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.
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→
Human rights in Brattleboro got a special nod on Sunday, Dec. 10, thanks to a Youth Services staff member, Justin Bibee.
“I figured if there ever was a time for serious reflection in our state and community, it’s now,” Justin Bibee, formerly a student at SIT Graduate Institute who brought the proposal to recognize Human Rights Day to the Select Board, told the Reformer.
The Select Board received applause after members voted unanimously to approve the proclamation, which recognizes Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day. That day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Bibee is finishing up his master’s degree in peace building and conflict transformation, with plans to graduate in May. He is currently working as a case manager for homeless youth and youth at risk for homelessness at Youth Services. He grew up in Rhode Island but hopes to continue living in Windham County and work at Youth Services once he completes school.
The political divisiveness in the United States right now and his job inspired him to bring the proclamation to the board.
“Every day I feel I’m on the front line fighting for my clients’ right to food, right to health, their human rights,” he told the Reformer. “I’m just fighting for an adequate standard of living, right to non-discrimination. It kills me. The people I work with every day, they have anxiety and pessimism. And that usually prevails over optimism.”
Bibee hopes the recognition of Human Rights Day locally will inspire activities and greater awareness around related issues through events and advocacy. The proclamation encourages citizens in town to take part in these things and “to strive to actualize a greater awareness of the importance of human rights.” It also mentions the United Nations Association of Vermont, which is a new chapter Bibee just started after a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
Bibee had spent time in Tanzanian refugee camps from January to June before taking the job at Youth Services. His goal there was to connect refugees to formal financial institutions in their country.
This story by Chris Mays appeared Dec. 7, 2017 in the Brattleboro Reformer. Reach staff writer Chris Mays at email@example.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter
and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
Rick Holloway, the Facilities and Equipment Manager of Chroma Technology since 2001, recently joined 18 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors. Through nineteen programs ranging from restorative justice, to outreach, mentoring, transitional living and case management, the nonprofit agency helps Windham County young people and families thrive.
A self-described “high school drop-out with a GED and 20 years of addiction recovery,” Holloway brings a unique and varied point of view to the Youth Services board, according to Rachel Selsky, board president, who said they are fortunate to have this youth advocate share his insights when they are developing strategic plans for the future of the organization. “Rick’s deep understanding of the problems facing Windham County young people and families will be a tremendous asset to the board,” Selsky predicted.
Holloway first became connected with the nonprofit by giving tours at Chroma to Youth Services’ participants in its workforce development programs. These initiatives seek to expose adolescents to potential employers and careers in the community.
Holloway also mentored individual Youth Services’ clients in an entry level position at Chroma dedicated to exposing local youth to job skills over a six-month period. According to Holloway, it was the first job for many of them, providing the skills and a track record which led many to other employment.
“Given my background and the changes I’ve made in my own life, I want to give back by helping youth find a way past the trials I faced,” explained Holloway.
In addition to the Youth Services Board, Holloway currently serves on the Rockingham School Board and the WNESU Board. In the past Rick was involved with Youth Services as part of the Bellows Falls Advisory Board to Youth Services. He also had served on the Rockingham Conservation Commission, The Saxtons River Recreation Area and the Saxtons River Fire Station Building Committee.
Rick Holloway resides in Saxtons River with his wife Karin and son Ezra.
To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services or to refer a youth for assistance, visit wwwyouthservicesinc.org or call 802-257-0361.
He was the numbers guy for Youth Services. Board President Rachel Selsky recalls Rick’s ability to break down even the most complicated budget for the rest of the board. For 17 years Rick Hashagen, a retired bank president kept a constant eye on Youth Services’ financial stability.
President of Youth Services board from 2006-2008, Rick chaired the finance committee and was Youth Services’ treasurer for much of his term. Rick was an Executive Committee member for close to a decade and joined the governance committee in the last several. Bobbi Kilburn, BDCC’s Director of Finance & Grant Management, is taking on the role of Treasurer for Youth Services.
“Rick’s ability to simplify Youth Services’ finances and investments will certainly be missed,” testified Selsky. “His experience and input has been invaluable and his impact on Youth Services will be felt long after he is gone,” she said.
Rick was well-loved by golfers for his role running the putting contest at Youth Services’ Annual Golf Tournament at the Brattleboro Country Club ever since the BCC got 18 holes and the tournament was moved there. In recent years, he would orchestrate the contest in tandem with his grandson.
Rick says he has thoroughly enjoy his years on the Youth Services board of directors. “It has been a rewarding experience working with excellent board members and competent and committed staff to implement our vision of improving the lives of area young people and their families.” I will miss it, but leave knowing that Youth Services is in good hands,” Hashagen said.
Do you know the type? Quiet, unassuming, competent and through?
For going on 30 years now Administrative Services Director Gail Bourque has shied away from the limelight, quick to let the credit land elsewhere. Yet she is essentially the “glue” of the organization, the “historian” who directors depend on to tell directors what has been tried before, the one who puts our latest organizational challenge in perspective for staff.
Gail says she likes the variety of what she does: finance, grant management and reporting. Attending to details and the accountability are what keep her engaged. And working closely with our committed and dedicated staff and Board of Directors.
She is clearly a true believer in Youth Services’ mission to transform lives and inspire futures. And contributes also as a generous donor of her free time and treasure.
To find out how you might support Youth Services’ efforts visit www.youthservicesinc.org
In the interest of serving more children in Vermont with mentors, Youth Services transitioned its successful Big Brothers Big Sisters program into a statewide organization in the summer of 2017.
“Presently there are 70 community and school-based Big Brothers Big Sisters matches in Windham County with more than triple the number anticipated being served statewide by the new structure,” explained Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Youth Services’ Executive Director.
“In this move to serve more Vermont young people living in difficult circumstances we are making every effort to ensure that quality mentoring services continue to be delivered in Windham County,” said Bradbury-Carlin, who described a year-long process they have undergone, with milestones, guided by a transition committee made up of Youth Services board members and BBBS Advisory Board members.
The new entity serving the Green Mountain state has been named Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont and Youth Services’ current Director of Mentoring, Kimberley Diemond, is now its Executive Director. Bradbury-Carlin stated, “I have every faith that Kimberley will be a great leader and I have full confidence that the transition will be seamless for the Bigs, Littles and the many community organizations that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County partners with.”
Bradbury-Carlin said that mentoring is an essential part of all Youth Services programs, from its transitional living program to court diversion. Staff or volunteers often work one-on-one with young people living under difficult circumstances, or in small groups. He expects his organization to maintain a close working relationship with the new entity, especially in regard to its Windham County matches.
“One of the strengths of Youth Services has always been the wide range of prevention, intervention and development programs we bring to the families and young people we serve. We expect to continue to refer at-risk children who could benefit from a mentor to apply to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont as well as continuing to innovate with our proprietary programs,” Bradbury-Carlin stated.
Part of a national organization, there are over 350 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country, approximately 50 of which that operated with the assistance of a sponsoring agency, which best describes the mentoring program’s long and successful relationship with Youth Services. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County was one of the first programs that Youth Services launched after it was founded in 1972 as a community nonprofit. Over its more than 40 year history together, there have been close to 2000 matches made, some lasting a few years and others a lifetime.
National research demonstrates that “mentoring”—pairing a caring adult volunteer with a young person for a mutually rewarding friendship—is an effective method of addressing all sorts of youth-related issues, from combating drug and alcohol use and violence to getting along better with their families and peers. Youth mentored by the program are 46% less likely to use drugs and 27% less likely to use alcohol than their non-mentored peers.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont offers four flexible options for volunteers who want to mentor a child between the ages of 6 and 18. The school-based program offers volunteers the opportunity to visit with a child during their lunch and recess period once a week. Bigs in Blue is a school-based program that pairs elementary students with local police officers. The community-based program, in contrast, allows volunteers to meet with a child during their own time and play sports, take a walk or just hang out for at least 4 hours a month. The Site-based plus program combines the structure of meeting regularly at school with the option of spending time in the community on weekends and during school vacations.