NVRH and Umbrella announce grant sub-awards recipients

Sub-awards go towards local partners’ missions to reduce substance misuse

Vermont Business Magazine Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) and Umbrella have announced the recipients of the NEK Prevention Center of Excellence Grant (NEK-PCE) program’s sub-awards. The awards were granted to local partners whose missions support substance misuse prevention.

“Applicants who received awards demonstrated their learning by creating program proposals that inspired all of us on the Steering Committee to expand our own thinking about the potential impact of this grant to build protective factors for young people,” Advisory Committee Member Samantha Stevens, who serves as the Equity and Community Outreach Coordinator for the North Country Supervisory Union, said. “Our potential to end substance misuse in the Northeast Kingdom is enhanced and secured by each community entity and individual understanding the role they can play in that effort. These projects exhibit a full understanding and commitment to a healthier future for everyone.”

Competitive sub-award recipients and descriptions are listed below.

NEK Youth Services received $25,000 to increase staff learning through a "Train the Trainer" with Outright Vermont focused on supporting youth within the LGBTQA+ community as well as training focused on implicit bias and inclusive practices, among other prevention activities.

Catamount Film & Arts Co. received $12,876 to support their Open Stage program which will provide a safe and creative social environment for students to heal and grow as they learn to reintegrate socially post-COVID.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of VT Inc. received $25,000 to provide activities, materials, and community engagement opportunities for mentor matches to participate in that are designed to promote resiliency in youth, develop healthy coping skills, provide an outlet for creativity, and build upon teamwork and leadership skills through a DEI lens with the culmination of a community wide prevention campaign/ activity led by the youth.

North Country Supervisory Union Encore After School and Summer Programs received $23,273 to hire 7 Behavioral and Social Emotional Learning Leaders who will support 7 summer program sites.

The Community Restorative Justice Center, Inc. received $15,000 to support 20 teachers from schools in Caledonia and Essex counties in attending the Summer Institute for Restorative Practices.

North Woods Stewardship Center received $18,975 to launch their Junior Counselor program which will engage young teens in an empowering program focused on building confidence, connection to place and each other, communication strategies, outdoor skills, and resilience.

Link Inc. received $10,098 to expand their summer open community bike shop in St. Johnsbury and expand youth employment.

Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc. received $16,008 support strategies to reduce mental health risk factors for substance abuse through education for community members, employees, and caregiver/family members.

Stable Connections, Inc. – financial approval amount pending; eight themed weeks for youth led by an Equine Specialist and a Mental Health Professional. These themed weeks will aim to build protective factors such as coping skills, getting along well with others and understanding of self and others’ emotions.

“With this grant, we are able to address some of the most pervasive inequities in our community that lead to LGBTQIA+ youth using substances,” Dan Brogan of NEK Youth Services, said. “Our purpose is to intentionally foster strong and healthy relationships…We know that there are disparities LGBTQIA+ youth face in the NEK, including a lack of positive adult relationships, increased substance use, and suicidal ideation, and we recognize that this effort will take all members of our community to learn and grow to have a truly inclusive Kingdom.”

Non-competitive recipients include 302 Cares, a community coalition committed to supporting and celebrating the health and wellness of all people, which received $9,750 to support their Prevention Coalition, located in Wells River, and Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC), which received $25,000 to address substance misuse prevention at the regional level through the development of a plan to address the social determinants of health in Orleans and northern Essex Counties.

“At the heart of this work is really a shared understanding that there is much more to health than healthcare,” NCHC Director of Quality Initiatives/Compliance and Privacy Officer Kari White said. “If we are ‘all in’ on creating the conditions for communities to thrive and prosper, we need to acknowledge the deep and complex roots of the challenges that prevent optimal health and well-being and contribute to adoption of risk behaviors as coping strategies.”

The total amount funded for competitive grantees was $146,294. Total funding altogether was: $180,980.

The sub-award recipients will utilize evidence-based and promising primary and secondary prevention strategies for reducing one or more of the following in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont: underage drinking; high risk alcohol consumption; marijuana and tobacco misuse; prescription drug including prescription opioid and stimulant misuse; illicit stimulant use (including cocaine) and illicit opioid use (including heroin). Project activities must primarily impact the individuals or communities in the St. Johnsbury service area and/or the Newport service area.

“Together we need to test new and emergent ways for a broad set of stakeholders to build the trust necessary to collaborate at the root to resolve these challenges; structure and resource this collaboration effectively; and commit to evaluation, measurement and continuous improvement of not only the strategies and interventions developed by the collaboration, but the very collaboration itself,” White added.

The grant, which totals $450,000, tackles two components of prevention: the promotion of healthy lifestyles and norms that reduce the risks associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and the reduction of the impact of those at higher-than-average risk for substance misuse. The grant also aims to build substance use primary and secondary prevention capacity and infrastructure at the community and regional levels.

Funding was made possible by the Vermont Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs. To learn more and contact the Prevention Center of Excellence Program Managers Cheryl Chandler and Amanda Cochrane, visit nvrh.org/nek-pce.

Umbrella’s mission is to cultivate a Northeast Kingdom where all people thrive free from abuse and oppression. Umbrella has been elevating the voices of women, families, and survivors of interpersonal violence since 1976.

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital is located in St. Johnsbury in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. We are a community, not-for-profit, acute care, critical access hospital. NVRH is one of two Vermont hospitals designated as a Baby FriendlyTM hospital by the United Nations. The organization provides primary and preventive care, surgical and specialty services, inpatient and outpatient care and 24-hour, physician-staffed emergency services. NVRH serves more than 30,000 people in the Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties in Vermont and employs 600.

Source: ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (June 22, 2021) – Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital