Colchester, Vermont – The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties (VNA) welcomed spring’s arrival on April 9 at the Spring Blooms! Fashion Show and Luncheon, a fundraiser celebrating the work of the Janet S. Munt Family Room, the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice’s Parent Child Center. Thanks to the generosity of event sponsors, raffle prize donors and our guests, this year’s event brought in more than $32,500 to benefit the many Family Room programs offered for free to over 400 families and their children from birth to age six.
Guests enjoyed a luncheon as UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice staff, board members and community friends modeled fashions from SportStyle, Ecco Clothes, Spellbound, Men’s Wearhouse and Wylie Sophia Garcia. Models included Hal Colston, director of the Partnership for Change; Lori McBride, UVM women’s basketball head coach; and Hawa Sheikh, a former Family Room parent and current Americorps We All Belong volunteer, just to name a few!
The 2015 UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice Cares for Children award was given to Rick Davis and The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice Cares for Children Award was created to recognize individuals, organizations or groups who demonstrate a passionate commitment to better the lives of our community’s children.
“Rick Davis and The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children believe that investing in the early years of a child’s life reaps great dividends and saves significantly on special education and other social service costs down the road,” said UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice CEO Judy Peterson. “They know that the early years matter!”
The Family Room recently hosted a press conference where Davis joined Governor Peter Shumlin and Mayor Miro Weinberger to announce Burlington’s new early learning initiative. The Permanent Fund has committed $122,000 for the initial planning stage of this pilot project that features home visiting for pregnant mothers and new parents, scholarships for high quality child care and a focus on rigorous evaluation of these efforts.
Davis said he co-founded the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children in 2001 with a goal to create a path out of multi-generational poverty by making sure every Vermont child has access to high quality and affordable early care and education. Davis argued that Vermont can’t afford not to help children out of generational poverty; when children aren’t ready for school, they aren’t ready for the workforce, he said.
“You have to include parents in the equation because the most important relationship a young child has is with his parents. Nobody in the state of Vermont does this better than the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice Family Room … I encourage everyone here to visit the Family Room and see what goes on there. It really will warm your heart,” Davis said.
Davis made a special $5,000 gift to the Family Room to support the “Grow with Me” summer gardening program, which will provide 50 families with children birth to six years old with access to gardens at the historic Ethan Allen Homestead. The Family Room has a goal to match The Permanent Fund’s gift and raise $10,000 by June to cover bus transportation and gardening supplies for low-income families. Many of the participants are New Americans and recently resettled refugees and the garden is a place for community building and cultural sharing. To make a gift to the “Grow with Me” Challenge visit www.vnacares.org/donate or call Ellen Kane at 802-860-4486.
“All of you here help us grow strong families and strong communities,” said Family Room Program Manager Samantha Stevens. “Thank you.”
A special thanks to all of this years’ Spring Blooms! Fashion Show models: Nancy Barnes, Jillian Bartolo, Kristin Carlson, Hal Colston, Pat Donehower, Evan Goldsmith, Mikey van Gulden, Hannah Kirkpatirck, Michell Langlais, Dale Loeffler, Steve MacQueen, Lori McBride, Judy Peterson, Ellen Kane, Hawa Sheikh and Kevin Veller. The event would not have been possible without support from our sponsors, led by Hanson & Doremus Investment Management and including major support from Bergeron, Paradis and Fitzpatrick, Dinse Knapp and McAndrew, Dousevicz Real Estate, Northfield Savings Bank, Peregrine Design Build, Pines Senior Living Community and Queen City Printers.
About the Family Room
The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice Family Room Parent Child Center is a program of the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. Established in 1988, the Family Room has a mission to prevent child abuse and neglect and to enhance school readiness. Early childhood services are provided at no cost to families including playgroups, infant and toddler programs, preschool, as well as parenting education and support, including connecting families to community resources and providing crisis intervention. Learn more at www.vnacares.org/familyroom.
About the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice
The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice is a 109-year-old non-profit home health and hospice agency caring for people of all ages – from critically ill children to vulnerable families to adults who need rehabilitation, care for chronic illness, adult day services or end-of-life care. The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice provides medically-necessary home and community-based care to individuals and families regardless of their ability to pay. The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice serves over 5,000 individuals and families in Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties each year. The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice is proud to be a funded agency of the United Way of Chittenden County. For more information on UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice services and programs, please contact the UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice at (802) 658-1900 or visit www.vnacares.org.