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Mack Mackin hired for Youth Services’ New Intake and Groups Coordinator role

Youth Services is pleased to announce that Mack Mackin has joined the Youth Development team as the new Youth and Young Adult Intake and Groups Coordinator. Youth Services’ Youth Development programs provide wrap services for youth and families in Windham County, with a focus on safe, successful transitions to adulthood. 

Mackin will be working out of both Youth Services’ Brattleboro and Bellows Falls offices where they will spend their time conducting intake screenings, providing brief and stabilization services for youth and families, and coordinating groups–including professional development and support groups for Youth Services’ host home program. 

Designed to ensure a coordinated entry into Youth Services, Mackin’s position supports youth and families seeking services by linking them to basic needs resources such as food, transportation, medical care, therapeutic supports, and emergency or respite housing. 

“Mack’s role as the intake coordinator allows us to be intentional about how we support youth and families while making sure that we are not ignoring the often crisis or near-crisis level resource needs that bring them in to seek services,” explained Christine Linn, Director of Youth Development programs.

According to Linn, youth development programs are driven by the core belief that youth and families fare best when they stay together until the youth is ready to intentionally transition to independent living. 

Using a relationship-based, therapeutic case management model, coordinator and case managers collaborate with youth and families to understand family conflict and increase communication skills using non-violent communication, access resources, navigate education, child welfare, or other state systems, and connect to their community in meaningful ways.

Youth Services staff use an intensive, therapeutic case-management model to focus on building awareness and life skills in core areas of housing, education, employment, increasing permanent connections, health and well-being. 

Linn sees Mackin’s role as key in the department. “We’ve designed Mack’s role to screen for eligibility and need while assuring that youth and families’ basic and acute needs are addressed. This gives us the time, as a department, to assure that youth are connected to services that are right for them,” explained Linn. “By enhancing our groups offerings, we’re also able to connect youth and families who are waiting for case management openings to groups that foster resilience and keep them connected to the department.”

“Mack is a great fit for this role,” said Linn. They are deeply invested in solving youth homelessness and clearly place youth and family voice in the center of service provision and care deeply about assuring that people seeking services get their needs met in a way that is individualized.”  

Mackin is no stranger to working with young people. Prior to joining Youth Services, Mackin was the Kids Club Program Coordinator at the Brattleboro Boys and Girls Club where they connected with pre-teens and teens in its after-school program, developed programs and activities related to both services and professional development for staff. Mackin created a podcast that focused on harm reduction and mentoring. Mackin has served as a volunteer board member of Westgate Housing since 2019.

“Mack is a wonderful addition to the Youth Development team and our community,” Linn exclaimed.  Mackin has a Master’s of Science in Management with a focus on mission-driven organizations from Marlboro Graduate School and an undergraduate degree from Marlboro College, a cross-study between psychology, sociology and radio journalism. 

For more information about Youth Services therapeutic case management program or volunteering as a temporary host home in Windham County, please contact Christine Linn at christine.linn@youthservicesinc.org or visit www.youthservicesinc.org online.

Youth Services’ Pilot of Day-labor Program in Brattleboro Deemed a Success

Work Today, a new program of Youth Services, concluded its 3-month pilot period in November and the organization’s executive director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin, said they plan to restart it in the spring, with a few new funders and venues needing temporary labor in the region. Serving as a new sort of temp agency, Work Today’s pilot program connected 10 individuals with daily work in Brattleboro.  

Betty Bashaw, Work Today participants paints interior walls in Brattleboro Municipal Center

The town provided initial funding and jobs through the end of October but after a winter hiatus, other employers needing temporary labor are sought if the program is to resume operations, according to Bradbury-Carlin.

 “Typically we had more than 20 people in line seeking day work and had to turn away half of them away as we only had funding for 10,” said Emilie Kornheiser, Youth Services’ Director of Workforce Development, describing the popularity of the low-barrier work program among individuals who, for a variety of reasons, are not able or interested in working a 40-hour week.

The goal in creating the day labor program, Kornheiser said, was to meet people’s needs with dignity while staying in compliance with laws and labor rights. That involved looking at issues around worker’s compensation, identification and payment.

“Many prospective workers lined up in our parking lot before dawn, to increase their odds of being chosen for the work available that day,” she recalled. “It was striking to see the extent that people would go to earn a day’s wages. I was impressed by the pride individuals took in completing their projects well,” said Kornheiser. “When people were ready and able to work, they were able to make a few dollars, and when they were not, they were able to come back the next day or the next week.”

Work Today participant Joseph Hedberg often started his trek at 2 a.m. from the motel where he stays in North Brattleboro, in order to increase the likelihood of garnering one of the limited positions, despite having several broken toes which makes walking painful. 

“I feel better about myself if I’m working, if I can buy myself a cup of coffee instead of relying on hand-outs,” Hedberg explained. Formerly a licensed plumber and maintenance person, he tackles some of the more complicated jobs at Work Today with obvious skill, taking pride in doing a job right.

Hedberg stated the days go quicker if he stays busy and he’s more likely to be able to maintain his sobriety, now going on two years. With AA groups now only available on-line, he also enjoys the camaraderie he finds in Work Today and the lack of a long-term commitment. “Here I have a choice to work or not, depending on how I’m feeling. No one is going to chew me out if I don’t show up,” explained Hedberg.

The workers, mostly adults, identifiable in town by their blue vests, received $15 per hour for doing seasonal tasks, custodial work, and simple municipal maintenance projects, in addition to sterilizing parking meters and crosswalk buttons, a new municipal task identified because of COVID 19. “This program fulfilled a real need, and the unemployment caused by the pandemic made it even more critical,” Kornheiser stated.

 A coordinator staffed by Youth Services set people up with their jobs, trouble-shooted with employers, provided lunch and counseling services in the afternoon and participants returned back to work afterwards. Participants were paid in cash at the end of the day.

“The number one goal was to get cash into people’s pockets,” said Kornheiser.  “It’s was as simple as that.”

The day labor program falls under the same structure of DemoGraphix, a mission-driven limited liability company established a year ago by Youth Services as an employment and mentor program, a youth-led screen printing business.

The town of Brattleboro, which provided much of the initial funding, considered it money well spent. “The results of the trial period are encouraging, said Peter Elwell, Brattleboro Town Manager. “We look forward to working together with the Youth Services team and community partners to refine and grow the program, not just to benefit the program participants but for the broader benefit of our entire community.”

If you anticipate having projects in the spring that need day-labor or wish to support the continuation of the program with a donation, contact info@youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361. For more information about participating, visit youthservicesinc.org

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