Category Archives: Program Event

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

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

Battle of the Bands

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Youth Bands Set to Battle at River Garden on Friday, Nov. 6

Youth bands from every corner of Windham County and surrounding areas are set to compete for top prizes at the Battle of the Bands held Friday, at the River Garden, during Gallery Walk night on November 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission to this substance free event is only $4 which includes refreshments and door prizes.

According to organizers, competition is expected to be fierce, with top area youth bands (at least one member under age 21) playing their best in their effort to win a prize that could greatly aid their musical careers. First prize is up to 10 hours of professional recording time donated by Guilford Sound, a $1,500 value.

This event is organized by Youth Services, a community-based, non-profit organization celebrating 40+ years serving Windham County area residents. Sponsoring the event are Hazel Restaurant, Supreme Fitness and the Whetstone Station. Battle of the Band tickets only sold at the door for $4 and cover includes refreshments and door prizes. For more information on this opportunity to compete, call Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or email info@youthservicesinc.org

Brattle of the Band Sign Up

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