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Morning Workshops

Chittenden County Community Outreach Initiative (Panel Discussion)
Recognizing the impact mental health and substance abuse-related concerns were having in their community, So. Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn and Police Chief Trevor Whipple convened a group of Chittenden County Managers and First Responder Chiefs from six communities (So. Burlington, Shelburne, Colchester, Williston, Essex, Winooski) to discuss these concerns and identify potential resources. A common thread existed – an increasing number of calls to law enforcement which could be better addressed by someone with skills and expertise in mental health and substance abuse, and knowledge of area social services. These communities partnered with their local Designated Agency, the Howard Center, to develop the Community Outreach Initiative. This model is similar to the Howard Center’s long-standing Burlington Street Outreach team, but uniquely suited to the communities’ needs, where an outreach team member works closely with law enforcement and municipal ambulance teams to respond to calls related to mental health, substance abuse, and/or social service needs. These responses may occur in tandem, in advance of, or following a law enforcement encounter. This workshop examines the specific issues communities were facing, how they came together to develop the initiative, the challenges and barriers along the way, and the successes to date.

Speaker Bio: Kevin Dorn grew up in southwest Minnesota graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Minnesota State University. Kevin spent ten years working in Washington DC on the staffs of three Members of Congress before moving to Vermont with his wife, Kathryn Finnie, in 1988. Kevin has served as Executive Officer of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont, as Secretary of Commerce and Community Development under Governor Jim Douglas and now for five years as City Manager of South Burlington.


Speaker Bio: Trevor Whipple began his Vermont policing career in 1983 with the City of Barre. He worked his way through the ranks leaving after more than 6 years as the chief in 2006. In 2006 he was selected to be the chief in South Burlington. Through out his career he has continually sought ways to assist people in the community who are facing challenges; such as domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness. Most recently working to help establish an imbedded social worker program in Chittenden County.


Speaker Bio: Ann Janda has been with the Town of Shelburne since April 2015. She manages projects, day-to-day town operations, and coordinates the work of the public works department. As appointed by the Town Manager, Ann may also serve as Acting Town Manager. Ann received a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Vermont in 2016 and has been a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) since 2014. Previously, Ann worked as a Management Fellow for the Town of Milton. Ann also served as the Director of Marketing at Vermont Commons School and Marketing Manager/Writer at Dwight Asset Management Company, now a division of Goldman Sachs. Ann lives in Hinesburg with her husband, Philip Galiga (a South Burlington High School teacher).


Speaker Bio: Brandi Littlefield is the Assistant Director of First Call for Chittenden County (FCCC – the integrated crisis team that serves all members of Chittenden County, regardless of age or diagnosis) and the lead for the Community Outreach Program. She has been a Howard Center employee for over 18 years, previously acting as a Senior Manager for Developmental Services where she also served as the leader for the On-call Crisis Team. She has dual degrees in Psychology and English from Norwich University and lives in Burlington, Vermont. Two of Brandi’s greatest charges in her role are her liaison relationships between FCCC and the Police Departments across the county, as well as UVMMC.


Intentional Peer Support – Working to Build Relationships That Include Rather Than Coerce
The most powerful, memorable and life-changing relationships are ones that connect, and where both or all parties are able to be seen and heard. Incidents of force and coercion are almost always traumatic (often for all parties involved). This workshop covers the basic principles and tasks of intentional peer support, and offers some examples of connecting with an intent to finding possibilities that work for everyone. These skills are of value to anyone in any role. The workshop will include an overview, videos and some interactive exercises.

Speaker Bio: A New Zealander by birth, Chris Hansen is the Director of Intentional Peer Support, and has been co-teaching and developing Intentional Peer Support in the United States and in other countries with Shery Mead for the past twelve years. Chris has spent twenty years involved in local, regional, national and international peer support and advocacy initiatives, and in mental health sector planning and politics from a service user perspective. Other roles have included clinical and management roles in both inpatient and outpatient mental health services, leadership within NZ’s award-winning anti-discrimination campaign, research for the NZ Mental Health Commission, and involvement in the development of the NZ national mental health strategic plan and workforce development strategy. Chris was a member of the New Zealand delegation to the United Nations for the development of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; has served on the board of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and has played a key role in the development of a number of peer-run crisis alternatives.


Lessons From the Field: An Eldercare Clinician’s Perspective Working With Some of the State’s Most Vulnerable Adults
The Eldercare program was started in Vermont over 17 years ago with the mandate to focus on the mental health needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens—homebound individuals over the age of 60. In this workshop, we will talk about how the Eldercare program has been implemented in Rutland county to address the challenges, concerns and needs of a segment of the senior population. We will discuss strategies and interventions which have been helpful in the recovery of clients and their achievement of their mental health and personal goals. In addition, we will talk about what is going well and what is not, identify gaps in services, and talk about actual cases to illustrate the resilience and strengths of the remarkable folks served in the Eldercare program.

Speaker Bio: Cinda Donton has been the Eldercare clinician in Rutland County for the past 17 years. The position is a collaboration between Rutland Mental Health Services and the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging and serves folks over the age of 60 who are, largely, homebound, with their mental health needs. In addition, Cinda provides support to caregivers for the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging. Previously, Cinda has worked as a CRT clinician/case manager, TBI case manager, Outreach worker and Director of Social Services for a nursing home. She has a B.A. in psychology from the University of Kansas.


Afternoon Workshops

Housing Retention: Helping Those at Risk for Homelessness (Panel Discussion)
One of NAMI Vermont’s 2018 advocacy priorities is providing access to appropriate and affordable housing for people with mental health conditions. Even when appropriate and affordable housing is found, some individuals need additional supports to find stability. This panel discussion will look at the proactive work that is being done in and around the Burlington community to help individuals with disabilities maintain their housing and reduce cycles of homelessness. Panelists will share information, stories and strategies garnered from their experiences in the field. Questions from the audience will be welcomed.

Speaker Bio: Jessica Radbord is a staff attorney in the Burlington office of Vermont Legal Aid. She represents low-income tenants at risk of eviction and facing loss of federal and state subsidies. She has acted as a trainer for attorneys and advocates on landlord-tenant law, subsidized housing law, the housing protections of the Violence Against Women Act, and protections and accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act. She is involved in federal and state legislative and administrative advocacy. Jessica also serves on the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance and Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness.


Speaker Bio: David O’Leary is a Housing Retention Specialist with the Burlington Housing Authority who specializes in hoarding and squalor cases. David joined BHA in 2015 after two years of domestic violence advocacy at STEPS to End Domestic Violence (Formerly Women Helping Battered Women). David also serves as co-coordinator of the Chittenden County Hoarding Task Force, the first of its kind in Vermont. David attends the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at Saint Michael’s College and will graduate with his Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology in May, 2017. David offers an approach to hoarding and squalor intervention based on evidence-based techniques, but believes that a humanistic and compassionate foundation lies at the heart of his work.


Speaker Bio: Mike Ohler has worked at Burlington Housing Authority since 2005 in several roles, as an Offender Reentry Housing Specialist, as a Transitional Housing Specialist, and most currently as a Housing Retention Specialist. Mike has also been teaching sociology, social work and writing classes at local colleges for more than 20 years.



Speaker Bio: Lindsay Casale has over 6 years of experience leading Housing First programs at Pathways Vermont. Prior to that, Lindsay worked with people experiencing homelessness in New York City in shelters and soup kitchens throughout the city. Lindsay currently serves as the Director of Housing First Programs at Pathways Vermont and looks forward to ending homelessness in the state.


Creating a Healing Environment: Moving Towards the Elimination of Restraint & Seclusion at CVMC by Redefining its Meaning & Transforming our Culture and Ourselves
Fallibility definition:  1) liable to err, especially in being deceived or mistaken.  2) liable to be erroneous or false; not accurate: fallible information.  “Wisdom is keeping a sense of fallibility”  – Gerald Brenan.  Emotional and physical dysregulation can be viewed as an expression of anger and hostility. Viewing it this way encourages the belief that the person is seeking to harm someone, and the feelings that accompany that meaning are fear and anxiety.  We are attempting to understand it in a different way, and to attach different meaning to it. We have come to believe emotional and physical dysregulation are often about unmet needs. Both people seeking care and those providing it need to feel safe. Fear and anxiety feed emotional and physical dysregulation. The proper response is to seek to alleviate it in ourselves and others. Feelings that accompany that understanding of emotional & physical dysregulation are caring, compassion, and emotional connection. Using this alternative paradigm we have achieved striking results.

Speaker Bio: Paul Capcara is the Director of Inpatient Psychiatry, Emergency Department, & Nursing Resources at Central Vermont Medical Center. A nurse and a lover of wide open spaces and tall mountains, Paul comes from a long line of people with trauma, bi-polar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Paul says, “I am trauma informed from a very young age. I am afraid of hurting people, or not being able to help people who are hurt. I have several college degrees because it’s a good way to help keep yourself safe. I’ve been a Peace Corps Volunteer, run a homeless shelter, provided health care to refugees in a camp, directed a few community health centers, three inpatient psychiatric units, and some other stuff while trying to create meaning from life.”


Finding Hope Through Support (Panel Discussion)
Add tools to your toolkit! Whether you are a family member, a professional, or a peer affected by mental illness, this workshop provides practical tools to help you find the strength, encouragement, and support you need to cope with challenges and maintain wellness. Trained NAMI Vermont leaders with lived experience share advice, lead interactive exercises, and discuss services offered by NAMI Vermont to help you find hope through support.

Speaker Bio: Jim Johnson is a family support group facilitator for NAMI Vermont and has enjoyed the last 13 years helping family members grapple with the challenges of dealing with mental illness and their loved ones. Being involved with his son’s bi-polar diagnosis for the past 30 years, Jim has found his life purpose. His purpose and goal is to assist others going through what can be very challenging and trying times. Jim and his wife, Pat have been married 49 years, have two boys, and live in Essex Junction, VT.

Speaker Bio: Mary Sullivan Cliver has been involved in NAMI Vermont education programs since 2006 as a family member of both a parent and a child with mental illness. Looking for information about local programs, Mary and her husband attended a support group and took the Family-to Family class in 2006. They were later trained to teach both Provider Education and Family-to Family and have led these classes in Burlington, Rutland and Middlebury. Mary also became a Support Group leader, has led Mental Illness and Recovery Workshops in Rutland and Middlebury and has served as a NAMI-VT board member. A degree in English Language and Literature and graduate work in Educational Psychology and Landscape Design have all contributed to her work as a writer, editor and a designer of residential and commercial garden spaces in Virginia and Vermont. Mary believes that it takes a community of caring people to help loved ones live safe and satisfying lives.

Speaker Bio:  Andrea Kolbe has been a Connection Support Group facilitator for nearly a decade and is currently the Peer Leadership Council Chair, a committee on which she has served for the past five years. She graduated from Johnson State College with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies and a Minor in Psychology/Education. Andrea has been a CRT United Counseling Advisory Board Member for over a decade. In addition, she is past secretary and a current board member of her synagogue where she has also taught Jewish studies. She co-founded and has been a co-facilitator of the Vermont Psychiatric Survivors Peer Support Group in Bennington for over 10 years. She enjoys the outdoors, arts and music, and a number of television shows as well as live performances.