Community Matters

September 1, 2023

Meet our Staff Spotlight:

Taija LaFountain

Taija LaFountain came to work in substance use services as a way to understand people with substance use disorder, and to understand the disease itself. Two years have passed since she took on her role of Substance Use Case Manager at United Counseling Service (UCS) and she is proud of the work she does.

“I got into this field because I wanted to know what gets people with substance use disorder to where they are, and trying to understand that it’s a disease, not just somebody wanting to use drugs,” says Taija.

Read full article.

UCS will host Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil September 29 at Lake Paran

United Counseling Service (UCS) will host a Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil at 5:30pm on Friday, September 29, 2023, at Lake Paran in North Bennington, VT, for a night of healing and remembrance. 

Read full article.

Meet Mia

Mia has worked at Vermont Kitchen Supply for almost three years. Lots of you may know her from her many years at Ann Taylor. Mia works for us two days a week, two hours each day. She has missed less than a handful of days in the past three years. Mia is never late for work. Never. And she is always impeccably dressed. Always.

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The Beauty of the “Good Enough” Caregiver

By Ryan Lane, Director of Children, Youth and Family Services

It’s an understatement to suggest that being a caregiver for a child is an enormous challenge. So much is asked of someone who is dedicated to the overall health and growth of children in their care, and it can feel overwhelming in the best of times. A lot of times, it can also feel impossible to know the right way to support our children. We can find ourselves striving to be the perfect caregiver and being harsh on ourselves for not getting everything right. 

Read full article.

Countdown to the Barn Sale!

Join us September 16 & 17 at Northshire Civic Center in Manchester, VT

Join us for a weekend of shopping to benefit UCS services in the Northshire! Hours for Saturday, September 16 are 9am-4pm, and Sunday hours are 9am-3pm. We hope to see you there!

Learn more.

Featured job openings at UCS

See all of our current job postings at

School Age Program Coordinator

Plan and help to run a six week summer program and after-school program for kindergarten to third graders. Pathway to Vermont licensure through agency-provided clinical supervision.

School Based Clinician

Provide direct service to staff, students, teachers and parents of children.

Family Outreach Clinician

Provide clinical social work services to families and children with intensive need.

Shared Living Program Coordinator

Supervise staff working with community members with intellectual disabilities, and make sure client needs are met with dignity and respect.

Careers at UCS

Learning Opportunity:

Mental Health First Aid September 13 via Zoom

Register for a virtual Mental Health First Aid course at UCS. For more information, please contact Bob Wiegers at

Learn more.

Updates from Head Start & Early Head Start

Preparing for Back to School

By Rebecca Bishop Ware, Associate Director of Early Childhood Services

Fall is such an important and exciting time in the lives of young children and families, as they prepare to attend childcare programs or school for the first time or to return to school, after an extended time off for a summer break full of camps, childcare, or kincare.  

Communication and building relationships are key ways to help ensure a home-school connection and prepare for a successful school year for you and your child(ren). 

Read full article.

Our early childhood education programs offer services designed to meet each child's and family's specific needs in a safe setting. We prepare children and their families for school through collaborative approaches to high quality education, health and social services. We have locations in Bennington, North Bennington, Manchester, and Pownal. 

Logo with blue text reading " UCS United Children's Services Bennington County Head Start and Early Head Start" with a light green plant sprout icon

Head Start® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Learn more

Camp Be a Kid

Camp Be a Kid is a program of United Counseling Service (UCS)’s Children, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) division that gives children with trauma backgrounds and mental health conditions the opportunity to experience a classic kids’ summer camp. Children spent five weeks at Lake Shaftsbury through July and August and participated in fun activities like meeting a group of traveling therapy pigs, fishing, swimming, participating in yoga classes, and watching a magic show. 

Read full article.

We are Vermont.

UCS and our fellow Designated Agencies (DAs) support Vermonters in crisis.

Our network of DAs continue to work tirelessly after the recent flooding to support Vermonters as they work to rebuild their lives, homes and businesses. Crisis hotlines are open and mental health professionals are ready to help our communities get back on their feet. If you or someone you know needs help with a mental health crisis or challenge, UCS is here for you 24/7/365 at 802-442-5491. You can also access all other Vermont Care Partners crisis lines here.

You can help!

Volunteer to help Vermonters in need of support after the recent flooding.


Support your local United Way and help Vermonters recover and rebuild.

Image from Vermont Care Partners

Superhero 5K and Kids' Dash registration is open for race participants and volunteers

We are looking for racers and volunteers for this year's Superhero 5K and Kids' Dash on November 4, 2023! Register to participate at

Learn more.

Ready for something new? Join our team!

View our current job openings at the link:

Careers at UCS

UCS Staff Picnic 2023

The rainy weather on August 4 did not keep us from enjoying our annual staff picnic! Instead of our usual location at Lake Shaftsbury, three food vendors came to our Ledge Hill Drive office in Bennington and set up in the parking lot. Thank you to Hound Dogs, Silver Springs Scoop, and Sexy Llama Coffee Roasters for providing delicious food and coffee to our staff!!

Your gift helps us build a stronger community.

A gift in any amount makes a world of difference for your friends and neighbors. Please consider donating today at

Give today

Mark Your Calendars!

Learn more at the link:

blue circle logo with "United Counseling Service 1958-2023" on the top and bottom of the circle, with "65 years" in the middle

Mental Health First Aid Training

Wednesday, September 13, 8:30am-3pm


Barn Sale

Saturday, September 16, 9am-4pm and Sunday, September 17, 9am-3pm

Northshire Civic Center: 410 Hunter Park Rd., Manchester, VT

*Still taking volunteers! Sign up here.

UCS Presents--Suicide: The Ripple Effect

Wednesday, October 4, 5:30pm

Manchester Community Library, Manchester, VT

Suicide Prevention Awareness Vigil

Friday, September 29, 5:30pm

Lake Paran, 269 Houghton Street, North Bennington, VT

UCS Presents: An Evening with Kevin Hines

Thursday, October 19, at 7:30pm

Burr and Burton Academy, 57 Seminary Ave., Manchester, VT

UCS Superhero 5K and Kids' Dash

Saturday, November 4, 2023, 9am

Bennington Recreation Center: 655 Gage Street, Bennington, VT

(802) 442-5491 |

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