Coalition Meeting Minutes

October 19, 2018

ACT Coalition Meeting Minutes | October 19, 2018

VDH Community Room | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.



In Attendance: Melissa Mears (ESD), Ben Lackey (Bennington Police Dept.), Lenora Volkner (GMRSVP), Ken Sigsbury (TPC), Rachel Newton (VDH), Justine Fortune (TPC), Ryan Scutt (CAT-TV), Zirwat Chowdhury (Town of Bennington), Mark Shin (MAUMS), Kim Phillips (CRJ), Dare Meunier (ACT), T.J. Anania (ACT/ VISTA)









  • Spirit of sharing applications are out and available at Economic Services Dept. Anyone who wishes to donate to ACT or become part of a shopping team for ACT please watch for further email updates from Dare.



  • Turning Point Center is working with Dept. of Corrections on new program to refer people to TPC for recovery and treatment. 18 and up. TPC working to get folks into treatment within the week.
  • Applying for Vermont Community Fund grant to establish scholarship program for nature’s classroom.



  • Just applied for a grant for “Youth Empowerment Program” formerly known as Summer of Fun. The grant is to expand program this summer, specifically transportation to and from Bennington for youth.
    • The town may be able to help arrange Green Mountain Express rides.
    • Approach colleges for transportation needs. They have larger vans.
  • Speaking at Bennington college on October 28.
  • November 8 at 7 p.m. CRJ and Vet’s Home will be screening the documentary Coming Home for free. Contact Kim if you wish to help out with that.
    • For future screenings let’s compile a list or series of screenings and approach Old Castle Theatre for a Winter Series.
  • 3rd annual Turkey Trot is coming up. This year the target is 20 families. Kim will send info to coalition via Dare. Be on the lookout.



  • Puerto Rico documentary on November 2. Tickets on sale through CAT TV Facebook page. $25 tickets to benefit CAT-TV and the ongoing relief efforts in PR.
  • If you want to know more about the SVSU vaping policy, head to the CAT-TV youtube page and search for policy committee hearing.



  • Working together with GBICS and Ken from Turning Point to hold a couple classes on how to make bread. Will push out a few months past the holiday season for logistical reasons.



  • Conference about post-legalization of marijuana with Jason Kilmer was insightful. Waiting on the slides from the conference, but will likely give presentation to the coalition in the near future. Also touches on the new CBD aspect.


  • Teen Room Challenge project will be debuting at MAUMS Parent Night 11/15. The Collaborative will also be there with additional vaping information boards.




The coalition decided to go with the typeface and design of the black and white design. For color purposes, we like the turquoise (middle).


Transition Update:


BCRC has granted ACT a 6 month extension. We need to focus on building a strong board and getting MOUs and CIAs in. Please if you have yet to get yours in (MOUs for members and CIAs for Sector leaders, please do so.)


Office change: ACTs lease at the Lightning Jar expires in December. We’re looking the Baptist Church, the Harvest Christian youth ministries, or behind CRJ offices for office space.


Call to Action:

  • Ad-hoc Fundraising Committee: Dare to send out an email to the coalition. Need to start raising funds.


  • Battle of the Bands Planning. Already have two youth ready to be involved. Need some more support from coalition members.


  • Member Recruitment: First member to recruit a new member will get a $10 gift card to a restaurant of their choice.


  • Dept. of Liquor Control handouts: Need to be distributed to alcohol and tobacco retailers in the area.


  • Could we think about doing another sticker shock in the near future but with electronic tobacco items instead of alcohol?


  • Youth Appreciation Day planning to start soon. Be on the lookout for further updates.


  • Possible Veteran’s Day Ice Cream Social? On November 11.
    • Contact Stewart’s.


Prepared by T.J. Anania, ACT VISTA October 2018

July 13, 2018


Catamount Connections | 504 Main St, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.



In attendance: Zirwat Chowdhury (Town of Bennington), Keith Carey (Gamer’s Grotto), Valerie Coulter (Bennington Foster Parent Association), Lori Myran (Catamount Connections), Cindy Krautheim (At-Large), Kathy O’Reily (VDH), Ken Sigsbury (Turning Point Center), Jessica Wilbur (UCS – Head Start), Yolanda Palmer (UCS – YFS), Rose Morrison (Catamount Connections), Sarah Truax (Catamount Connections VISTA), Dee Oakes (MAUHS – Youth Rep), Maryann Morris (The Collaborative)


Regrets: Beth Sausville (DCF), Jennifer Fels (Blueprint for Health & SVMC),  Mark Shin (SVSU), Melissa Mears (ESD), Kayla Becker (Catamount Connections, United Way), Kim Phillips (CRJ)




Garlic Updates from Keith:

  • Need ideas for kids tent at Garlic Fest:
    • Stress balls
    • Sensory water bottles. Going with this one so save your water bottles.
    • Big blue blocks that were present at Mayfest
  • Not necessarily a coalition tabling event, but Keith will double check with Matt Harrington and the Chamber about this and putting up extra substance-free signage.
  • Chamber would like coalition to scan I.D.’s at the entrance. Too much liability for coalition, but possibly let chamber borrow our scanner, and suggest free online course provided by Dept. of Liquor Control to them.


Call to action: Garlic Fest Labor Day Weekend. Need coalition volunteers to help at the kids tent on Saturday. Volunteers also get in at a discounted (possibly free) rate.

  • Yolanda will check with UCS staff.
  • Cindy and Dee (pending parental approval) will volunteer.
  • Any further volunteers will check in with Keith.

Call for a motion to approve April, May, and June minutes by Ken.

  • Cindy to second.
  • Motion voted on and passed.


Updates from Dee on the Governor’s institute on current issues.

  • Over 70 youth 14-18 y/o’s attended conference on identity, racism, and justice.
  • Broke up into smaller work groups to talk about issues and about how to further activist initiatives in their own schools.
  • Dee plans on meeting with school administration about how to incorporate activist initiatives in MAU and into learning programs.


Updates from Maryann on our Regional Prevention Partnership.

  • Work with state police to train restaurant staffs to identify fake I.D.’s and how to identify people that are at risk of being over served.
  • Teen Room Challenge- Collaborative and Career Development Center to set up their own teen room challenge, but with a slightly positive spin. Identifying signs of substance use and asset identification.
  • Further forums about LGBTQ issues in Benn. Co.


UCS Host Homes announcement by Yolanda.

  • New temporary housing program from UCS. Can sign up to be a host home (sign a one-year contract) and host transitioning youth for up to 21 days while their case is actively managed by UCS.


Asset identification updates from Cindy.

  • Needs identification.
  • Build community agency within communities by identifying what they have, what they need, and filling in the gaps.


Green space use discussion.

  • How to get youth to better and more frequently use town green space?
  • Address the stigma of youths that hang out downtown.
  • Are more pop ups the answer? With teen bands (The Throwbacks).
  • Possible creation of a Pop-up workgroup led by Kathy.


More Upcoming events:

  • Garlic Fest Labor Day Weekend
  • .5 K from Catamount Connection to Merchant’s park
  • Rise Vermont Shared Calendar
  • Rise VT & ACT youth drop in on Disc Golf, August 6


Prepared by T.J. Anania, ACT VISTA

June 1, 2018


VDH Community Room | 324 Main St, 8:00-10:00 am


In attendance: Ben Lackey (Bennington PD), Sean Morin (DoL), Michelle Morrocco (BCRC & ACT), Yolanda Palmer (UCS), Keith Carey (Gamers Grotto), Maryann Morris (The Collaborative), Ryan Scutt (CAT-TV), T.J. Anania (VISTA & ACT), Caitlin Harrington (Sunrise Family Resource Center), Melissa Mears (ESD), Bob Wiegers (First Baptist Church), Zirwat Chowdhury (Town of Bennington), Kayla Becker (Catamount Connections), Kimberly Phillips (Bennington CRJ), Kathy O’Reilly (VDH)
Regrets: Liz Fenwick (Lions)


Minutes approval & Bylaws – waiting due to not having enough people in attendance

Action Plan Progress: We are doing very well with our Action Plan; if anyone would like a copy, please email Dare (

DFC Visit: July 9-10 – Dare will follow up and reach out to see if any visits can/should happen while they are visiting

Call to Action: Volunteers needed for Stark St. Pop Up, Garlic Fest

  • Keith is Co-chair of Kids Tent; 10-5 Sat & Sun; 4 hour volunteer shift: get free entry
  • Will figure out what else is needed for Garlic Fest
  • Stark Street:

July Meeting

  • Discussion of date/time/venue options
  • Summer is challenging due to schedules and first Friday is the week of July 4
  • Other options: July 13
  • Possibly at Catamount Connections (decided yes) to have child watch; during lunchtime


CADCA Training in July: no rep this year, maybe in Feb.


Youth Rep Confirmed: Dee Oakes (yay!!) – also very active with OutrightVT


VT to Puerto Rico Documentary: June 6 at 6 pm at The Laumeister Art Center

  • Ryan Scutt went on trip to Puerto Rico with local builder, Jim Goodine, CDC students, and other volunteers. (24 people) They went to rebuild homes, Ryan was also documenting the trip – turning it into documentary and a longer film (later). New experience for many students: travel, help, building, video production and much more. Fundraiser at the show and additional fundraising to help them continue the work there – and go back next year.


Community Survey: looking to get more input


More Upcoming Events

  • SVMC Centennial Celebration: June 10 at SVMC
  • Stark St Playground Pop Up Event! June 16 & 17 at Stark St
  • Bridges Out of Poverty, June 22, Sacred Heart

Prepared by Kayla Becker, ACT Secretary June 2018

May 4, 2018


VDH Community Room | 324 Main St, 8:00-10:00 am


In attendance:  Kayla Becker (Catamount Connections & United Way), Michelle Marrocco (BCRC & ACT), Zirwat Chowdhury (Town of Bennington), Keith Carey (Gamer’s Grotto), _____
Regrets: Liz Fenwick (Lions)


Minutes approval & Bylaws – waiting due to not having enough people in attendance

Fiscal Sponsor

  • transferring to TPC; Dan Fletcher sounds supportive
  • ends Sept 30, up to 4 month transition
  • have one grant to help cover the time


Mental Health Training

  • Keith attended
  • Shared notes
  • Not much re: substance
  • Good for very new-to-info people (basic)


CRJ Programs for Teens

  • A lot available, not just for people enrolled in “programs”
  • Make community aware


Sticker Shock

  • Prom is coming up May 18 Jr. Prom; June 2 Senior Ball
  • CRJ & Teens4Change to help
  • Window clings and table tents



  • ACT will be outside Gamer’s Grotto
  • Raffle basket idea?
  • Marijuana/drunk goggles – may be a good idea, may be a hard location/event
  • Mayfest: May 26
  • Dare will send out signups for shifts


Following notes were taken by Michelle Marrocco after Kayla left early.

Stark Street (cont.)

  • Zirwat: Mural on basketball court (youth & students), bike lanes & crosswalks, seating, dog park area, 6 acres
  • Melissa: Local trucking companies will donate tires


Catamount: Ready but insurance. Opening soon! May is soft opening to set up calendar and try stuff

Bridges Out of Poverty: June 22, location TBA

Youth Summit: Yolanda

  • @ UCS, call for speakers ends today (contact Yoland if you’re interested and haven’t submitted yet)
  • Monday: Call for volunteers
  • Annual Youth Supporter and Leader awards, coming to your inbox soon
  • In schools weekly doing registration during lunch
  • Indoor and outdoor
  • Saturday, June 9
  • Morning and afternoon sessions, 1 hour each
  • Opportunities to connect directly with youth (also to other vendors and speakers)
    • Group lunches with youth
  • Aiming for more interaction this year
  • Zirwat: Going forward, let’s discuss ways to better integrate into community in future (Stark Street)
  • Maryann: We have 20×40 tent if needed (Zirwat: so does TOB)
  • Beth: Katelyn Harrington from DCF interested in workshop around navigating DMV
  • June 4, Orientation (tentative)


Youth Appreciation Day: TJ

  • Yard signs out (kept a few to lead up to park)
  • Final email to activities today with map and where to park
  • Table & chairs, bring your own tent
  • MM: We need someone will a truck/large vehicle today at 3:30 and following YAD at 3 to move tables/chairs
    • Ken will bring 2 ice cream scoops
    • Beth has 2 stop watches
    • Dare, Shira & (Zirwat) Movie night volunteers


Ninja Trail: Zirwat

  • Bike/ped path that links North Bennington and downtown Bennington
  • June 2: lead a walk through


Maryann: June 2 trail running event (turned this into a fundraiser, Collaborative did a bunch of work on trails)


Ken: Went to HS yesterday and got into all 4 health classes

  • TPC’s youth/young talked about how they got here starting freshman year of HS & and tactics of how to “pause”
    • Pros/Con list of goals: need to teach kids to weigh consequences and consider options
    • Lots of engagement from students
  • Invited back for next year
  • Having young people that some of the students know and teachers remember is the key, students can relate to someone closer to their age


Maryann: LGBTQ education last week

  • Not much of a turnout, but those that did engaged
  • Learning curve & huge need in Bennington: learned a lot
    • Beth did a training around this recently that was very successful
  • Note: When working with youth, splitting by gender really difficult for this community
  • Ken: TPC has connection to this community too
  • Zirwat: Conversations around name & preferred pronoun not commonplace outside of academia
    • Maryann: Some in classrooms, Gender neutral bathrooms area of harassment, teachers still using former name of transitioning students; Working around how to handle bathrooms and classroom policies (names on rosters, etc)
    • Melissa: Systematic issues of using legal names (when necessary); reaching out to camps about where kids sleep based on orientation and gender -> camps require education
    • Beth: DCF has that issue with placements
    • Maryann: Large issue of splitting children (and society) into genders for activities; GSA run by caring adults, but not often LGBTQ role models -> how to bring role models into schools for GSA and students at large
    • Kim: Attended LGBTQ training for masters in Albany, they may have connections
      • Yolanda: Has connections to Albany Pride
        • Do we have an Alt Prom?
        • Maryann: “Kings” and “Queen” alienating; Brattleboro has done an Alt Prom & monthly dance/get together for LGBTQ community
        • Michelle: Look south towards Berkshires, similar issues
        • Zirwat: Aurora dance party used to be out of warehouses with performers, very LGBTQ friendly, dreaming about bringing that back


Prepared by Kayla Becker, ACT Secretary May 2018

April 6, 2018


VDH Community Room | 324 Main St, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.


In attendance:  Kayla Becker (United Way), Michelle Morrocco (BCRC & ACT), Caitlin Harrington (Sunrise Family Resource Center) , Bob Wiegers (First Baptist Church), Melissa Mears (ESD), Yolanda Palmer (UCS), Ben Lackey (Bennington PD), Jennifer Fels (Blueprint for Health & SVMC), Kimberly Phillips-Roderigue (Bennington CRJ), Kathy O’Reilly (VDH)


Core measures survey results discussion (had been shared via email to Coalition members)

In-kind tracking log:
– Need to track more
– Michelle to create simple document which will be found on the website

Social Media:
– Spotlight on Members has been getting most engagement from people
– Facebook statistics report shared
– Storytelling Workshop with CommonGoodVT may be good to attend

Bridges Out of Poverty:
– June 22, 2018
– Hosted by GBICS

Youth Rep:
– through service group at MAU?
– go in at lunchtime
– look into College workstudy

Sandy Hook Promise:
– Melissa Mears
– Aligns with “Fed Up” in Manchester
– Question asked: “What is going on at the schools already?” – ACT should look into and know
– How to train/help people understand what is going on and what they can do

Trauma Taskforce:
– Robin Stromgren

Youth Appreciation Day:
– Coming up May 5, 11 am – 3 pm
– Meetings on Wednesday morning 9-10:30 am
– Need volunteers!!
– Contact Dare, TJ, or Kayla

Youth Summit:
– June 9, 9 am- 3pm
– At UCS Ledge Hill Dr
– More to come

– ACT outside of Gamer’s Grotto?
– What to giveaway (swag)

Arts Council:
– 3rd Thursday (time?)
– Contact Michelle


Prepared by Kayla Becker, ACT Secretary April 2018.

February 2, 2018

ACT Coalition Meeting — February 2, 2018


VDH Community Room ⎸ 324 Main St, 8:20 – 10:20 a.m.




In attendance: Liz Fenwick (Lions Club), Cindy Krautheim (ACT), Ken Sigsbury (TPC), Jennifer Fels (Blueprint, SVMC), Kathy O’Reilly (VDH), Sean Morin (CRJ), T.J. Anania (ACT), Ryan Scutt (CAT-TV), Jessica Wilbur (Benn. County Head Start), Dare Meunier (ACT), Michelle Morrocco (BCRC) Beth Sausville (DCF FSD), Kayla Becker (United Way) Krista Speroni, Zirwat Chowdhury (Town of Bennington), Maryann Morris (Collaborative).

Regrets: Ben Lackey, Melissa Cleary, Melissa Mears, Jim Trimarchi.  



New Director- ACT’s new director is Dare Meunier. Her introduction was on the website and is on our social media presences.


Approval of December Minutes. Beth motion, Ken second. All in favor.


Review and approval of Treasurer’s Report. Ryan motion, Cindy second. All in favor.


In-Kind Tracking:

  • Get Connected through United Way.
  • Employer MOU doesn’t work. We need specifics so tracking will remain personalized for now.
  • App for smartphones possibly coming in the spring


Youth Appreciation Update

  • Aiming for Lower Willow park.
  • End of the day movie night for teens and continuing program into the summer months.
    • Merchants park a possibility for the continuation for visibility reasons.
  • Possible collaboration with Benn. College and SVC.


Bylaw Review:  

  • Taking edits until the 21st. Send them to Michelle.
  • Vote on the 26th of February.
  • Discussion about Sticker Shock program
    • Possible move away from two a year. To one and another campaign.
    • Coasters or placemat ads in restaurants.
    • Or on bottle openers or bags in beverage stores.


Belief Statement:

  • Changing of certain language in the mission statement
  • Prevention vs. delaying
  • Inclusion of Caregivers and changing the wording of the “Parent” bullet point.


Communications Committee Happenings:

  • Strategies for both Facebook and Instagram in the works. Instagram specifically for kids and teens.
  • Series backlinking to the website.
  • Possible youth teaching youth video series.
    • Video training through CAT TV.


Lions Club Curriculum:

  • Viability? Already have results-based skill building in place.
  • Implementation in public spaces.


Asset building conference

  • Training for community groups.
  • Facebook live training or video series?


Other Updates:


Next Youth Appreciation Day meeting is February 14 @ 9 a.m. in the Lightning Jar.

PB & J Slam ACT team.

Green Table collaboration. Substance-free programing at pop up shop.


Continue to discuss:


Data from ACT’s supplemental risk behavior survey. What do the trends look like.