About

Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT) is a substance misuse prevention coalition focused on supporting Bennington-area youth in making healthy choices.

Vision

ACT envisions a safe, supportive, and healthy Bennington.

Mission

ACT empowers communities to act in collaboration to prevent youth substance use and reduce substance use across all ages and promote greater wellness and long-term health in the greater Bennington area.

We Believe…

  • All children are good.
  • All children matter.
  • Children are an important part of our community. Substance misuse can impact their ability to contribute.
  • Parents and caregivers have the greatest influence on the children they care for.
  • Everyone can make healthy choices. ACT will provide support to community members in making healthy choices and delaying first time substance use.
  • Prevention is the best treatment.
  • Knowledge is power! ACT will empower the community by providing clear and accurate information.
  • ACT does not discriminate. Our support will be available to all community members.

Who We Are

ACT Staff

Dare Chammings
Director

Alyssa Irizarry
Projects Coordinator

Executive Committee

Kim Phillips-Rodrigue, Bennington Center for Restorative Justice
Coalition Chair

Jenna Caslin, Bennington County Child Advocacy Center
Vice Chair

Dawn Campbell, SVSU
Secretary

Ryan Scutt, Southwest Vermont Career Development Center
Member-at-Large

ACT engages with 12 sectors of the community to reduce youth substance use. These sectors are: Parents, Youth, Education/Schools, State or Local Government, Media, Businesses, Law Enforcement, Youth-Serving Organizations, Religious/Fraternal Organizations, Volunteer Organizations, Healthcare Professionals and Other Substance Abuse Prevention Organizations.

Sector leaders come from different areas in our community but do not represent all people, entities, or businesses that are in the same “sector.” Sector Leaders advise ACT on various tasks and projects and serve as a liaison to their networks. Our current sector leaders are:

  • Business: Nancy Koziol, couch + cork
  • Civic/Volunteer: Katrina Hastings, John G. McCullough Free Library
  • Faith/Fraternal: Jake Stone, Mission City Church
  • Government: Shannon Barsotti, Town of Bennington
  • Healthcare: Kristi Cross, Bayada
  • Law Enforcement: Ben Lackey, Bennington Police Department
  • Media: Ryan Scutt, Southwest Tech
  • Parent: Kayla Becker, Bennington Rec Center
  • School: Glauke Cooijmans, Mt. Anthony Union Middle School
  • Substance Abuse: Maryann Morris, The Collaborative
  • Youth: Sophia Anisman, MAU
  • Youth Serving Org: Leitha Cipriano, Center for Restorative Justice

Want to join the coalition? Any individual, business, or organization can become a member! Learn more here.

ACT’s History

The Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT), formerly the Tobacco-Free Community Partners or TFCP, was created in 1995 in partnership with Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s Community Health Improvement Programs to address community needs around tobacco prevention. At the time, the rates of tobacco use, especially among youth, were very high. A group formed to address tobacco prevention and treatment in the region.

In 2011, the coalition changed its name to the Alliance for Community Transformations and expanded its areas of focus. The new name and broader focus allowed for a multi-faceted approach to population health through the lens of community engagement, education, advocacy, and healthy community design.

ACT has successfully engaged the region in the adoption of policies and provision of education on issues relating to tobacco use, substance abuse, and healthy community design. Our coalition has consistently delivered relevant programming and initiatives towards building healthier communities including the adoption of policies establishing smoke-free parks in the town of Bennington; the implementation of a campus-wide smoking policy for all of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center; smoking policies for the State Office Building in Bennington, Bennington College, and all three major public housing authorities in the region.

In 2018-2019, ACT transferred fiduciary agents to The Collaborative. The two organizations work closely on substance-free programming and projects throughout Bennington County.

Currently, ACT is in year 6 of the federal Drug-Free Communities Support Grant which provides funding to address substance abuse and use through environmental strategies.