Home News and Features Community and Business News in Brief, Mar. 6, 2024

Community and Business News in Brief, Mar. 6, 2024

Montpelier Alive Executive Director Katie Trautz speaks at the first of three flood recovery forums in August 2023. Photo by John Lazenby.

Katie Trautz: One of USA Today’s Women of the Year

Congratulations to Montpelier Alive Executive Director Katie Trautz, who was recently named as one of USA Today’s “Women of the Year” for her work helping the community respond to — and recover from — the devastating July 2023 flooding. 

“One of my proudest moments is watching Montpelier come back after the flood and wandering the streets and noticing how vibrant it actually feels now compared to four or five months ago. And really feeling the community spirit that brought us to where we are,” Trautz says in a Feb. 29 USA Today article.

—Cassandra Hemenway

Barre Community Justice Center Seeks Volunteers

The Barre Community Justice Center is seeking volunteers for its Circle of Support and Accountability (COSA) program, which provides support to individuals transitioning back into the community after incarceration.

The center is hosting informational sessions for potential volunteers on Monday, March 11, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Monday, March 18, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Both sessions are identical. RSVP by emailing cosa@barrecjc.org.  If you cannot attend a session, call 802-272-7478 to learn how you can join a COSA team.

The program has a proven record of reducing recidivism, contributing to community safety, and preventing re-
incarceration. Circle of support teams, comprising volunteers, a core member (offender), and a reentry coordinator (staff), convene weekly for an hour to support the core member during their crucial first year of re-entry. 

The Barre Community Justice Center currently has a pressing need for new volunteers due to high demand that surpasses current volunteer capacity. Training will be provided for interested volunteers. The majority of participants in this program are male and the Center is seeking both male and female volunteers. 

For additional information about the Barre Community Justice Center visit barrecjc.org. 

—press release

Feed Every Need Helps Fight Hunger in Central Vermont

For the past three years, Jonathan and Lisa Burr, owners of The Woods Lodge, have been developing and perfecting systems, processes, and recipes designed to meet the needs of those being served by the Vermont Everyone Eats and Vermont Emergency Eats programs. Their involvement in these programs gave them a firsthand look at the impact that making prepared meals available to the community has had, and also showed that a reliable and sustainable resource was needed to address this, now and into the future. In response, the Burrs established a new nonprofit, called Feed Every Need in Northfield.

Feed Every Need currently delivers nearly 800 meals per week to more than 10 different organizations in Washington and Lamoille counties, which then distribute them to their communities. There are plans in place for Feed Every Need to assist more communities in need, exploring the possibility of adding home delivery for those who may not have access to distribution sites, and scaling up production to reach more households.

“We are hoping that Feed Every Need can become a permanent resource for the much-needed prepared meals facet in the fight against hunger and food insecurity,” said Jonathan Burr, co-founder of Feed Every Need.

Many Vermonters who are unable to use food-shelf items such as canned goods and fresh produce because of their living situations, or merely because of a lack of time or ability to prepare meals, can find themselves empty-handed. Prepared meals are a key component in the ecosystem of food security work, be it post-crisis or day to day. With help from a private donor, Feed Every Need has been able to springboard its startup and begin working with partners that serve low- and moderate-income Vermonters.

“Our partnership with Feed Every Need is a natural fit and critically aligned with our mission, providing a service that is rooted in dignity and equity. Their prepared meals allow us to extend our reach, particularly in rural areas where easy access to food is more complex,” said Casey Engels, special projects manager for Capstone Community Action.

—press release

Montpelier Alive Announces 2024 Downtown Event Grants Program

Applications are open for Montpelier Alive’s 2024 Downtown Events grant program,  funded in part from Montpelier’s Downtown Improvement District. In this round, $7,000 is available, with a maximum award of $2,000 per applicant. Funding will be granted to individuals and/or entities to create a program, festival, or event held before April 1, 2025, which will promote and enhance the vibrancy of downtown Montpelier. 

Applications are especially encouraged for events that celebrate the diversity of our community and those produced by BIPOC-led or focused organizations. Montpelier Alive is especially interested to see an event focused on MLK and Junteenth, or other culturally significant event proposals in the mix! New Year’s Eve events will have a separate grant application process, opening in the summer.

Grantees will receive: a cash award, event consulting services from Montpelier Alive staff, enhanced promotional support from Montpelier Alive, access to Montpelier Alive’s event lending library, and more. 

Grant applications can be found at montpelieralive.org/eventgrant, and must
be submitted electronically on or before Friday, April 14 at 5 p.m.

—press release

Five Change Makers Join EmpowR Transformation

Rae Carter, founder, and Saudia LaMont, founding advisor, of EmpowR Transformation announce five Vermont change makers joining the group, creating the EmpowR Transformation Web of Change Makers. The group’s intention is to strengthen EmpowR’s services to bridge organizational change with mental health for effective relationship, community, and culture building work. 

“We believe this approach is foundational for people and organizations to build the capacity and humanity to navigate the complexity of equity-based transformational change,” shares Saudia LaMont who has been a facilitator and advisor with EmpowR Transformation since 2021. She is a racial equity consultant who owns 3 Op’s Consulting (Optimism/Options/Opportunities) as well as being a Vermont Legislator representing the Lamoille/Washington District.

Joining EmpowR are: 

Anna Howes Gebhardt as a facilitator and practitioner, and a Burlington-based educator, activist, and owner of Anna Howes Personal Transformation and Whole Family Healing. 

Dr. Elliot Ruggles as an advisor and practitioner. They are a Grand Isle-based sexuality professional and clinical social worker specializing in recovery from and prevention of sexual and gender-based harm at the University of Vermont. 

Mia Moore as a collaborator and facilitator; she is a Montpelier-based owner and principal of Mia Moore Consulting, working with managers and executives in equity-centered team leadership.

Mitch Pauley as a facilitator. He is a Plainfield-based special education educator, emotional health specialist, and equity advocate.

Shanda Williams as an advisor and collaborator. She is a Montpelier-based small business visionary, equity advocate, reparations activist, BIPOC community advocate, and owner of SD Communications & Marketing Consulting Group, LLC. 

—press release