Mentoring program receives $50k COVID-19 grant

DREAM mentees visit the Bennington Museum in the summer of 2019.

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BURLINGTON — Mentor Vermont has awarded 24 grants, totaling $347,850, to support youth mentoring programs throughout the state. The funds will support more than 100 new and existing program sites, and nearly 1,500 adult-to-youth mentor pairs in communities across Vermont.

Mentor Vermont awarded two grants to agencies that support youth living in Bennington County: a grant of $25,100 to The DREAM Program, a statewide mentoring agency that pairs college students from Bennington College with youth living in affordable housing communities; and a $10,000 grant to United Counseling Service to support the Mentoring at UCS program, which supports youth throughout Bennington County.

“This funding will help us keep the Mentoring at UCS program functioning during this challenging time,” said Kheya Ganguly, assistant director of youth and family services at United Counseling Service. “Now more than ever our youth need support. Many face increased isolation because of the pandemic and rely on their mentoring relationship for socialization.”

Mentor Vermont also made seven grants to other agencies and schools that support youth in the surrounding counties:

$60,000 to Everybody Wins! Vermont, a statewide mentoring agency that coordinates a literacy-based mentoring program at the White River School and the Neshobe School;

$30,750 to support the Mentor Connector’s community-based mentoring program that serves youth throughout Rutland County;

$12,250 to Windsor County Mentors to support the Let’s Do Lunch and Partners Always Lend Support programs throughout Windsor County;

$9,500 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont, which supports youth throughout the county through its central office in Brattleboro;

$4,000 to Windsor Central Supervisory Union to support the Empower Up! Program;

$4,000 to the Safer Society Foundation to support the New Circle mentoring program, which supports youth in Rutland and Addison counties who are affected by having an incarcerated family member; and

$2,500 to the Collaborative, to support its mentoring program at Flood Brook Elementary.

The Vermont Mentoring Grants have traditionally been made possible through support from the A.D. Henderson Foundation and the Vermont Department for Children and Families. This year’s grants also include funding from the Vermont Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. With social distancing orders affecting the lives of young people and limiting their connections with caring adults, now is a critical time to maintain relationships between mentors and mentees. This year’s grants are prioritizing the work that mentoring organizations around the state are doing to continue to adapt to COVID-19 and safely provide services.

Through the 2020-2021 Vermont Mentoring Grants, MENTOR Vermont has awarded 24 grants to agencies, schools and districts/supervisory unions, and independent non-profits throughout the state, including:

Statewide: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont; The DREAM Program; and Everybody Wins! Vermont.

Multiple counties: The Collaborative (Bennington, Windham, and Windsor counties); Franklin County Caring Communities (Franklin and Grand Isle counties); New Circle Mentoring Program/Safer Society Foundation (Addison and Rutland counties); Spectrum Mentoring/Spectrum Youth and Family Services (Chittenden and Grand Isle counties); and Migrant Youth Mentoring/University of Vermont Extension (primarily northern and western Vermont).

Addison County: Mt. Abraham Unified School District.

Bennington County: Mentoring at UCS/United Counseling Service.

Chittenden County: Connecting Youth Mentoring/Champlain Valley School District; Maker Mentor Program/Generator; King Street Center’s Junior Senior Buddies; Milton Mentors/Milton Community Youth Coalition; SB Mentoring/South Burlington School District; and Crossroads: Where Cultures Meet/U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (Vermont).

Grand Isle County: Grand Isle County Mentoring.

Orange County: The Mentoring Project of the Upper Valley.

Rutland County: The Mentor Connector.

Washington County: Cabot Mentoring; Twinfield Together Mentoring Program; and Girls/Boyz First Mentoring.

Windsor County: Empower Up!/Windsor Central Supervisory Union; and Windsor County Mentors.

For more information about the Vermont mentoring grants and this year’s award recipients, visit


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