Youth Services’ Summer Resources Calendar with information on these programs and many others will be available in the March 31 Reformer and at the fair and you can download it here.  You can also pick up a calendar at area locations, including Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, Brooks Memorial Library, and Youth Services after March 31. Jobs for older youth, primarily at camps can be downloaded here.

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.

 

VT Diaper Bank was launched in 2016 in Bellows Falls

Bellows Falls, VT—Parks Place and Youth Services are collaborating to launch, “Time for a Change”, Vermont’s first diaper bank to meet the needs of families with young children in Windham County who cannot afford diapers.

Various locations throughout the greater Bellows Falls area will have bins starting in November to collect donated diapers and wipes: committed so far are Lisais Market in Bellows Falls, Family Dollar and Discount Foods Warehouse in Walpole and The Rockingham Library. More bin locations throughout Windham County are sought and community groups such as churches and clubs are encouraged to help raise funds or diaper donations.

As part of the bank’s inauguration on November 10, there was what is being coined a  “Diaper Dump” collection at Dairy Joy in Bellows Falls. Organizers hoped to fill an entire dump truck with diaper and wipes donations to launch the diaper bank.

According to national estimates, a typical infant will require an average of 50-60 diaper changes a week. That is approximately 2,600 diapers a year at an annual cost to their family of close to $1000.

A recent Feeding America study found that 32 percent of low-income families surveyed reported reusing disposable diapers, while 48 percent reported delaying changing a diaper to make their supply last longer. Studies show that babies experience increased health issues such as diaper rashes and urinary tract infections from limited diaper changes.

Michelle Sacco, Youth Services’ Greater Falls Transitional Living Program manager, cited the many young mothers she works with as often having to choose between diapers and other basic necessities like electricity, food or heat because they can’t afford all three.  “

Youth Services and Parks Place are spearheading this initiative with community partners, United Way of Windham County, WNESU, Building Bright Futures, Our Place Drop In, SEVCA and others playing important collaborative roles, explained Sacco. The diaper bank will be housed at Parks Place with Youth Services’ Just Us Moms Program (JUMP) helping to distribute the donated items.

For more information, contact parksplacevt.org or info@youthservicesinc.org.

BrattRock Youth Rock Festival a huge success: plans underway for next year

Fourteen area youth rock bands and solo artists took the stage at 118 Elliot in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont on Saturday, October 1 for the first ever Brattleboro Youth Rock Festival (BrattRock 2016). Performances took place on two stages, one indoor and one outdoor, between 5:00 and 10:00 PM. Gates opened at 4:30 PM. Advance tickets were available online via the BrattRock website at www.brattrock.org. Prices were $8 adults/$6 students in advance and $10 adults /$8 students at the door. Proceeds from the event will benefit Youth Services. The public was invited to attend this family-friendly event.

The goal of BrattRock is to provide a venue for youth musicians from Brattleboro and the surrounding region to connect, learn, perform, inspire, and be inspired. Participation is open to solo performers or bands with all members under 20 years of age. Registration will begin again next spring with performers submitting online applications and sample performance videos.

BrattRock’s organizing committee was proud to present the final performer line-up for BrattRock 2016: From Brattleboro and surrounding towns: Impending Exorcism, The Faints, Negative Space Nomad vs.Settler, Oak Grove Blues Band, and Sophie Waters. From Western Massachusetts: Cape Fournier, Cosmic Duct Tape, Felixis Jinx, Kalliope Jones, Raspberry Jam, and Rool Bunk. From Hinsdale, New Hampshire: Zebulon Hildreth. A full bio of each band is available on the BrattRock web page and Facebook page.

In addition to musical performances, the festival featured hands-on music workshops for participating youth musicians, which were offered by area music professionals and educators Wyatt Andrews, Aaron Chesley, Samirah Evans, Matt Hall, June Millington, Kevin Parry, Dan Seiden, and Peter Siegel.

Planning for BrattRock was  underway for the past year. The idea for the event was born after last year’s Youth Services Battle of the Bands in Brattleboro when some parents of participating musicians proposed a similar youth-oriented event minus the competition aspect. Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin approved the plan for Youth Services to act as BrattRock’s fiscal sponsor, allowing festival organizers to raise funds under Youth Services’ non-profit status.

To date, BrattRock has received grant funding from the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Community Foundation, and sponsors include Guilford Sound, Youth Services, the Brattleboro Music Center, WKVT, C&S Wholesale Grocers, 118 Elliot, Oak Meadow, Hilltop Montessori, the Brattleboro Retreat, and Rouleau-Holley’s Tae Kwon Do.

Co-founder and organizer Jaimie Scanlon said of the event, “We so everyone who came out on October 1 to honor and celebrate the many talented kids that gathered in Brattleboro, as well as to support all the great things that Youth Services does. The bands are all amazing and the kids were all so pumped to perform. The level of entertainment was extreme.”

Restorative Justice Programs Have New Leadership

Rosie of Restorative Justice compressed

Youth Services’ newest employee is Rosalie Nevins-Alderfer,  hired this fall as Director for its Restorative Justice programs which include Court Diversion, Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program, Driver’s License Suspension, Pre-Trial Services, Supervised Visitation, and Child Victim Advocacy Services.

Nevins-Alderfer supervises the staff of these six programs at Youth Services as well as ensures program quality and represents the organization in meetings with state agencies.  Working with staff and the Youth Services board, she is helping develop funding sources to maintain these programs which are core to the organization’s mission.

Joining Youth Services with previous legal and mental health background, Nevins-Alderfer also has experience in project management and social justice. “My interest in youth and community advocacy and particularly restorative justice, stems from my experience working with court-involved young people in both clinical and legal settings,” she explained. Continue reading Restorative Justice Programs Have New Leadership