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Posted by Tricia Becker

Community Service Day in Vermont

April 30, 2019

Each year the employees at Hallam-ICS volunteer a day of service to local charitable organizations. This year the Vermont office decided to divide and conquer. We split into smaller groups and provided services to 5 well deserving organizations in our community.Ronald McDonald House COTSA group of volunteers was formed when two groups of Hallam-ICS employees, performing a similar service, came together as one. We provided a meal of chili, salad, and corn bread for the Ronald McDonald House and the COTS day station in Burlington. Ronald McDonald House showed us just how wonderfully hospitable they are by allowing us to come spend most of the day in their kitchen preparing; not just a meal for the families staying there, but also for those without a place to stay at COTS.  This showed the real heart of those working in our community to reach out to those who need a hand. We made two awesome chilis. One was loaded with meat and was rather spicy; and the other a fine vegetarian chili made with fresh vegetables, beans, and chick peas.  The folks we served at COTS that day were very pleased with the hearty chili, salad, and corn bread.  It was great to be able to help a little bit, and give some folks a good meal. A special treat included ice cream donated by Ben & Jerry’s.

The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) is the largest service provider for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.  COTS offers emergency shelter, prevention assistance, support services, and transitional and permanent housing for those who are homeless and marginally housed.  We believe: in the value and dignity of every human life; that housing is a fundamental human right; and that emergency shelter is not the solution to homelessness.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Burlington, Vermont, the “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children seeking treatment at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital.  It is our aim to be a refuge for families experiencing the stress and anguish of their loved one’s illness.  Whether for a short stay, or for weeks at a time, we provide families with the comforts of home as well as the support of our dedicated staff and volunteers. We have been keeping families close for 33 years.

LundThe team assembled at the Lund Family Center in South Burlington to build a playset. We spent the first hour or so unpacking all the parts, bringing them over to the building location, and removing all the pesky plastic bags that held the parts. We then realized that the purpose of the bags was to label each part and avoid any confusion!  After a lot of checking instructions, and swapping parts, most of the frame was built. Things went a little more smoothly after that since it became easier to see where parts fit together. We finished adding the climbing wall, rope ladder and roof, and moved onto adding the rubber bumpers and mulch. To ensure safety, the team took some time “load testing” the set before cleaning up and heading home.

Lund Family Center, works to break the cycles of poverty, addiction and abuse by supporting pregnant and parenting teens, young adults, and adoptive families with our integrated, compassionate services.The overarching goal of Lund’s education, treatment, adoption and family support services is that every child grows up in a safe, secure and loving family.   Our unique and award winning programs wraparound families meeting them where they are and helping them to make progress towards their education, family and employment goals.

Lund has been helping Vermonters for the past 125 years and we are committed to being a welcoming, supportive and helpful environment for women, children and families when they need us most.  Our programs help approximately 4,400 people each year across the entire state of Vermont.

Camp Ta Kum Ta It has been an unseasonably warm fall so we were hoping that the day would be good for outdoor projects. We were returning to a familiar place, Camp Ta Kum Ta, to spend our Vermont office service day. Our entire office converged on the camp last year where we were given a tour and Jim, our contact, explained how the camp provides a true camp experience to children who have or have had cancer and their families through year-round programming

All members of our group had participated last year so we arrived ready to work.  It was an amazing day and the camp offered stunning view of Lake Champlain. Jim greeted us and gave us an update on the latest projects at the camp including a new pavilion to be built in the upcoming months.

The morning was starting off a little windy and cool (we could view the white caps on the lake) so Jim offered us an indoor cleaning project to start. We tackled the industrial kitchen and an adjoining storage area, cleaning it in preparation for an upcoming Father’s weekend. 

We took a quick break for lunch, soaking up some sun and fighting the wind to hold onto our food. It was still cool out but a chance to be out of the office in the fresh air was too great to pass up.

In the afternoon, we moved onto painting – two sides of the security cabin and another area on the main lodge, taking turns on the ladders and on the ground. We finished up the afternoon tired but in good spirits feeling thankful that we could make a small contribution to a really great place.

Founded in 1984, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta was established through the efforts of Ted and Debby Kessler to recreate the mind and body healing experiences their son Todd, had received at a cancer camp in New York State.

Each year Camp Ta-Kum-Ta tries to squeeze in as many life experiences and memories as possible into one magical week. Along with traditional camp activities such as swimming, athletics, ropes course, and arts & crafts, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as rock climbing expeditions, hot-air balloon rides, formal dances, and lake cruises.

ANEW PlaceOur task at ANEW Place was twofold, one to repair an existing cyclone fence and two to construct two walls and a roof to form a shed at edge of the building. Our fence team attacked the work with vim and vigor; removing the damaged sections, pulling the rotten/broken posts and digging holes for replacements posts.

The other team worked with alacrity to first carefully remove the existing building siding for reuse on the final shed, living by the Yankee axiom of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” Then this team set and level horizontal sills on concrete piers pre-installed by the project’s erudite leader.

The fence team joined the shed team and worked together to clad the exposed exterior of the building with low-permeability materials. The original shed team pre-built the front wall and then set it into place. With the front wall in place, great minds set to collaborate on the advanced engineering needed for the roof rafters.

The next day, a smaller, focused team added roll roofing to the sheathing and then a corrugated, galvanized carbon steel cover for superb water resistance. They also mounted the shed’s door. Two times… as it turns out, we should have allowed our finish carpenter to measure the opening for the exterior door. Fortunately, rough carpenters are really, really good at cutting bigger openings in existing wall structures

Though the home did not host a champagne bottle-breaking christening of the building or naming ceremony, they certainly appreciated the work and will put the shed to good use.

The mission of ANEW Place is to provide a holistic continuum of services for the homeless, centered in love and dignity, that foster growth, cultivate community engagement, and provide tools for lifelong change so that each person may start anew.

VYCCThe group met up in the morning at the VYCC farm on rt. 2 in Richmond. We were greeted by some wonderful staff who gave us the run down on what to expect for the day. We learned that most of the folks we were working with were AmeriCorps members who were serving a term on the farm that started back in March and would be ending in November. During our picture-perfect Vermont fall day we harvested leeks and celeriac all of which would either be sold at the farm stand or used in the HCS deliveries scheduled in the following weeks.

The Farm at VYCC is a non-profit conservation and education organization with the mission of teaching young people personal responsibility through meaningful work that connects us to the land, community, and one another. VYCC programs operate year-round, throughout Vermont and beyond. Corps Members’ hard work results in the Health Care Share (HCS), which provides Vermonters with farm fresh food, nutritional education and medical care. Each week of the growing season, more than 400 families receive a share of fruit, vegetables, herbs, and pasture raised poultry.

About the author

I joined Hallam-ICS as the Office Manager in 2015. I bring with me 14+ years of property management and office management skills, 18 years of Mom expertise and 7 years of owning a bakery and creating tasty works of edible cookie art. I have a passion for cycling in my spare time.

Read   My Hallam Story 

About Hallam-ICS

Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and North Carolina and our projects take us world-wide. 

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Topics: Culturally Different, Social Mission, zz Service Day Vermont

Tricia Becker

By Tricia Becker

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April 30, 2019

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