MSAC and Community Services Updates
Transition in our Americorps member: Welcome, Maddie Sholar!
Please join us in welcoming Madeline ("Maddie") Sholar as the next VHCB Americorps, Aging in Place Coordinator for MSAC! Maddie started her year of service on September 8, and Andrew Gribbin, last year's member, generously volunteered several extra weeks of time beyond his call of duty to support MSAC before Maddie's start and also helped with her early orientation to MSAC on Monday, September 13. The team is thrilled to welcome her on board, she's already hit the ground running, and we’ll share more about Maddie in the October Active Times!
Andrew Gribbin: Reflections on a year of service to MSAC
Janna recently sat down to chat with Andrew in advance of his end of service. Readers may be surprised to learn that our recent Aging in Place Americorps member is originally from Montpelier and graduated from MHS over a decade ago. He studied anthropology in college and spent time in South Africa, deeply inspired by Nelson Mandela’s persistence in demanding justice and equality – “a beacon of human goodness.” Andrew’s inspiration to apply for Americorps in August 2020 was his desire to give back to the community in which he was raised and to interact with the older adult population with whom he’d previously had limited experience.
Andrew fondly remembers his direct interactions with members--how engaging, appreciative and kind they’ve been. On one occasion after performing a home-based chore to assist a member, he was unexpectedly gifted with delicious “good boy brownies!” Andrew found it fulfilling to be able to build relationships with some MSAC members over the course of the year, and he hopes they understand that he got as much out of the interactions as he gave!
We are so grateful for Andrew’s service and his camaraderie! Please join us in wishing him all the best as he starts his next adventure working to support Aging in Place! To read the full profile of Andrew in our September newsletter, click here and look for page 6.
Fall Class Registration is underway - Sign up today!
Please sign up now for our Adult Fall classes - we've got 38 options in-person and online in Fine Arts & Humanities, Active Living & Wellness, and Yoga! Most meet for 10-12 weeks, but there are exceptions ranging from 1-8 weeks as well. Nearly all are open to the general public, not just seniors, and financial aid is available to members. Let us know if you need help learning to use Zoom! People of any town or state of residence can sign up for MSAC classes!
Returning from a hiatus or with a new focus:
- Moving for Parkinson's and other Neuro-movement Challenges with Mary Chris Delbina (In-person at MSAC)
- Hua Yue Tai Chi, with Ellie Hayes (In-person outside and at MSAC)
- Qigong Sampler, with Ellie Hayes (In-person outside and at MSAC)
- Digital Photography, with Linda Hogan (In-person at MSAC)
- Film Appreciation: Creative Types, with Rick Winston (In-person at MSAC)
- Opera IV: 21st Century, with Erik Nielsen (Zoom)
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet, with Lisa Mase (Zoom)
- Pastels, with Jeneane Lunn (Zoom)
- Great Decisions (Current Events Issues), with Barbara Thompson and John Turner (Zoom)
Trash Tramps: Strength in Numbers & Spiffy in Vests!
Volunteer with MSAC at Home!
MSAC needs your help to continue providing valuable services to those in our community! MSAC at Home continues to offer indoor tasks assistance (such as changing lightbulbs and smoke alarm batteries, installing and removing AC units), outdoor chore assistance (such as light garden and yard work, wood stacking, raking), and basic technology assistance to those who need it. Being able to maintain and eventually expand these offerings depends on the buy-in of community members, including MSAC members, who can provide these needed services to older adults in our area. As an MSAC at Home volunteer, you determine how much or little you can help and with what elements of the program. More information can be found on our website, https://www.montpelier-vt.org/msac-at-home, or by contacting MSAC’s new Aging in Place Coordinator, Maddie Sholar, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-262-6287.
MSAC at Home’s Tech Device Lending Library is in the works!
We’ve ordered twenty devices that are expected to arrive in about a month, and we are lining up a training partnership with Technology for Tomorrow. Central VT Council on Aging is a key partner in this initiative, and both they and we are going through staff transitions that have affected the timeline of this exciting new offering. We anticipate being able to offer devices, internet and training to members starting in late Fall or early Winter. Stay tuned for more details!
Indoor and Outdoor Space Rentals available with Senior Center, FEAST Kitchen, Parks and Recreation
Trying to resume pandemic-paused group meet-up or schedule a one-time special event or meeting? We have affordable indoor and outdoor spaces in many shapes and locations, some with audio-visual available. We also rent out our fully licensed commercial kitchen when not in use for FEAST senior meals production. To learn more or request space at Community Services Department facilities, visit https://www.montpelier-vt.org/337/Facility-Rentals or call 225-8699. Masking required indoors in all city facilities by all people at this time, regardless of vaccine status.
Enchanted Forest Dates Updated!
Mark your calendars for October 29-30 for this year's Enchanted Forest, an annual tradition of the Parks & Trees Department. We'll have more information to share in the coming weeks!
Tae Kwon Do Classes for Youth & Adults!
Beginners who want to learn the art of Tae Kwon Do are welcome and encouraged to join these instructional classes offered twice a week for ten weeks with instructor Matthew Girouard. Classes are Mondays & Thursdays, 9/9-12/20 (skip 10/11, 11/25), 5:30-6:30pm at Montpelier Recreation Gym, 55 Barre Street. Fee: $84 for residents, $126 for non-residents. Sign up by visiting the Montpelier Recreation website or calling 225-8699. Online registration: Event code 2526A.
MSAC’s office hours and customer service options
We are once again open for in-person customer service in the office, Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm most days with varying brief lunch closures. Most Tuesdays we’ll close early at 3:00pm. If you need to make arrangements for earlier customer service, Norma is often there earlier than 9am, so contact her to inquire: email@example.com. Call if you need help or have questions for Harry or Norma at 223-2518.
FEAST Farm Tour Report in June: A Resounding Success!
Click here for full report
Advisory Council Recognitions and Welcomes
Thank you to outgoing Advisory Council (AC) members--Bob Barrett, Mary Alice Bisbee and Bill Doelger–all recognized for their unique contributions at the Annual Meeting on June 22. Welcome to newly elected AC members Mariah Lane, Jean Olson and Rick Winston, who started their two-year terms on June 22. Welcome back to Dianne Maccario and Laura Morse, both of whom were elected for a second term. Finally, on June 22, the AC also recognized two volunteers who really went “Above and Beyond” this past year with MSAC service: Mary Carlson and Laura Morse.
FEAST Farm Journal
Submitted by Leila Faulstich-Hon | ECO Americorps | Trees and Watersheds Steward
City of Montpelier Parks and Trees Department
Today, I stand at the edge of the farm and look out, wide-eyed. So much has changed in a couple of weeks. Our new farm manager Dave arrived, and now the farm is in full swing. Today, the sun is spilling across the land. The baby leaves on the cottonwood trees spurt like green foam from twig tips and a gaggle of Canada Geese squawk across the sky. All week we have been busy preparing beds. FEAST Farm is a no-till farm. This means that we try to disturb the structure of the soil as little as possible. No-till farms require a lot of weeding in the beginning to establish a good place for crops to grow. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of volunteers to help us-- kneeing, sitting, squatting, up to their elbows in dirt, high schoolers and National Life Volunteers wrestle with the roots of sod and dandelion. Last week, they also helped us plant 450 riparian trees by the water! When grown, these trees will create a riparian buffer, which helps improve water quality and provides habitat for a lot of species. In other growing news, the tomato plants are becoming robust in the greenhouse. Last-year’s garlic’s soft green shoots sway like antennas in the wind. It’s exciting and overwhelming. I feel like chanting: All are welcome at FEAST Farm! The growing season has begun!
MSAC Thanks Web Industries for support of Remembering Our Veterans Event May 28!
Huge thanks to local business, Web Industries (formerly known as Cadcut), for their sponsorship of our annual event in advance of Memorial Day, back from a 2020 pandemic pause! Not only did Web Industries give MSAC a grant to generously cover all expenses for the luncheon for eighty Veterans, their families, and other older adults who attended, they also provided five employees to serve the luncheon curbside from our facility!
In addition to the delicious BBQ meal, attendees enjoyed fanfare of flags and gratitude, plus not one but TWO live bands as they drove around the senior center to pick up their curbside meals. Out front on Barre Street, the MSAC “Swingin’ Over Sixty” band played in the courtyard. On the side near meal pick-up, guests enjoyed traditional music on banjo, guitar and fiddle, played by local musicians Kathleen Moore, Chris Hollis and Alec Ellsworth, pictured in photo here (missing: Jenny Monfore). If Alec’s name is familiar, it’s because he’s also our Parks & Trees Director and City of Montpelier co-worker of MSAC staff! Finally, huge thanks to FEAST Manager Sarah Lipton, Americorps member Andrew Gribbin, volunteer Carole Baker, and countless others who pulled together this special event.
We are Grateful to VT Community Foundation, Hoehl Family Foundation, National Life Group Charitable Foundation & Central Vermont Council on Aging!
All of the above organizations recently awarded MSAC generous grants to support either MSAC’s general operating expenses or our FEAST Senior Nutrition Program. Thank you, community! We are also grateful to individual donors and small businesses!
- $5,000 from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund of the VT Community Foundation (FEAST)
- $5,000 from COVID-19 Relief Funds from Central Vermont Council on Aging (FEAST)
- $15,000 from National Life Group Charitable Foundation (GOE)
- $60,000 from Hoehl Family Foundation, paid in $20,000 installments annually for three years (GOE)
Membership Renewal: It’s time to renew your membership for the July 1 year start, especially if you want the best rate on Summer class registration that starts next Monday, June 14 (classes begin week of July 5). See benefits summary online here. Your form should have arrived in the mail; let us know if it didn't or if you need a new one!
Volunteer with Montpelier Parks!
Do you have a hankering to get outside and do something positive to help the community? We have a volunteer project for you! We usually host at least 1 community volunteer day every week to do something different around our parks. It might be trail work, planting trees, pulling invasive plants, working at the FEAST Farm, or something else, but you'll get to do meaningful work with our great crew and other volunteers. To sign up for our listserv email JHuettenmoser@Montpelier-vt.org.
Farewell and Thank you to Becca Jordan!
Becca Jordan, Communications & Development Coordinator for Community Services (Senior Center, Parks, and Recreation) has left city employment just shy of her third anniversary with us. She will soon start an exciting new job at The Center for an Agricultural Economy, based in Hardwick-- a position related to her current one and in a field closely aligned to her educational background and passions. Becca’s three years of excellent service to Community Services included weathering a pandemic and strengthening MSAC’s outreach and fundraising strategies, among many other contributions she made to the City. In her wake, Becca is leaving some significant recent grant awards for both MSAC and Parks, and she wrote a large grant application for Recreation in her final days! Thanks, Becca; we wish you all the best! Readers, stay tuned for news of our plans to fill this vacancy as soon as is reasonably possible!
Anonymous gift to fund MSAC technology upgrades and device-lending library
We are thrilled to announce that due to the tremendous generosity of an anonymous donor this spring, we are in the process of planning significant technology upgrades to improve the experience, access, and equity of senior center services. Though details are still being worked out, the two main areas the donor’s funding will support are (1) establishing a lending library of technology devices (and training) for members and (2) purchasing, upgrading and installing audio-visual and related equipment in MSAC classrooms to enhance both on-site and remote programs. We look forward to sharing updates as we make progress!