Our overarching mission is to help communities rediscover what they used to know how to do – take care of their own. Our community reinvigorating work produces invaluable peace of mind and in 2014 over $1,200,000 worth of free volunteer-generated economic value for our Vermont families in need.
We are a lean and effective, mostly volunteer-powered non-profit that helps people in need in the NEK, the area with the highest state poverty, and Washington and Orange counties. We work closely with other non-profits and help people in ways that they can’t due to some of their limitations.
Our Beginnings: On a 20-below-zero January morning in 2004, only weeks since notification of approval of our $35,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2-year start-up grant, four hardy seniors and as many volunteers began our first Senior Adventure Morning Program. Since then we have added over a dozen other services and programs, 350 volunteers and – in November of 2007 on a leap of faith – opening a pilot “Northeast Kingdom” satellite office to serve Vermont’s three poorest, most rural and neediest counties, which are a designated Federal REAP zone. All this to help our neighbors in need, seniors and the disabled remain in their beloved homes and communities actively, healthily, happily, safely and for as long as possible. There is no charge for our neighborly services, which we deliver at an operating cost of under $3.00 per hour in 53 Vermont towns and villages in 5 counties. The life-giving, sometimes life-saving, successes of our volunteers to provide, augment, extend and leverage existing social services for Vermont’s growing elderly, disabled and other neighbors in need is a critical component to Vermont’s local service and supplemental food distribution matrix.
Regional and Statewide Leadership: Under a $42,000, 2006 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant with $10,000 matching funds from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DIAL), we founded, are fiscal agents for and continue to lead the now 18 member Northern New England Volunteer Caregivers’ Network (NNEVCN). This network consists of programs in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. We have just completed a two-year, $80,000 Jessie B Cox Trust grant in which we are building cooperation, sharing best practices and have developed a toolkit for starting or expanding similar programs for which our NEK office is the paradigmatic example.
Our neighborly volunteer services include (but are not limited to)
- Transportation to medical and other appointments.
- Seniors’ Adventure Enrichment Programs
- Respite time for caregivers
- Friendly visiting and telephone support
- Handyman-type home repairs and ramps
- Seniors’ Handiwork Socials
- Community Nurse Program
- Food Share Pantry and off-site 5,000 lb food distributions
- Global Campus Disabled Person Programs
- Referrals to other service providers
- Food Share volunteer farm-gardens
- Help with shopping and reading
- Creative and instructional programs
- NEK Disabled Drop-in Center