Come sharpen your skills with some of the brightest minds in building science, February 6-7, at Better Buildings by Design (BBD) 2013. Hosted at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington, this not-for-profit conference sponsored by Efficiency Vermont brings together top talent in building technology and design from across the country (and beyond), to help keep Vermont-area professionals at the forefront of their fields.I always thoroughly enjoy this conference, and Im happy to be able to meet my continuing education requirements without spending a fortune.Keynote presenter Robert Hastings will kick things off Wednesday with a multimedia look at the evolution of Passive House, Passive Solar, and Plus-Energy. An internationally renowned expert on green building design, Hastings will address the technical aspects and market forces impacting future integration of Passive and Plus-Energy projects.Also on the agenda: workshops covering everything from the latest advances in home ventilation technology to lighting design techniques and much more, most of which carry continuing education credits from AIA, LEED, BPI, and CEM, among others. One session thats sure to be informative is Living With It, which takes a good look at what happens with an award-winning energy efficient home after the ceremonies are over and the homeowner actually moves in. Other sessions will dive into policy, updates on building code, and the ever-changing landscape of energy-conscious design.Beyond the more than forty workshop offerings, BBD 13 promises plenty of time for networking. As the largest gathering of building professionals in the Vermont region all year, opportunities and connections abound. Attendees are encouraged to meet with each other, as well as with vendors in the exhibition hall at various breaks throughout the two-day event, including a cocktail reception Wednesday evening.Sponsor and vendor selection is underway and attendee registration begins December 1. Space is limited and goes quickly, so sign up early. High school and college students interested in attending are encouraged to apply for the Blair Hamilton Memorial Scholarship. Learn more about the conference at www.efficiencyvermont.com/conference(link is external) or by calling 1-877-248-9900.
Month: December 2020
The state has sensible options to pay for childcare expansion and other smart investments while making Vermont’ s tax system more equitable. That’ s the focus of a new report released by Public Assets Institute. The report suggests getting rid of some state tax deductions, which would then lead to a significant increase in revenue.Most agree that expanding childcare is a good idea: good for children, workers, and the economy. The report (CLICK HERE) identifies five options that could pay for this expansion or other state investments by increasing revenue from the state income tax without raising rates and without hurting low-wage workers.‘ We need to make public investments in order to prosper,’ said Public Assets Institute President Paul Cillo. ‘ Vermont can make smart investments in people, programs, and infrastructure that provide opportunity and ensure the wellbeing of all Vermonters. And we can do it in a way that makes Vermont’ s tax system more equitable.’One option discussed in the report is elimination of the state income tax deduction for state income taxes paid. The vast majority of states that allow itemized deductions do not include state and local income taxes. Vermont currently caps the deduction at $5,000. Eliminating it would generate about $16 million in new revenue. Another option, eliminating itemized deductions in favor of a higher standard deduction for all filers, could raise $25 million. The revenue estimates were prepared by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington, DC.The governor’ s proposal to cut the state’ s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increases income tax revenue by about $17 million without raising rates. However, that revenue comes from the poorest working Vermonters, making the state’ s tax system more regressive.The report, ‘ Vermont Has Options to Raise Revenue for Smart Investments,’ is available at publicassets.org.Public Assets Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sound budget and tax policies to benefit all Vermonters. Additional information is available at www.publicassets.org(link is external).The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on federal, state, and local tax policy issues. ITEP’s mission is to ensure that elected officials, the media, and the general public have access to accurate, timely, and straightforward information that allows them to understand the effects of current and proposed tax policies. Additional information is available at www.itep.org(link is external)
On September 27, after seven years of production, the Vermont Movie Collaborative, based in Norwich, VT will release Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, the first film series about the many voices, cultural and political traditions that give the Green Mountain State its bold, iconoclastic spirit and democratic values, and the first collaborative film ever made about a state.The six-part film, a collaboration of three dozen critically acclaimed Vermont filmmakers and historians, is led by award-winning filmmaker Nora Jacobson. Their sponsors include the Vermont Arts Council, Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Humanities Council, Bay and Paul Foundation, John M. Bissell Foundation, Green Valley Media, National Life of Vermont Foundation, and the Vermont Country Store.What is it about Vermont?From 1777 to the present, Vermont has been a beacon, a haven, a refuge, an idea, a symbol, a state shaped by independent and courageous decision-makers, thinkers, political leaders, workers, artists, immigrants and innovators. It was the first state to outlaw slavery, to allow same sex civil unions, to call for the impeachment of President Nixon, and to protect the environment with Act 250. This is a state in which conservatives and liberals are not only neighbors’they frequently depend on each other for survival. And yet, as we see in town meetings and legislative debates, the pursuit of freedom has, on occasion, threatened the state’s unity.‘A state has boundaries, a central government, state laws. These factors give it unity. My challenge, as editor of the diverse pieces, was to find the common thread in all our stories, the thread that made this not only a Vermont story, but a universal story as well.’‘Nora Jacobson, director, The Vermont Movie‘…a novel approach to dealing with the early chapters of Vermont’s history and looking at some of the crucial geopolitical events through the social history of the non-white population …bold and very interesting.’‘ Michael Sherman, historian and author of Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont.Screenings begin September 27 at the Barre Opera House. The Vermont Movie Barnstorming Tour (9/29 to 12/04/2013) features screenings in 11 Vermont counties. To find a screening in your area, go to www.thevermontmovie.com;(link is external) click on Screenings, and download the tour schedule. All screenings will include Q&A sessions with Vermont Movie filmmakers and others.‘The Vermont Movie preserves a compendium of oral and visual recollections that will be of value well into the future.’ ‘ Gregory Sanford, Vermont State Archivist‘…one of the most entertaining, thought-provoking and just plain terrific pieces of cinema history ever created…’ ‘ Ken Eisen, co-founder, Maine International Film Festival For more information, to view our trailer, and bios of filmmakers and advisors, visit www.thevermontmovie.com(link is external)
Sugarbush Resort,This year Sugarbush Resort introduces their first Passholder Appreciation Day in recent memory today, November 22. Skiing and riding is available from 9:00 AM ‘ 3:30 PM and is for Sugarbush season passholders only. The resort will then be open to the public from 9:00 AM ‘ 4:00 PM on Saturday, November 23.Early season snowfall totaling 12’, combined with Sugarbush’s powerful yet efficient snowmaking technology, allows the resort to open as scheduled. Skiers and riders can take advantage of some 6 runs across over 4 miles of terrain serviced by 2 lifts. Depending on conditions, there is the possibility of adding additional terrain for Friday or Saturday.‘Thanks to the hard work of our mountain operations team and snowmakers, we are poised to enjoy some great early season skiing and riding this weekend,’ remarked Win Smith, President of Sugarbush Resort. ‘We’re looking forward to a long and very snowy winter.’With limited terrain open at this early point in the season, ticket prices are $59 for adults and $49 for juniors and seniors on Saturday. Due to limited terrain and variable snow conditions, skiing and riding at this time is suggested for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders only.Warren, VT (November 22, 2013) ‘ Sugarbush Resort. For more information on opening day, please visit sugarbush.com
On behalf of Governor Shumlin, Vermont Tourism Deputy Commissioner Steve Cook awarded Steve Wright and Jay Peak Resort the inaugural SMART Award for Creative Marketing in Tourism at the 31st Annual Vermont Travel Industry Conference at the Equinox Resort & Spa in Manchester. on April 2. The Governor’s SMART Award for Marketing Excellence in Social Media for Arts, Recreation, and Tourism honors a tourism-related business, region, association or special event that has leveraged the Vermont brand through a cohesive marketing strategy. 2014 Vermont Travel Person of the Year award was presented to Nancy Illemann Rock, left, of Smugglers’ Notch Resort presented by Vermont Tourism Commissioner Megan Smith, photos by Carrie McDougall.Jay Peak Resort’s 2013/14 marketing campaign “Anthem” creates an emotional connection with existing Jay Peak’ers, inspires new guests to discover Jay Peak, and showcases the resort assets with a focus on the experience. “We were looking to find a way to get our target audience feeling an emotional tug. For us, this meant getting inside the head of a kid and reclaiming that which is important.” Wright said in the SMART Award entry form. “We wanted to connect to whatever energy exists around moments and memories—making them, remembering them, trying hard not to forget them, that sort of thing.” Steve Cook, left, presents award to Steve Wright of Jay Peak.In presenting the award, Cook remarked, “Steve Wright is one of the most influential marketers in Vermont. Steve’s willingness to be bold and take calculated risks have resulted in some of the most creative hospitality marketing that I have ever seen.” Honorable mention was given to Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce for “Almost There”, an unscripted and unrehearsed documentary style short film used as a destination marketing tool which portrays why people “come for the mountains” and ultimately, “stay for the valley.” “Both the Jay Peak Anthem and the Mad River Valley videos capture the spirit of their communities; they address what it means to be – and to be inspired in – these parts of Vermont.” shared 2014 SMART Award judge, Jen Butson, communications director at the Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing. “Drawing on this emotion made for content that is perfectly ripe for social media: those with affinity for these locations or the ideals they aspire to, were compelled to share with their social communities.” A tradition at the Vermont Travel Industry Conference is the Travel Person of the Year Award. The award recognizes an individual who contributes significantly to Vermont’s travel and tourism industry, enforces the Vermont brand, helps position Vermont as a friendly and fun place to visit, promotes the value of tourism to the state’s economy, and exemplifies what is good within the travel industry and within our local communities. The recipient is nominated by industry peers and selected by a panel of past recipients. The 2014 Vermont Travel Person of the Year award was presented to Nancy Illemann Rock of Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Vermont Tourism Commissioner Megan Smith presented Illemann Rock with the Travel Person of the Year Award by highlighting her letters of nomination. “Nancy has been a dedicated presence in the Vermont tourism world for over 30 years. Her work as director of marketing for Smugglers’ Notch Resort, as well as her continued support with monitoring other tourism “newbies” and advocacy for partnership to promote the Vermont brand is part of Nancy’s fabric. She is a fixture on many tourism committees including Travel and Recreation Council, Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Ski Areas Association, Lake Champlain Chamber, Lamoille Regional Chamber, St. Albans Chamber, and our very own, Vermont Travel Industry Conference.” Illemann Rock graciously accepted the award and was humbled by the recognition from her peers as she received a standing ovation from the crowd. The Vermont Travel Industry Conference draws one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state including owners, managers and employees of the many businesses connected to this important segment of the economy. Nearly 300 professionals and students participated in this year’s conference. For more information, visit www.VTIC.org(link is external)
The US Senate Monday night approved the bipartisan Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act by a vote of 59-38, legislation which will reauthorize emergency unemployment insurance benefits for five months, allowing for retroactive payments going back to December 28, 2013, when the benefits expired. The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner has not agreed to bring it up.Following the vote, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) issued this statement: “Our economy is showing strong signs of improvement, but millions of Americans, including thousands of Vermonters, remain out of work, still trying to find a job to help support their families and their households. The Senate started this year by considering legislation to address these expired benefits. Now, more than three months after they expired, these hardworking, yet unemployed, Vermonters will finally see some relief. This is a responsible bill that ensures that recipients of benefits are those most in need.“Before the Senate’s action, the leadership in the House of Representatives sent a clear signal that they have no intention of bringing this much needed legislation to the House floor. I hope tonight’s vote in the Senate gives them pause to reconsider this harsh position. Our economy remains on the brink; to ensure our continued recovery, we need to support American workers still looking for jobs.” The bill would restore assistance for more than 2.7 million jobless workers, including about 1,832 Vermonters, who have been out of work for more than 26 weeks and had their benefits cut off late last year. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) stated: “From both a moral and economic perspective, we have got to do everything that we can to help long-term unemployed Americans find decent-paying jobs. Americans desperately need these benefits to feed their families, pay their rent and fill their gas tanks as they continue to look for work.”The legislation would reinstate benefits of about $300 a week on average. “After a long struggle here in the Senate, we managed to get a few Republicans on board to help us pass this legislation. Now, it goes to the House. After pushing for tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations, it would be unconscionable for the Republican House not to pass this legislation,” Sanders said. “If the House does not act, 5,100 unemployed Vermonters will be left out in the cold by the end of this year. That would be an outrage.” Nationwide, more than 4.9 million Americans will lose benefits this year if Congress fails to act. Republicans haven’t always opposed the program. When George W Bush was president, Boehner and other Republicans voted five times to extend emergency unemployment benefits. In fact, since 1958, Congress has never failed to pass emergency unemployment benefits when long-term unemployment has been as high as it is today. While the official 3.7 percent unemployment rate in Vermont is among the lowest of any state, the lingering recession has left thousands of Vermonters without work. Real unemployment in Vermont – counting those forced to settle for part-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work – averaged 9.3 percent last year. While the economy has slowly improved since the recession that began in 2007, there still are nearly three job applicants for every one job opening. “The fact is that there simply aren’t enough jobs out there for the more than 10 million Americans who are actively seeking work,” Sanders said.Source: Leahy and Sanders April 7, 2014
Vermont Business Magazine Close to 400 Chittenden County business and community leaders gathered on Thursday, April 28th, for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 7th Annual Reason to Hope Dinner at the Hilton Burlington. Over the past five years, Dan Feeney, President of North Star Leasing and Co-Owner of Armistead Senior Care, has served as a lead organizer of the Reason to Hope Dinner planning committee and has helped to raise over $500,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. In recognition of his myriad contributions to the health and well-being of the greater Burlington community, the Alzheimer’s Association, Vermont Chapter, presented Dan Feeney with the 2016 Community Leadership and Activist Award. Hosted by Honorary Co-Chairs, Andrea and Jim Crook, and Event Chair, Sarah Muyskens, the 2016 Reason to Hope Dinner raised over $143,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The evening’s program included videotaped remarks from Vermont Senior Senator Patrick Leahy. “There are over 12,000 Vermonters living with Alzheimer’s” stated Sen. Leahy. “In a state like California, that’s not a big deal. In a state like Vermont, it is a very big deal.” Dan Feeney and Family, left, and with Tim Holvorson. Alzheimer’s Association photos.Emceed by Tim Halvorson, along with congratulatory remarks from Linda Norris of Norris Consulting, Mark Redmond of Spectrum Youth & Family Services, and Sarah Muyskens, Community Volunteer and Event Chair, the evening’s tribute ran the gamut from a fun-loving roast of Dan Feeney to heart-warming tribute to his family and his many civic and charitable endeavors. “Many of us…your neighbors, your coworkers and extended family are probably dealing with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s and the slow decline of losing a loved one” wrote Dan Feeney. “Extend a hand to help them traverse this time in their lives for it will make you appreciate your health and well-being.” Alexandra “Alex” Magiera, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Junior Board, was the evening’s featured Mission Speaker. Alex was only 15 years old when her mother, then age 50, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Speaking with humor and compassion about her mother’s journey with the disease, Alex relayed that as a teenager she wondered “how do I tell my friends that my mom can’t remember my name much less how to complete basic tasks?” Her mother passed away from the disease at the age of 60, a mere 10 years after receiving her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Alex’s goal is to change the perception that Alzheimer’s is not a disease that only impacts “old people” but instead affects the entire family. As a tireless advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association, she is guided by a firm belief that research, education and advocacy will lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s. The Reason to Hope program concluded with brief, inspirational statements during the closing spotlight ceremony. Alzheimer’s Association friends, advocates and volunteers including Amanda Wilson, Louis Godin, Kate Quinn,Tom Swartwout and Alex Magiera spoke poignantly about their connections to Alzheimer’s disease – as a caregiver, son, granddaughter, spouse and advocate –concluding with a personal pledge of “the end of Alzheimer’s begins with me.” Net proceeds from the Reason to Hope Dinner fund crucial programs and services to help Vermonters living with dementia, as well as expand advocacy efforts to assure a coordinated effort on both the national and state level and significantly expand cutting-edge research worldwide. Jessie and Margi Swett of Vermont Trophy & EngravingThe Alzheimer’s Association gratefully acknowledges the generous organizations contributing to the success of the 2016 Reason to Hope including event sponsor, North Star Leasing Company; platinum sponsors Armistead Senior Care and People’s United Bank; gold sponsors the Bergeron Family Foundation, FreePressMedia, National Life Group, plus Liz & Chuck Delauriers, Triad & Hawke; silver sponsors American Flatbread/Zero Gravity, BioTek Instruments, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Burlington Rotary Club, Donahue & Associates and Friends, The Feeney Family, The Norris Family/Aerie Consulting, LLC, Northern Benefits/Nedde Real Estate, Twincraft Skincare, University of Vermont Medical Center – Center on Aging at University of Vermont; plus bronze sponsors The Arbors at Shelburne/Converse Home(link is external), Kate & Scott Baldwin, Andrea & Randy Brock, Bullrock-Deutsche-Eco Solar, The Coates Family, The Attorneys at Downs Rachlin Martin, ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Exterus Business Furniture, Friends of Dan Feeney, Home Instead Senior Care/GoodHEALTH Associates, KeyBank, NBT Bank, Northfield Savings Bank/McSoley McCoy & Co., Pomerleau Real Estate, The Residences at Otter Creek, Quarry Hill & Shelburne Bay, The Seaver Family and Wright & Morrisey, Inc. Special thanks are extended to Ben Zakin, Acabay, Inc., Birnn Chocolates(link is external), Chappell’s Florist, Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse & Perennial Farm, E.B. Strong’s Prime Steakhouse, Hilton Burlington, Queen City Printers, Vermont Trophy & Engraving plus Von Bargen’s Jewelry. About the Alzheimer’s Association The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit www.alz.org(link is external) or call 800.272.3900. About Alzheimer’s Disease in Vermont Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and is the only disease in the top 10 in America that cannot be treated, cured or slowed. In Vermont, Alzheimer’s is the fifth-leading cause of death and our state has the fourth-highest Alzheimer’s death rate in America. More than 12,000 Vermonters age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s and by 2025 the number will rise to 17,000, a 41.7% increase in less than 10 years. There are 30,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in Vermont providing 34,000,000 hours of unpaid care valued at $422,000,000.
Vermont Business Magazine When Dorothy and George Cook became active Emergency Medical Service providers, the EMS system that Vermonters now routinely depend on had only been developed less than 10 years earlier. Now, more than 40 years later, the two founding members of the Morristown EMS – who still volunteer for night shifts – will be honored by their peers with the first-ever Vermont Emergency Medical Services Lifetime Award.The Cooks will be among a number of other awardees and EMS providers at a public celebration on May 17 at the State House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emergency Medical Services in the United States. Governor Peter Shumlin has proclaimed May 15-21, 2016 as Emergency Medical Services Week to highlight the vital mission and dedication of the state’s EMS volunteers and professionals.”EMS Week is an opportunity for all of us to show our deep appreciation to the thousands of EMS providers who serve every corner of our state,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen. “It is also a chance to showcase their often life-saving work, and to encourage more Vermonters to volunteer in their communities, and consider careers as first responders and EMS professionals.”The State House event runs from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and will offer fun and educational activities for all ages. In addition to displays of vintage equipment, there will be search and rescue dog demonstrations, technical/rope rescue presentations, car seat inspections, blood-pressure checks, and even a coloring contest. “Sidewalk CPR” training, which can be mastered in just minutes, will be offered at no cost throughout the day.The origin of the nation’s EMS services dates back to a 1966 report, Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, which identified accidental injuries as the “leading cause of death in the first half of life’s span.” The report led to a standardized training curriculum and other measures that are widely credited with launching the EMS system we know today. In Vermont, fostering a greater public awareness of what people can do to prevent injuries continues to be a major public health initiative.Health Commissioner Chen will present awards at noon to EMS agencies and personnel who are being recognized this year for their high level of dedication to the profession and their communities.2016 Emergency Medical Services Awardees* Vermont EMS Lifetime Award – Dorothy and George Cook* Advanced Life Support Provider of the Year – Jean-Pierre Gervais, Lyndon Rescue Squad* Ambulance Service of the Year – South Burlington Fire Department* Basic Life Support Provider of the Year – Crystalee O’Dell, Pownal Rescue Squad* EMS for Children Champion of the Year – Jillian McLaughlin, Lyndon Rescue Squad* EMS Educator of the Year – Kate Soons, EMS District 3* First Responder Service of the Year – Mount Mansfield Ski PatrolIn case of inclement weather, the celebration will be held on Friday, May 20.To learn more about becoming an Emergency Medical Services provider, visit OnCall for Vermont: http://www.oncallforvt.org/emergency-medical-services/(link is external)
Vermont Business Magazine The 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG), announced late Saturday night that it has accepted a $39.8 million contract bid from Kubricky Construction Corp of Wilton, NY, on a major construction project for apron replacement and taxiway upgrade at the Air National Guard Base located at the Burlington International Airport. Kubricky Construction Corp. has been a division of the DA Collins Companies, since 1983. DA Collins is a full-service civil construction group that provides a wide range of services to clients in the public and private sectors. With major industry projects dating back to 1948.Construction is expected to begin this fall with a two-year completion date to repair the majority of the airfield pavement surfaces, including a primary parking apron and taxiways Delta and Foxtrot. A total of approximately 166,000 square yards of surfaces will be affected. These surfaces support all current F-16 flying operations for the Vermont Air National Guard and transient military aircraft.US Air Force Col. Hank Harder, commander, 158th Fighter Wing mission support group, discusses major construction project with Captain Jason Villemare, 158th Fighter Wing civil engineer officer at the Vermont Air National Guard, South Burlington, September 23, 2016. VTANG photo.“Safety is a top priority at the VTANG, and we make every effort to execute all of our missions as safely as possible. Continuous upgrades to installations are necessary to maintain a safe operational environment. This project is key for our current and future operations and will allow us to meet our training requirements. We are looking forward to working with Kubricky Construction Corp. over the longevity of this extensive project.” per Col. Hank Harder, 158th FW Mission Support Group Commander.The airfield pavement layout has remained relatively unchanged since original construction in the 1950s with major repairs to the asphalt surfaces of Delta and Foxtrot taxiways required over the last 40 years, and extensive annual maintenance repairs to sustain and maximize the life span of all of its surfaces. The pavements have reached the end of their effective life; resulting in sustainment repairs no longer being a cost effective option.The current project is expected to provide aircraft operating surfaces with a lifespan of 50 years, and was designed by Pond & Company Architects, Engineers, Planners out of Norcross, GA.Captain Jason Villemaire, 158th Fighter Wing Base Civil Engineer commented, “The Vermont Air National Guard will continue to provide safe and resilient installations infrastructure to train and support the nation’s national security strategy with the projection of our nation’s air power now and in the next half century.” Source: South Burlington, Vermont Air National Guard. 9.24.2016
Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe interacts with a panel of youth mentees and adult mentors at the 2017 Vermont Mentoring Symposium, convened by Mobius at the Waterbury State Offices Complex on May 9. Panelists, from left: Jack Roya (14) and Karl Bissex (Twinfield Together Mentoring); Melanie McLane (17) and Marilu Duke (Girls/Boyz First); and Rachel McCarthy and Hayden Roy (9, Howard Center Community Friends). Mobius photo.Vermont Business Magazine Mobius convened the 2017 Vermont Mentoring Symposium at the State Offices Complex in Waterbury on Tuesday, May 9. This statewide event brought together more than 60 youth mentoring program staff, board members, and supporters from across Vermont for a day of networking and professional development. In addition to the workshops and networking activities, the event featured appearances from US Congressman Peter Welch, field representatives Diane Derby and Katarina Lisaius from the offices of Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, and Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) Ken Schatz. Congressman Welch thanked mentoring program staff for the work they do, and praised mentoring as playing a critical role in supporting the health and well-being of young people, and helping to build closer ties between Vermonters of all ages. “Giving of ourselves to our community makes us all better,” said Welch. Derby spoke about Senator Leahy’s many years of support for mentoring in Vermont, and recent efforts with Mobius and Senator Sanders’ office to try to bring federal funding for mentoring back into the state. Lisaius discussed Senator Sanders’ concerns about the low percentage of high school graduates in Vermont who go on to pursue post-secondary education, and the role mentoring programs and mentors play in helping to bridge this gap.Montpelier resident Andrea Stander, a mentor of 17 years, closed out the morning programme by sharing from her experiences as a mentor for multiple mentees through the Girls/Boyz First mentoring program. Secretary Holcombe joined the group later in the afternoon as the facilitator for a mentor/mentee match panel: Marilu Duke and her 17-year-old mentee Melanie McLane (Girls/Boyz First); Karl Bissex and his 14-year-old mentee Jack Roya (Twinfield Together Mentoring); and Rachel McCarthy and her nine-year-old mentee Hayden Roy (Howard Center Community Friends).Holcombe asked each mentor pair a variety of questions about things they learned and experienced over the course of their relationship together, and also touched on different ways that mentoring has played a role, directly or indirectly, in the mentee’s education. Commissioner Schatz gave closing remarks, and shared the importance of mentoring to DCF’s substance abuse prevention efforts. DCF also provided free space for Mobius to host the event. During the afternoon portion of the event, attendees participated in a series of workshops on a variety of topics including trauma-informed mentoring, grantwriting, board development, youth behavioral issues, match support, and working with parents. The Vermont Mentoring Symposium was planned and organized by Mobius and its Program Leadership Council, an advisory group comprised of elected representatives from mentoring programs across the state that advises and assists the organization with its various youth mentoring initiatives. According to the “Mentoring Effect,” a study released in 2014 by MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership), one in three youth in Vermont will enter adulthood without having a formal or informal mentoring relationship with a caring adult. The results of national studies by MENTOR and Big Brothers Big Sisters illustrate that a mentor can enhance a young person’s learning skills and help him or her build resiliency and pro-social skills.Youth with mentors are less likely to engage in risky behavior with drugs and alcohol, are more likely to develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and more likely to pursue college and other post-secondary opportunities. Now in its fifth year as Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership, Mobius supports approximately 140 adult-to-youth mentoring program sites that serve 2,300 mentor pairs throughout the state. Mobius awards more than $300,000 to youth mentoring agencies annually through the Vermont Mentoring Grants, which are made possible by support from the A.D. Henderson Foundation, DCF, and the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children.Mobius also offers technical support to program staff, maintains an online program directory and referral system for volunteers, manages a quality-based program management database, raises public awareness of mentoring, works with programs to ensure they are meeting best practices, and leads statewide mentoring initiatives. For more information about Mobius, and mentoring programs and initiatives in Vermont, visit www.mobiusmentors.org(link is external). Source: Mobius. 5.12.2017