February 6, 2013 Newsletter

By John Hammer

Charlotte Shelburne Rotary

Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 7:15 a.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church Community Room

Welcome

President Adam Bartsch opened the meeting with the Pledge. Kris Engstrom to give the devotional calling for, among other things, for the comfort and successful operation on Jim Spadaccini, which was taking place today.

Guests: Martha Maksym – Speaker, United Way

Quote for the Day: “We are stewards of the community’s money and we have a real responsibility to make sure that this money is going where they’re going for the greatest impact.”

The Word for the Day: Appears below with definition.

Upcoming:

February 13 - Committee Meetings – Chairs will report (2-3 Minutes)

February 14 – Board Meeting

February 20 – Paul Ugalde, World Population Institute

February 27 – Laurie Mumley of Autism Support

March 6 – Mike Gilligan of UVM Hockey

June 6:  District Governor Change of Guard at Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. (Our club will play a key role in this event.)

Announcements

Parking at Shelburne Farms

Bill Root, our Parking Czar got up and spoke about his meeting with Shelburne Farms managers.  The Club parks cars in exchange for Shelburne Farms providing the Coach Barn for the Rotary Car Raffle. Now that Roz Graham has become an operational chief, Bill has been designated an official with a hat that goes with it. It was agreed that the Club will provide parkers for the following events: Maple Open House on March 23, then Dairy Day on May 5, followed by Harvest Fest on September 21.  A request for an open bar at the Car Raffle event went undecided.  The Car Raffle will now, according to Ric Flood, be held on November 1.  This is on the Friday after the Shelburne Halloween Parade and two weeks before deer season.

The Bowlathon will move back to early June this year.  Ric will be starting the letter campaign in a few weeks. He asked if there were any members who had solicited a Dr. John Mech for a donation. If so, would they please let Ric know?

Paul Harris Award

Bob Sanders was presented with his second Paul Harris Award. Bob has been a Rotary member for 22 years and is a Past President of this Club.

Jim Spad’s Humor

Was absent today.

Sergeant at Arms

Richard Fox promised that there would be no power outages, Beyoncé, or convicted felons crying in the middle of the room. With that, William Wisell, unbeknownst to us all, turned out the lights. Well done William!

Fines

Ric Flood – For Jim Spad and happy that the Fund-raisers are back on an orderly schedule.

Kris Engstrom – For Jim Spad and in anticipation for next week’s holiday – St. Valentine’s Day.

Robert Maynes – Happy not to be sitting next to Ric today and next to the speaker, Martha Maxim.

Denny Bowen – Happy for the first good day of skiing last week at Sugarbush with Jim and Linda Schiavonne.

Linda Schiavonne – Happy to have been skiing with Denny Bowen.

Howard Seaver – Happy to have spent last week in Colorado with his daughter and grandchild.

Tod Whitaker – For a week at Sanibel Island.

Numerous Fines for the good wishes to Jim Spad for a comfortable and speedy recovery.

Dave Jonah drew the Jack of Clubs.  Rollover the $263 pot.

Speaker – Martha Maksym, Executive Director of the United Way for Chittenden County.

Martha has been with the United Way of Chittenden County (UWCC) for 18 years and Executive Director for 1½.

Several years ago the UWCC went out and surveyed the community asking, “If all were well in Chittenden County, what would conditions be like from the point of view of the young or recently graduated from high school?”  What they heard is that the people would like to be safe, well fed, and have a safe place to live.  There was also a lot of conversation about early childhood and elder care. All of the information was organized into three issues that the UWCC calls Impact Areas.  They are Education, Income, and Health.

What is the role of UWCC? They invest dollars in programs and programs that address the strategies and mentors.  They found that they needed more volunteers.  There are thousands of kids who need adults that care about their going to school, that care about what their story is.  The challenge was how to mobilize the volunteers in this community so that they could start to address these initiatives?  So the answer is to raise funds and mobilize volunteers who are incredibly effective in addressing the needs of the community. This year the goal will be $3.85 Million.  They will also grow their role in the community by collaborating with other organizations and sectors to bring forces to bear on what they call Strategic Initiatives.

In the Education Impact Area the community said that they wanted to see programs that help children achieve their potential -To have them succeed in school and develop assets to go on to be successful in college and into adulthood. The research tells the UWCC that if you want graduates to be successful in their outcomes, you need to ensure that the students are ready to learn when they get to school, that they stay in school with quality education, that they have places where they can learn in safe environments, and that they have good role models.

Two ingredients are key to achieving childhood potential: Succeeding in school and developing assets. It takes the child being ready to learn, quality education, staying in school, having a positive out of school time, and home environment and good role models.

The UWCC makes program investments in a whole rainbow of programs that fund non-profit organizations and programs while mobilizing volunteers to help.  This last is a strength of the program.  Further, they have identified two strategic initiatives that address truancy and the Burlington-Winooski Partnership for Change that ensures that every child has what it takes to succeed in today’s world. This means graduating with confidence, enthusiasm, skills and knowledge to build a sustainable future for themselves.

The UWCC invests in a variety of programs that address early childhood, safe places to learn after school, foster grandparent program, reading programs, school buddies.  They concentrate on strategic initiatives, especially with truancy.  They have focused on the Burlington truancy rate.  They know the details about all the students so that their attendance is followed in order to tailor interventions.  It has been highly successful.   It has been very successful.

 

Vermont has the highest high school graduation rate in the country, but it’s still not great. (Parenthetically, this morning {2/8} it was reported that Vermont high school juniors only scored 36% in math proficiency in nationally standardized tests).

In the Income Impact Area the UWCC is commited to addressing the basic needs for food and shelter and helping people to be employed and financially stable.  This means emergency food and shelter.  For long term financial stability the community has to help folks find and keep jobs. It also needs to address what it takes to have people in stable housing and them in stable employment.  They are still in the process of evaluating where the needs are and what programs are most effective in this area.  They are working with more than fifty employers in giving help to keep workers’ attendance and productivity high. This includes working with low income workers through the offering of financial literacy programs.  If they have needs, they can get help before it adversely impacts their work habits.  Rhino Foods, using this program, cut their turnover by 50% and saved $165,000 over 1½ years in employment costs. The same with Fletcher Allen where they increased retention by 50% as well as dramatically decreasing unscheduled time off. This has improved patient outcomes by having the staff that are more experienced and reliable.

In the Health Impact Area, the goal is to make sure that every person in the community achieves optimal health and personal safety.  In order to achieve this, there has to be good access to care, a safe and caring home life, and good nutrition. What it takes then is removing barriers to care, access to mental health and substance abuse care, accessible caregiving, safe homes, and good nutrition.

One major challenge is the very serious substance abuse problem in Northern Vermont. At a recent meeting with the Burlington Chief of Police Martha learned that there are 15-18 gangs consisting of 4-9 young persons from out of state who are working the NW Vermont area.  Each moves 4500 bags of heroin per week. There is a tremendous backlog in the criminal justice system and thus the challenge.

With the aging population as the result of the baby boom, there are problems with caregiving in the homes as well as availability of safe homes and good nutrition for elderly persons.  A major problem is reliable transport for with the UWCC is mobilizing and has a great need for volunteer drivers. It costs the SSTA about $60 per one-way trip for any ride.  Their vehicles are specially equipped to handle handicapped riders, though many are not so immobilized. Therefore the UWCC is working with the CCTA and volunteers and have reduced the costs per ride for non-handicapped persons significantly.

 

They are particularly proud of the 2-1-1 program where persons can call and get information on the whole spectrum of social services. It is a telephonic information and referral center. Further, it is a great asset in emergency management by identifying trouble, or zip codes associated with the various needs out in the community. Last year they answered about 50,000 calls.

Funds for the coming fiscal year starting April 1 are about $2,000,000 for member agencies, $350,000 to support specific strategic initiatives and volunteer mobilization, $950,000 leveraged from grants, $60,000 for 2-1-1, $8,000 for special response to emergency needs, $430,000 passed through to donor-identified UWCC member organizations, and $2,000,000 of in-kind value for over 112,000 volunteer hours worked by more than 6500 people connected to 265 local, non-profits.

QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD:

The UWCC is very proactive* in how they disburse money for grants requested by members.  The following questions are asked of the prospective grantees and must be satisfactorily answered:

·       How much are you doing?

·       How well are you doing it? What are your results?

·       Is anyone better off for participating in your program?

·     

Funding is based on results-based accountability measuring the impact the program is having on the people being serviced.  There is a team of volunteers for each Impact Area who review each grant.  It’s a very well thought out and involved process.  “We are stewards of the community’s money and we have a real responsibility to make sure that this money is going where they’re going for the greatest impact.”

In answer to the question of what keeps people from stable employment-

Childcare is a real challenge – both access and quality.  This is a huge barrier to employment.  The childcare industry in Vermont is very precarious financially.  Childcare is too undervalued and the business model is skewed to fail. 

In the workplace, there needs to be good supervision and mentoring to ensure that the employees understand what is expected of them.

The graduates coming out of the high schools and even college are not coming out with the skill sets and literacies necessary to hold a stable job.

“Partnerships for Change” to transform high school education to identify what competencies kids need to have on high school graduation to enter college. This is a broad-based collaboration of groups from all over the community.  It is really hard, but not impossible. They are looking at innovative schools around the country to model some of their successes. Martha recommended that Rotarians need to look at the TED Talk by Scott Taylor about 21st Century Skills (http://bit.ly/WUhYmD).  We, as a society, cannot allow these educational shortfalls to continue.

There are two books entitled: Global Achievement Gap and Creative Innovators that address these issues. Taylor maintains that this system doesn’t just need reforming, but a complete rework.  He has identified seven survival skills that need being paid attention to.

Definition: Proactive, adj. – Acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty; anticipatory

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