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