Are you interested in joining the 2020 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? third annual gala, 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 25, at the Hilltop Montessori campus 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. 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: email@example.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com or call (802) 257-0361 x138. For screen printing estimates, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-275-7871.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Youth Services recently appointed Emilie Kornheiser to the position of Director of Workforce Development. In this new role Kornheiser will oversee and expand existing programs for clients and community partners. She will begin this summer by launching a youth-led screen printing business that will incorporate mentoring and a work-skills training program.
“All Youth Services workforce initiatives are based in a mentoring model,” explained Kornheiser. “We partner employers, entrepreneurs and artists with young people to build trust first and skills second,” she stated. “This essential first step of supported connection will simplify the challenges of navigating complex class, trauma, and educational issues in our employment services,” Kornheiser predicted.
Emilie brings her experience starting a Brattleboro business, the Weathervane Gallery and Performing Arts Café, brokering international public private partnerships, and her background with disenfranchised young people to this position, supporting connection and commitment between communities and youth, explained Russell Bradbury-Carlin, executive director of Youth Services. He was also impressed with Kornheiser’s state-wide successes in poverty prevention roles with Building Bright Futures and Promise Communities as well as her employment history in Brattleboro as a Reach Up case manager with Early Education Services, where she supported employment for parents of young children receiving state assistance.
“Emilie’s past roles requiring deep cross-class dialogue, motivational interviewing, strengths based/appreciative inquiry frameworks and an ability to continually translate between system and individuals, individuals and system, much as she will need to do in this position with Youth Services,” Bradbury-Carlin stated. “Already in her first weeks on the job she has done an excellent job reaching out across organizational boundaries to build collaborations and create a network of services for our clients that also meet the needs of Windham County communities,” he said.
Workforce Development at Youth Services in the coming months is expected to offer a spectrum of employment services with a low barrier to entry and serve young people from ages 12 to 24 in stipended and paid roles, according to Kornheiser. She explained that individuals will find support with short-term as well as long-term work, employment training, internships, and develop closer ties with their community.
Kornheiser was a graduate last year from the Vermont Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center for Government and attended the University of Vermont for a Master’s program in Community Development and Applied Economics. She is a candidate to represent Brattleboro District 1 in the Vermont House of Representatives. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and Developmental Psychology from Marlboro College.
For more information about Workforce Development at Youth Services, call (802) 257-0361 or visit youthservicesinc.org
Youth Services’ staff member Sarah Ballou, attended a conference on International Restorative Justice, “Global Unity and Healing: Building Communities with a Restorative Approach, held at the University of Vermont at the end of June. Organized by Vermont Law School, the conference brought together researchers, policy-makers and practitioner, like Ballou to share the difference a restorative approach makes and consider its potential to reveal and address the complex and relational nature of some of our greatest problems and challenges: environmental justice, addressing harm and conflict and building safe, healthy and inclusive communities.
Ben Underhill, owner of Putnam Insurance of Brattleboro, was voted Board Emeritus by Youth Services’ board of directors at the June board meeting on which Underhill “served with distinction” for over three decades. Two other board members have received the board emeritus status in Youth Services’ 46-year history: the late attorney Jesse Corum IV and Larry Cassidy, who continues to be a key advisor. Continue reading Ben Underhill voted board emeritus at Youth Services→