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By the way for October 17

Vergennes Union High School students and staff members got an unexpected day off without a snowstorm on Wednesday. A snafu involving the school’s new heating system led to an odor that officials likened to burning rubber spreading throughout the building. Officials first thought a two-hour delay would be enough to clear the air of a smell they said can cause headaches, but said it returned when doors and windows were closed and the heat was turned back on. They said new heating units arrived with a protective sealant that was supposed to have been completely burned off when weather was warmer, but that initial burn-off proved to be inadequate. All was supposed to be well for Thursday.
 
Right now, there are children in our community who need your help. They don’t need your money — just your time and attention. Become a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), a trained, court-appointed community volunteer who looks out for the best interests of a child. Abused and neglected children with GAL volunteers spend less time in foster care and do better in school, thus making a significant difference in their lives. To be a Guardian ad Litem, you needn’t have any special experience — just a willingness to volunteer your free time, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and passion for helping vulnerable children. There’s currently a shortage of GALs in Vermont. The next training sessions will take place Oct. 19, 26 and Nov. 2. For more information or an application, visit vermontjudiciary.org/GAL, email [email protected], or call 802-828-0625.
 
Bristol’s Have-a-Heart Food Shelf needs new volunteers once a month and for occasional food drives. Food organizing and packing occurs monthly, on a Thursday, from approximately 4-5 p.m. Distribution occurs one Friday a month from around 4:45-6:30 p.m. Please call Becky Price at 453-3187 or Kathy Burritt at 453-2453 for the schedule and more information. The Have-a-Heart Food Shelf has been operating in the St. Ambrose Catholic Church hall since 1990 and continues to serve hungry folks in the Bristol five-town area. It is a non-denominational service — all in need are welcome. It is a volunteer-run, community supported service. In related news, the Starksboro Volunteer Fire Department will hold a food drive at its station this Saturday, Oct. 20, from 8-11 a.m., to benefit the food shelf.
 
Are you interested in helping your community while earning a little money? Join the Charter House Coalition in providing a safe, welcoming and warm space for folks who are homeless. The collation is looking for people to provide overnight staffing each night of the week during the winter season, which began this past Monday, Oct. 15. Shifts are from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., at an hourly wage of $11.50. The Winter Shelter, to be offered through April 22, 2019, will house up to 36 guests each night, including up to a half-dozen families. Responsibilities include overseeing the safety and security of guests, general housekeeping, and administrative/management tasks. Staff is expected to stay awake through the night. Training will be provided, and prior experience in supporting individuals under stress and those with mental illness or substance abuse challenges is desirable. Email resumé to [email protected] with the subject line “CHC shelter staff.”
 
Everybody Wins! VT at Mary Hogan Elementary School is still looking for reading mentors. There are currently more than 25 children on the wait list for a reading mentor. Everybody Wins! Vermont is a statewide, nonprofit, children’s literacy and mentoring program. Mentors read with a child at Mary Hogan Elementary School during lunchtime, one day a week. Together, you explore books and literacy activities and build a meaningful friendship, within the school setting. The mentor helps a child build strong self-esteem, reading skills, and a lifelong love of books. The time commitment is less than one hour per week (and our program is very flexible when you have other obligations and time commitments). The program runs through April. For more information about becoming a reading mentor, visit everybodywinsvermont.org, or email Angela at: [email protected].
 
Join members of the Middlebury College Page One Literacy Project for their Annual Youth Halloween Party, featuring arts & crafts, reading, games, and food, along with some of the Spooky attractions. It will be held at the Swift House Inn from noon-2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28. Costumes encouraged!

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