Volume 1 | October, 2020
The Vermont Resilience Messaging Project Presents
Greetings Partners in Resilience Development!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the RESILIENT VERMONT Newsletter; a quarterly newsletter designed to share valuable resources, encourage coordination, inspire innovation, and integrate the work of building resilient communities across Vermont. 

During these challenging times, our minds and hearts are set on supporting resilience development in our families, in the lives of those we serve and those with whom we work, and within our broader communities. In addition to the changes and stressors we experience in our individual lives and work, we also recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fault lines of inequity in our society. The adverse impact of COVID-19 on black people, indigenous people, and people of color coupled with the rising awareness of centuries of systemic racism, demands that we declare our commitment to advancing equity in all that we do. The pandemic has exacerbated families’ vulnerabilities as a consequence of adverse social, economic, and environmental disparities and has highlighted the importance of working together to meet basic human needs. In addition, the pandemic-associated rise in domestic violence, child abuse, anxiety, and depression demands that we continue growing our cross-sector collaborative efforts to strengthen families and support well-being. We hope that this newsletter serves as one tool to help coordinate these efforts and further our collective work toward building a more equitable and resilient Vermont for all.

This newsletter is part of the ongoing work of the Vermont Resilience Messaging Project (VRMP), a partnership between the Vermont Agency of Human Services, the Vermont Department of Health, Help Me Grow Vermont, and the New England Public Health Training Center. The VRMP was launched in January 2020 to eliminate silos and coordinate the efforts of organizations focused on building resiliency among the individuals and within communities across Vermont. Our theory of change is:

By creating a statewide set of messages and common language:
  • efforts to build resiliency will be better coordinated;
  • resources will be maximized;
  • statewide support will increase for this work;
  •  and citizens and communities will have better access to resources to build resiliency.

As many of you may recall, following a series of interviews and message testing in the first half of 2020, the VRMP team hosted a convening on August 4th in which the Project’s core messages were introduced.

We are excited to see what lies ahead for resilience development in Vermont – and we know that our shared language and messaging will help that work succeed.

Thank you all for your important work to build a state where all Vermonters can find and fully utilize the resources they need to thrive, individually and collectively, in the face of adversity. 

In Peace and Partnership,
Updates & Deliverables
What's Happening Now

Last month, as part of the overall Vermont Resilience Messaging Project evaluation, the VRMP Team conducted a post-session survey designed to understand the impact of both the project and the August 4th convening. Thank you to those of you who participated in the survey!

The results are so encouraging!

  • 77% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the integrated messaging work to date
  • 77% believe the integrated messaging about the resiliency work in Vermont is extremely relevant to them and their organization
  • 78% said their understanding of the importance of a shared definition of resiliency has improved as a result of August 4th convening
  • 46% have already used the shared definition of resiliency in their work and/or personal life
  • 96% intend to use the shared definition of resilience going forward
  • 96% have or will encourage others to adopt the shared definition of resilience
Tools You Can Use

Introducing the Resilience Messaging Toolkit!
As promised, this toolkit includes our core messages and definitions, ways to use this messaging with a variety of audiences, and examples specifically responsive to COVID-19 challenges. This is a living document, so feel free to make suggestions of the tools we could add! 

Resilience Across Vermont
The Power of Messaging to Move Minds
Our Resilient Lamoille workgroup has been doing resilience work for many years. Over the past couple of years we recognized the need to shift the paradigm away from an understanding of resilience-building as mostly an individual responsibility toward seeing it as more of a community responsibility. It was also important to make the connection between resiliency and access to resources. We developed our Pathways to Resilience toolkit to reflect that perspective. When we found out about the Vermont Resilience Messaging Project we hoped that the statewide messaging would follow a similar approach. It was wonderful to know that our input was welcomed, and our prior work acknowledged. We appreciated that the VRMP team listened thoughtfully to what we had been thinking and communicating.
In our own work around messaging, and through this subsequent statewide process, we have seen the value of using clear, consistent, compelling messaging. It has made a huge difference to our work. Any time a member of our group talks with community partners and funders we reinforce that it’s not enough to focus only on the individual…that resilience-building is a community responsibility, and that it’s also important that everyone has access to adequate resources. The discipline of consistent messaging, accelerated by the realities of COVID-19, is effectively moving partners and funders towards that sense of community responsibility and the importance of equitable access to necessary resources. 

Tricia Long, LCMHC  |  Director, Resilience Beyond Incarceration
Lamoille Restorative Center
For Our Collective Learning
Vermont Afterschool Professional Development
2020-2021 Catalogue
Early Childhood Colorado Partnership Shared Messaging Bank – an example of messages in action. 
Strengthening Families Practice – tools include self-assessments for programs and protective factors action sheets for staff - at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)
IWES in New Orleans, LA – “Igniting community wellness and resilience through collaboration, compassion, and love.” Mission: “IWES is dedicated to improving the mental, physical and spiritual health and quality of life for women, their families and communities of color, particularly among marginalized populations, using community-engaged research, programs, training and advocacy.”
BFC educates and supports communities in promoting positive health and social outcomes using a collective impact approach based on N.E.A.R. research. Knowledge of these elements empowers all of us to shift the dynamics within our communities to prevent high ACE scores, build connection, and foster resilience.

Interview with Resmaa Manakem, “Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence” from an On Being episode with Resmaa Manakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies.
VRMP is funded by Help Me Grow, New England Public Health Training Center, and Vermont Public Health Association