Letter: Easterseals Vermont fills many needs

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To the Editor:

Before I knew what Easterseals Vermont really did, I always thought of Easterseals as some old-timey charity that sold stamps or something when I was a kid. I remember the pictures of disabled children and the seals that people would put on Easter cards. I also thought that Easterseals Vermont was just a part of a bigger, national non-profit. I couldn't have been more wrong.

There are more than 1,400 children in foster care in the state of Vermont. Teens who are in foster care are at a higher risk for homelessness, unemployment, and lower educational potential. The Easterseals Vermont Youth Development Program's goal is to make certain that teens who are leaving the foster care system in Vermont have the opportunity to "rise above risk factors, find resilience, and not only survive, but thrive."

This program partners with youth, rather than just instructing them, and helps them find their interests, develop skills, locate opportunities and help them turn their dreams into plans. Local Youth Development Coordinators connect with these teens and give them the support that most youth find within their family support system.

For more than 30 years, Easterseals VT has been the state's lead agency for Family Support Services by working to find family-centered solutions to challenges parents and their children face. These services include Child and Family Supports, Post-Permanency, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Balanced and Restorative Justice, and the Youth Development Program.

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To carry out this critical work, Easterseals VT has developed a strong partnership with the Department of Children and Families, and works diligently to ensure our approach aligns with best practices in child welfare in order to deliver maximum impact to the people we serve.

To learn more about Easterseals Vermont or to volunteer visit Eastersealsvt.org or call 802-371-8053.

Michelle Kennedy Hogan,

Chelsea

The writer is assistant director of development for Easterseals Vermont.


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