Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mental Health First Aid : Lamoille County Mental Health Services offers free training

     Lamoille County Mental Health Services is offering a free training on Mental Health First Aid, described as teaching how to help people developing a mental health illness or someone in a crisis.
     The training will be offered on May 16, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Lamoille County Mental Health Services, 72 Harrel Street, Morrisville, Vermont.  Attendance is free, but space is limited.  Please RSVP to Nancy Welcome at 802-888-5026 x 103 or nancy.welcome@lamoille.org
     The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that an estimated one out of four adults experiences a serious mental illness and approximately twenty percent of youth, ages thirteen to eighteen, experience a mental disturbance in a given year. (Source:  www2.nami/org/factsheet)
Stark statistics reinforce the need to educate ourselves, as a community, to be prepared to offer appropriate assistance if we encounter someone enduring mental health distress,

Greg Stefanski Chairs VCORP Conference at Norwich University

     It's easy to get caught up in "the work" of supporting at-risk youth and their families.  It's harder, sometimes, to take time to share lessons learned while learning from others.  The Vermont Coalition of Residential Providers' (VCORP) Annual Conference presents the opportunity for residential and foster care staff, caregivers and family members, foster parents, clinicians, child advocates, case workers and youth in the system of care to come together.
     Greg Stefanski chaired this year's conference which was held at Norwich University and focussed on best practices for engaging and supporting the families of children in residential and foster care. Staff from Laraway's therapeutic foster care and micro residential programs attended, some of whom served on panels and facilitated discussions.
     Two Laraway youth attended the conference, with one serving as reporter for his working group.  Recognizing the firsthand expertise of youth in care and creating opportunities for them to share their unique perspectives is a valuable aspect of the conference.
     We learned a lot, and yet, there remains much to learn. See you next year!

Laraway co-sponsors screening of Mothers of Bedford at Johnson State College

     "Bars cannot separate a child from their mother's love," said Sister Elaine Roulet, founder of the child center at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York.
     Is it possible to become a better mother while serving time in a maximum security prison?  That is the question posed by filmmaker Jenifer McShane in her documentary, The Mothers of Bedford.  McShane spent four years working on this film, following the lives of five inmates and their efforts to foster healthy, positive connections with their children.
     The film was recently screened at Johnson State College followed by a facilitated discussion with audience members. The free event, attended by students and members of the general public, was co-sponsored by Laraway Youth & Family Services, the Lamoille Family Center and Lamoille Restorative Center.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

      Corned beef?  Cabbage?  Oodles of potatoes and carrots?  It must be St. Patrick's Day in Laraway's kitchen.
     As a former restaurant owner, Laraway Food Coordinator Lisa Rock is always eager to lend a creative touch to the breakfasts and lunches she prepares for students and staff.
     Lisa prepared a traditional St. Patrick's Day meal with corned beef and cabbage which were gobbled up with gusto at today's lunch. She got the recipe right and rounded out the meal with potatoes, carrots, rolls and extra-special peppermint brownies.
     Feeding kids healthy and nutritious food is just another way Laraway tries to enhance the lives of those we serve.  Creating themed meals---which Lisa often does to accompany the holidays---makes a tasty meal even tastier!
     Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stowe Mercantile & Boutique BYOB Program makes a gift

     Julie Landry, Director of Laraway School, received a donation from Trudy Trombley of Stowe Mercantile & Boutique in Stowe. The $302 check is from the store's "Bring Your Own Bag" program which has supported many charitable organizations.
     "We're excited to have chosen this great organization as the recipient of proceeds from our BYOB program," said Trudy Trombley. "As an incentive to reduce the number of shopping bags used, we have created our BYOB program. For every customer that doesn't need a bag or doesn't take a bag from the stores, our businesses donate a nickel to a local charity."
     In just the first year, over 10,000 bags have been saved while, simultaneously, raising funds for local charities.
     We call that a Win:Win situation.  Thank you, Stowe Mercantile & Boutique!