Monthly Archives: February 2016

Cathy Coonan and Pauline Deen join Youth Services Board


Cathy Coonan and Pauline Deen, both of Brattleboro recently joined 15 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors. Through 10 programs ranging from Court Diversion to mentoring, the nonprofit agency helps Windham County young people and families thrive.

Coonan has served before in similar capacities in the region, on the board of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (3 years as board chair) and as a founding member of Building a Better Brattleboro. She is active in the Brattleboro Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors of Holton Home. Pauline Dean is presently on the board of BCTV and on numerous committee within The Brattleboro Retreat.

A commercial insurance agent for The Richards Group for the past 30 years, Coonan is a Certified Insurance Councilor specializing in health care and human service organizations. Coonan’s many contributions to the community were recognized by the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce when they named her 2004 Person of the Year.

“Cathy’s organizational skills and her deep community roots, having spent her entire life as a resident of Windham County, will be a tremendous asset to the Youth Services board,” said Tom Nunziata, Youth Services’ board president. “As the newest member of Youth Services’ golf tournament committee, Cathy also brings valued expertise from running the Brattleboro Rotary Club’s successful tournament for many years,” he said.

Pauline Deen has 16-years of experience as an educator, five of which have been working with young people at the Meadows Educational Center, a therapeutic alternative school located within the Brattleboro Retreat where she is a case manager and intensive special education elementary teacher.

“Pauline’s familiarity with working with children and families in crisis, gives her insight into the mission of this agency which adds an important dimension to our board,” said Nunziata. “We look forward to tapping her expertise and experience in working on the front lines of helping youth,” he said.

To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services or to refer a youth for assistance, visit or call 802-257-0361.

New Case Manager Hired for Youth Services Bellows Falls Office


Jennifer Tolaro-Heidbrink
Jennifer Tolaro-Heidbrink


Jennifer Tolaro-Heidbrink is the new therapeutic case manager at Youth Services on the team which provides wrap services for youth ages 16-22 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  Tolaro-Heidbrink sees clients out of Youth Services’ Bellows Falls office at Parks Place.

Youth Services works with youth up until the age of 22 as they engage in the transition to independence and self-sufficiency. Using an intensive, therapeutic case-management model, this program focuses on building awareness and life skills in core areas of housing, education, employment, and health.

“Jennifer balances her work with 6-8 clients while managing the Bellows Falls Youth Shelter. She uses a wide range of skills to support the young people with job searches and work readiness, budgeting and money management, how to find and keep an apartment, exploring educational options, while employing sound clinical judgement and skills,” explained Lauren Higbee, Youth Development Director.

Tolaro-Heidbrink has a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University New England and is licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor by the State of Vermont.  She completed her counseling internship during her master’s program at Youth Services so is familiar with the staff and clientele that the agency serves, stated Higbee.

During the past three years Tolaro-Heidbrink was employed as a clinical case manager at The Gateway Program in Springfield, VT where she provided case management, individual skill-based counseling, interventions and crisis management and for students aged five through 18.  Previous to that she was a school-based clinician for Health Care and Rehabilitation Services.

“We see the amazing resiliency of our youth on a daily basis even when faced with uncertainty,” Higbee stated, noting that this special population faces many challenges; from difficulty finding and maintain housing to accessing appropriate local and state resources within two systems of children and adult services. “We continue to expect our case managers’ work load to increase as we see the complexity of each client’s needs expand,” Higbee explained.

For more information about Youth Services therapeutic case management program in the greater Bellows Falls area, please contact Youth Services’ Lauren Higbee at (802) 257-0361 x129 or visit on-line.