June/July 2018 Newsletter
UCS Celebrated 60th Anniversary with the ME2/Orchestra
United Counseling Service celebrated its 60th anniversary with a very special evening of music with the ME2/Orchestra. On May 5th, Ronald Braunstein, Conductor, and 50 musicians filled the stage at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Over 100 people attended and the musicians played pieces by Beethoven, Verdi and Elgar. Musicians shared their personal stories and the audience was encouraged to ask questions.

The ME2/Orchestra is the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them. ME2/ serves as a model organization where people with and without mental illnesses work together in an environment where acceptance is expectation, patience is encouraged, and supporting each other is a priority.

"The evening was outstanding for the performance of the difficult music. The musicians were most accomplished and I truly would like to hear them again."

"The ME2/Orchestra Concert was music at its best. We attended for the orchestra but came home so much more enriched...UCS Board and staff should feel proud of the way their 60th was marked..."

"...The evening was filled with drama and crescendos. ..I thank you genuinely for the privilege of hearing the ME2/ performance.."

Volunteers helped make this evening a success. Individuals ushered, worked in the box office, sold concessions and put on a dinner for the musicians between the rehearsal and the show. It was a heartwarming evening and we hope to be able to host this wonderful group again in the future.
Pictured: (left) The ME2/Orchestra and (right) ushers Melanie, Lynn and Lisa.
You can listen to "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations, performed at UCS Presents: ME2/Orchestra on May 5, 2018.
UCS Early Head Start providing much needed care to children and families.
by Kim Lawler-Batty, Early Head Start Manager
Bennington County Head Start received a grant last year to provide Early Head Start Services through Expansion and Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP). The program opened four brand new Early Head Start classrooms, and is partnering with two licensed, five-star child care programs Oak Hill Child Care Center in Pownal and UCS Infant/Toddler Program in Bennington. 48 infants and toddlers and their families are served by this program. Many new staff members were employed to provide the care and resources necessary for the program's success.

Early Head Start programs promote the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of infants and toddlers through safe and developmentally enriching caregiving. This prepares these children for continued growth and development and eventual success in school and life.

Following the Head Start model, Early Head Start programs support parents in their role as primary caregivers. Programs assist families in meeting their own personal goals and achieving self-sufficiency across a wide variety of domains, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security.

The EHS-CC Partnerships program enhances and supports early learning settings to provide comprehensive and continuous services. Through strong relationship-based experiences children are prepared for the transition into Head Start and preschool.
"Bennington County Early Head Start Program has been a saving grace for my family. As a working mother of three children, my employment hindered on finding reliable care for my one and a half year-old son," said Tiffany Dunican, parent of an Early Head Start Infant and Head Start employee. "I needed to find a place where I could drop my son off, focus on my job and not worry about if my child was receiving adequate care, I found that and more at the Early Head Start center. My son loves his teachers and I am able to put my whole heart and mind into my job knowing my child is well taken care of.” 

All infants and toddlers attending an EHS-CC Partnerships program benefit from facilities and homes that are licensed and meet safety requirements. Through the EHS-CC Partnerships program, child care centers and family child care providers have access to resources to provide the comprehensive services needed to support better outcomes for the nation's most vulnerable children. 
UCS Youth Summit to Empower Youth
United Counseling Service (UCS) is delighted to announce that registration is open for the Southern Vermont Youth Summit. The Youth Summit will take place on Saturday, June 9 th from 8:30am- 2:45pm. The day will begin at Southwestern Vermont Health Care at 100 Hospital Drive in Bennington with workshops located throughout SVHC and UCS campuses.

The keynote speaker, Ron “Cook” Barrett, will discuss self-esteem and appreciation, helping students find a sense of pride in themselves and learning to appreciate their differences. Workshops will include Suicide Prevention, Beading, Acts of Kindness, Hip Hop and more. This year, thanks to the Youth in Transition Grant from the Vermont Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (VFFCMH) the summit is open to all Southern Vermont youth.

This is the fourth year that UCS has hosted the Youth Summit. “This event provides an opportunity for youth to share their thoughts and ideas about their generation’s problems.” says Yolanda Palmer, Program Manager at UCS who is spearheading this year’s summit. “There will be some fun workshops and some informative ones, allowing youth to have conversations about difficult topics like opiate addiction and suicide prevention.”

This promises to be an empowering experience for youth. The summit is open to all teens, ages thirteen to nineteen. To register for this free event visit www.eventbrite.com and search “Southern Vermont Youth Summit”. Lunch will be provided. If you have any questions please contact Christelle Manon at CManon@UCSVT.org or 802-442-5491 ext. 503. 
UCS Go the Distance to be held June 10th
United Counseling Service is pleased to announce that you may now register for Go the Distance. The 5k will take place on Sunday, June 10 th starting at 9 a.m. at 316 Dewey Street in Bennington. Proceeds from Go the Distance supports client wellness programs at UCS.

The day’s events will include a pre-race warm up at 8:30am offered by Andrea Malinowski of Optionz Health & Fitness, followed by a run or walk along a paved 5k course through beautiful Bennington, Vermont. UCS will offer a free Kid’s Fun Run and all kids will receive a medal..... Read more.
Sometimes first aid isn't a bandage, or CPR or calling 911. Sometimes first aid is YOU.
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family. Therefore, it is likely that an individual will come in contact with someone experiencing a mental health crisis in the community. Mental Health First Aid Training is an eight-hour course that teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and drug abuse—including temporary or undiagnosed mental health concerns and crises.

UCS will be holding Mental Health First Aid Training on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 28th and 29th from 12:30 to 4:30pm. The cost is $40 and space is limited. To reserve a spot contact Amie Niles at aniles@ucsvt.org or call (802) 445-7442.
Helping Those Who Are Most Vulnerable
Tom Simek from United Counseling Service recently made an appearance on CAT TV's Helping Those Who are Most Vulnerable. Tom is a Licensed Psychologist Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. Substance abuse issues were discussed including treatment options.
These Boots are Made for Walking: The Head Start Explorers
Head Start families were invited to be “explorers” this past May. Children and parents together explored outdoor places to walk, run, and observe and interact with the natural world around Bennington County. In May the group explored the SVHC woods trail, Lake Shaftsbury, Bennington Museum's George Aiken Wildflower Trail, North Bennington's Mile Around Woods, and the Lake Paran Trail.
....and save the date for:

Adult Mental Health First Aid
August 28-29, 2018

UCS Presents: The S Word
September 5, 2018

The Barn Sale
September, 22-23, 2018

UCS Super Hero 5k
November 3, 2018

For more information on our upcoming events visit www.ucsvt.org.

Help us build a stronger community.
We would love to hear from you. Has UCS impacted your life? If you have a story you would like to share please contact Heidi French at hfrench@ucsvt.org.
This year support from our donors is absolutely vital in ensuring that we continue to meet the growing needs of our community. Please consider making a donation to our annual fund. Your donation makes a difference and with your help we can build a stronger community!

Donations can be made to:
United Counseling Service
PO Box 588
Bennington, VT 05201
or call us at (802) 442-5491 ext. 313
United Counseling Service provides Bennington County with nationally recognized community-based mental health and human social services for children, adults, families, and seniors with the mission of “Building a stronger community by empowering individuals and families to live healthy and meaningful lives.” Visit www.ucsvt.org to find out more. 
Are you interested in a career with a great organization?
Check out current openings
with United Counseling Service at  UCS Careers .