A number of organizations make up the volunteer network
The United Way of Addison County and RSVP each have their own mission, support a number of community initiatives and lead some of their own. These programs are always in need of volunteer support.
UNITED WAY OF ADDISON COUNTY
The mission of the United Way of Addison County is to improve individual lives and strengthen our community for positive change by focusing on health, education and financial stability. They identify countywide community needs, develop strategies to meet those needs, raise funds to support or implement those strategies and measure the results of those investments. They have served the Addison County community for more than four decades.
Most people know the United Way for their annual community fundraising campaign. The resources gained during the campaign support local health and human services programs and initiatives in Addison County, funding over 30 programs every year.
FAST TAX/AARP Tax Preparation
The Volunteer Center and RSVP also collaborate to offer a free tax program for community members. They partner with myfreetaxes.com, a self preparation website that allows filers who made less than $62,000 to file online anytime, anywhere for free. Around 70 percent of U.S. tax filers are eligible to file their state and federal taxes for free through this program.
MyFreeTaxes is the most cost efficient way for community members to maximize returns and ensure that they receive all of the tax credits they are eligible for without a paying a tax preparer. Filers needing extra assistance may also make an appointment with a trained volunteers at the United Way of Addison County in Middlebury. This year, they have seven trained volunteers and will help at least 100 community members file through My Free Taxes.
They also partner with AARP to schedule and prepare tax returns at sites in Vergennes, Bristol and Middlebury. This program is in conjunction with the IRS initiative known as Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). Special attention is given to seniors, the disabled, and any low to moderate income filer who cannot take advantage of our My Free Taxes program. This program also has seven volunteer tax aides and expects to complete over 400 returns.
The United Way of Addison County partners with Everybody Wins! Vermont to provide reading mentors to read with primary school students. The mission of Everybody Wins! is to create mentoring relationships that foster a love of reading and language.
Through the Power Breakfast and Power Lunch programs, adult volunteers are paired with students at local elementary schools to promote reading for pleasure, to build the children’s self-confidence and enhance their self-esteem, and to serve as caring role models. The pairs meet weekly to share books and develop lasting relationships.
Since opening the first two sites in Barre and Rutland in October of 2000, Everybody Wins! Vermont has grown to become Vermont’s largest mentoring organization. In 2013-2014, almost 700 children read with mentors at 25 school sites in Vermont.
Community Impact Funding Committee
The Community Impact Funding (CIF) Process is a community-based grant program where members evaluate financial sustainability, governance, program design and outcomes of non-profit agencies seeking United Way funding. Non-profit agencies doing work in the county in the areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability are invited to apply for funding. The review process includes looking at and evaluating financial sustainability, governance, program design and outcomes.
The Community Impact Funding committee is comprised of 30-50 community representatives who review and meet with agencies, review the applications and make funding recommendations to the Board of Directors. The committee is divided into three impact teams: Healthy & Independent Living, Education, and Financial Stability. Each team is assigned specific agencies or programs to review.
Ultimately, the CIF committee determines how the funds United Way raises will be distributed throughout the committee.
In addition to serving as a volunteer management program for individuals who are 55 or older, RSVP also coordinates several programs that allow individuals to stay healthy, engaged, and financially stable. These include the Green Mountain Foster Grandparent Program, Bone Builders Classes and the aforementioned Tax Assistance Program. The programs strengthen the community through service and and allow Addison County residents to successfully age in place.
RSVP’s Green Mountain Foster Grandparent Program
2016 marks the 50th year of the Green Mountain Foster Grandparent Program in Vermont! Funded through the Corporation for National & Community Service, Foster Grandparents are role models, mentors, and friends to children and youth in the community. The program provides a way for volunteers age 55 and over to stay active, earn supplemental income and provide social, emotional and academic support to many children in our community. Participants receive a tax-free stipend for serving between 15 and 40 hours per week.
Foster Grandparents are a vital addition to schools, day care centers and after-school programs throughout Vermont. The volunteers are greatly appreciated by students, teachers and administrators alike, and develop a strong feeling of fulfillment. The Green Mountain Foster Grandparent Program has consistently earned high marks, and continues to grow in our county.
The Bone Builders Program
Bone Builders is free osteoporosis prevention exercise program taught by RSVP trained and certified volunteer instructors. Currently, more than 70 instructors work together to lead two classes per week at 24 donated sites in Addison County. Their newest location is the newly completed Middlebury Recreation Center on Creek Road, meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. Last year over 250 men and women attended the classes in Addison County.
The RSVP Bone Builders Program was developed 15 years ago by the RSVP Program in Rutland. Since that time, the program has become a model throughout the United States. It was designed to help improve strength, balance and flexibility and prevent and reverse osteoporosis, reducing the incidence of bone fractures.
In Vermont, health care costs for osteoporosis related hip fractures are estimated at $90,000 per fracture, not to mention lack of independence and fatality rate that often accompanies these fractures. Vermont has a growing number of men and women over the age of 50 who are retired or nearing retirement and living on a fixed income.
By Participating in the free Bone Builders classes twice weekly, participants gain bone density, muscle strength, balance, flexibility, energy, and wellbeing. Participants also greatly enjoy the companionship, support, social connection (and fun!) that comes with attending class regularly. The program continues to grow with new participants, volunteer leaders and classes starting all the time!
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