SVCOA honors Knauer with Community Partner of the Year award

Vermont Business Magazine Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging (SVCOA) has named Laurie Knauer of Castleton Community Seniors its Community Partner of the Year for 2021.

“We’re proud to honor Laurie for her significant contributions to SVCOA and older Vermonters throughout both Bennington and Rutland counties,” said Pam Zagorski, Executive Director with SVCOA. “Laurie has been a vital partner of SVCOA for many years and has been instrumental in supporting the growth of SVCOA wellness initiatives in our region that provide a range of benefits to both participants and instructors. We are so grateful for Laurie’s partnership and her commitment to serving seniors in our community.”

Knauer, Program Director with Castleton Community Seniors and the Castleton Community Center, and Vice President of Tai Chi Vermont, has partnered with SVCOA for many years on numerous wellness-related events and programs including the nationally-recognized, evidence-based “Matter of Balance” and “Tai Chi For Fall Prevention” classes. Most recently, Knauer served as a master trainer for the “Matter of Balance” program and trained 12 individuals to become class instructors in both counties.

“Laurie is the definition of a leader – she routinely goes above and beyond to help organize and deliver quality programming to older Vermonters in our area,” said Madelyn Gardner, Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator with SVCOA. “Laurie exhibits compassion, integrity and a willingness to always go the extra mile to ensure the success of class leaders and participants. Never one to seek recognition or praise, Laurie’s impact on the overall wellness of older Vermonters in our community is truly immeasurable.”

Recent recipients of SVCOA’s annual Community Partner of the Year Award include Cinda Donton - Elder Care Clinician with Community Care Network and Doug Jones of TRIO Community Meals in 2020, and Melissa Stemp of Bennington Project Independence in 2019.


Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging exists to be a community force in creating and sustaining opportunities for elders and caregivers in our region to help assure that elders are able to maintain maximum independence and quality of life.

For more information about SVCOA, visit

Source: RUTLAND, Vt. – Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging 1.11.2022