HCRS supports families

SPRINGFIELD >> Health Care and Rehabilitation Services has a team of dedicated, professional staff within its Children, Youth, and Families Division who provide comprehensive supports for families in need. These services are designed to meet families where they are at — in their community or within local schools — to assist each child and family to lead happy and healthy lives.

HCRS' clients often include children in crisis, no longer attending school because of cyber bullying, in a depression so deep he or she can't get out of bed, anxiety so intense she doesn't want to leave home. A teenager has a best friend who hung himself two years ago. He tells his teacher, "I'm thinking of killing myself. I tried pills and cutting. I'm thinking of trying again."

Parents come to an HCRS office scared; their child is in a psychiatric hospital. They have heard from someone in the community that HCRS can help find resources and solutions when other efforts have failed.

HCRS staff mobilize around the unique needs of each child and family. They meet the parents, get releases signed, and start making calls to involved community providers: The Brattleboro Retreat, Department for Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health. A week later a Coordinated Services Planning meeting is held to plan the child's reintegration back to family and the community, or to a higher level of care. A support team sits around a wooden conference room table at HCRS: an HCRS clinician, an HCRS case manager, supervisor, crisis team staff person, a school representative, DCF worker, and of course the family.


Founded in 1967, HCRS is a non-profit, community mental health agency serving Vermonters in Windham and Windsor counties. For more information regarding HCRS' Children, Youth, and Families Program, please visit HCRS' website at www.hcrs.org or contact Will Shakespeare, Program Director, at 802-254-6028.

AARP Driver Safety Progam scheduled at local hospitals, senior center

BRATTLEBORO >> The AARP Driver Safety Program, a classroom driver refresher course, will be offered in three locations in Windham County: Brattleboro Senior Center on Feb. 1 at 9:30 a.m.; Brattleboro Memorial Hospital on Feb. 6t at 9:30 a.m.; and at the Grace Cottage Wellness Building on Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. The program is a refresher course for mature drivers that addresses changes that occur in vision, hearing, and reaction time as we age and provides useful driving safety tips for handling these changes. The course also reviews the impact of changes in vehicles and roadways that impact driving safety. Those wishing to take the class at Brattleboro Memorial hospital are asked to call 802-251- 8604; for the Grace Cottage class call 802-365-3649; for the Brattleboro Senior Center class call 802-254-4489. You may also contact the course instructor, Elliott Greenblott, to register or for inquiries, at 802-254-4489 or egreenblott@me.com.

Food distribution

Putney: The Vermont Food Bank and the Putney Foodshelf food distribution at Putney Meadows the fourth Thursday of each month. All are welcome, no questions asked; the food distributions are open to anyone in the community. The Vermont Foodbank, with the Putney Foodshelf, brings a truck of fresh produce and other non-perishable items. Bring your own shopping bags. The next distribution is scheduled for Jan. 28, from 9 to 9:45 a.m.

Active Parenting workshop focuses on parenting 'tweens'

TOWNSHEND >> This winter, West River Valley Thrives, a local coalition dedicated to "promoting healthy lifestyle choices with an emphasis on the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by youth people," will be hosting a new program for local parents. This workshop, called Active Parenting of Teens, is an evidence-based program for parents of children in fifth grade and up where parents will discuss issues unique to adolescence and the skills needed to parent their "tweens" and teens most effectively. The workshop will include information on parenting styles, problem solving and communication, responsibility and discipline, building courage and self-esteem, drugs and violence, as well as development and sexuality.

Active Parenting of Teens will be held over the course of four Saturdays — Feb. 13 and 27 and March 12 and 26 — from 9 a.m. to noon at the United Church of Christ in Townshend, 46 Common Rd.; pastries and coffee will be provided. Free childcare will be made available with advanced notice. Also, all participants will receive a gas gift card worth $20 as a thank you for coming out on a Saturday morning to engage with other local parents on the topic of parenting.

Interested parents should contact Kate Venne, Project Coordinator for West River Valley Thrives, at wrvthrives@gmail.com or 802-365-4700 to register.

Blood donations urgently needed by the American Red Cross

BRATTLEBORO >> The American Red Cross urgently needs blood donors to make an appointment to give this winter. Eligible blood donors of all types are needed, especially those with O, AB, B negative and A negative. Blood is needed to respond to emergencies large and small, across the country every day.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities include Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Landmark College in Putney and Feb. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carl M Dessaint VFW Post 1034, 40 Black Mountain Rd in Brattleboro.

Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Presentation on Vermont's Death with Dignity Law at Putney Library

PUTNEY >> On Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., join Linda Waite-Simpson, the Director of Vermont's Compassion and Choices to learn more about end of life care and Vermont's Act 39, the Death with Dignity Law at Putney Public Library. She will cover a variety of topics relating to end of life care, including unwanted medical treatment, voluntary stopping of eating and drinking, and Vermont Patient Bill of Rights for Palliative Care and Pain Management. Putney Library is located at 55 Main St. This program is free and open to the public.