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Connecting Families and Educators to the Resources They Need

Legislative Forum for Central Vermont & Lamoille in January 2024

I became BBF’s Regional Manager for the Lamoille Valley and Central Vermont regions in 2023 after spending more than two decades working in the early childhood field, where I learned so much from children and families. Most recently, I ran an early childhood education center in Moretown and have also worked in Early Intervention—the services and supports for young children with developmental delays/disabilities and their families. The first few years of a child’s life are so important for their health, development, and well-being, and supporting children and families during that time is what I’m really passionate about.

In my role with BBF, I bring my experiences to the table not only as an educator and a professional who has worked in the field, but as a parent of two young children. What motivates me is providing support to families and caregivers—including teachers, providers, and healthcare professionals.

In Central Vermont, our two priorities for the past year have been supporting workforce development and increasing access to basic needs such as food and transportation. This May, join a meeting in your region to help set regional priorities for the next two years. What does it look like to put these priorities into action? 

  • Our Central Vermont Regional Council meets once a month with early childhood professionals and community members. Back in September, we began discussing access to basic needs and discovered through our conversation several barriers that families experience. Through collaborative efforts with the Hedding Methodist church, the council was able to help set up a backpack program for students in the Barre city district. “Paw Packs” help elementary school students who are homeless or who don’t have enough food at home by giving them backpacks full of nutritious food for the weekend.
  • Transportation was another barrier identified, and we recently welcomed Gopher (also known as Community Rides Vermont) to our council meeting to provide information on a new transportation option for families and individuals in our community. I then compiled a list of transportation resources for families in Central Vermont to share with the council. 
  • We held a joint Legislative Forum for Central Vermont and Lamoille legislators to hear from families and experts about important topics. This January, our legislative forum focused on implementing the Act 76 child care bill and on paid family leave. BBF invited expert speakers from Let’s Grow Kids and AARP to present on both topics, and it was an opportunity for the public to share their personal stories, too. It’s really powerful for legislators to be able to hear those first-hand stories.
  • We sponsored two Dabble Days that offered free children’s books, games, and crafts in Barre and Morrisville. In May, we’re sponsoring the It Takes a Village event hosted by Good Beginnings Central Vermont, aimed at parents and caregivers in the perinatal period (from pregnancy through one year after birth). And in June, we’re sponsoring Family Fun Day at the Family Center of Washington County.

Vermont has so many unique and amazing resources available to families. As a Regional Manager, I look at the big picture of what resources are already available to support families and caregivers, then help get those resources out there to make sure people know about them and are able to access them. 

Through the Regional Council network and connections with partner organizations and community members, we find where there are issues and gaps. I help BBF to elevate those issues from the local level to the decision-makers and agencies who can respond to those needs. This feels like the superpower of my role! I’m looking forward to continuing to strengthen these connections throughout Central Vermont and Lamoille Valley.

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