Thursday, June 5, 2014

Philanthro-Me: Progress Report on R.E.L.A.T.E Project
Post written by: Sabrina Quimby, Senior at Burlington High School

What is Philanthro-Me? Philanthro-Me is a class offered at Burlington High School during the Year End Studies program that starts after final exams. Using creative problem solving techniques, this program was been focusing on real-life solutions for issues facing local non-profit organizations in Burlington, which include King Street Center and Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Our group in particular interviewed the staff at King Street Center and discussed their needs and obstacles they face as they construct their new building. We have been trying to come up with a sustainable way to help this amazing organization

Our group has been working on a project for King Street Center called R.E.L.A.T.E, which stands for recreation, education, lounging area for teens everyday. When we interviewed the King Street Center staff about the Teen Futures program, they said that teens would like to have more equipment that they could use to create a lively ambiance that isn’t just about school or college. The program itself is already amazing and successful, but we want to make it more attractive to this demographic.

The objective of our project is to enhance the Teen Futures program by donating a corn hole set, ping-pong table, a projector,and things of that nature to draw even more teens into this wonderful program. As more people coming in, they will not only see how much fun it is to go to King Street Center, but also take advantage of the educational parts of the program such as Job Club, College Club, Academic Support, and Healthy Choices.

We have raised $3,250 so far and our goal is to get to $5,000 by Tuesday. Any donation would be much appreciated. For more information about this class, you can follow us on twitter or facebook:

If you would like to make a donation, here’s a link to the page where you can do that. Please make sure to choose “BHS Philanthrome” from drop down menu on donate page:  King Street Center DONATE NOW page 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Have you seen the King Street Center video?

Here's the link!

We are so grateful to the crew at Mt. Mansfield Media and to an anonymous donor on our Board of Directors who made this happy. A shout-out to Martha Maksym, Phil Daniels, Tim Halvorson, Linda Wellings, Jake Agna and to the Board members (and of course the kids!) who were interviewed. Thanks, as always, for your partnership. We feel like this 7 minutes of story-telling truly shows the heart of what we do here at King Street Center.

We've been using the video at small events to help with volunteer recruitment, friend-raising and fund-raising... but now we want to share it with the world!

And, Omar... well. We just think you're amazing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So, you might remember that King Street Center was the beneficiary to the 2012 Laura Kate Winterbottom Wine Tasting and Auction last spring? With the funds raised, King Street Center was able to hire Teaching Artist, Sandra Hawkes, to work with children on-site all summer long. Boy, the kids just loved Sandy. And, they loved, loved, loved creating art.

Sandy taught the kids all sorts of different techniques - a new adventure every day. But, Sandy is a teacher - so she understands the importance of building upon experiences and skills. So, while kids got to bring home their own pieces of art all summer long, they also worked on a long-term project that stayed at King Street Center - a mosaic.

King Street staff were pretty blown away by this project. Not only was it huge - and beautiful - but the kids worked quietly and patiently on it for weeks. It was almost like meditation for them. What we didn't know was that Sandy had reached out to the parents of Laura Kate Winterbottom. (For the tragic story of how the Laura Kate Winterbottom Memorial Fund came to be, read here). Sandy, knowing that her presence at King Street Center was inspired by the life of Laura Winterbottom, reached out to Laura's parents. She invited them to contribute small pieces, emblems, "tesserae" of Laura's life.

So, as you walk in to King Street Center as a child, a parent, a volunteer, a friend - look up and look closely.

See if you can find Laura's butterfly barrette, made of beads and porcupine quills. There is also her dragonfly hairpin. Both were chosen because they represent the beauty and brevity of life. Laura's button with the slogan "Extinct is Forever" succinctly captures Laura's concern for the environment. Ned and JoAnn Winterbottom were recently in Burlington for the annual Laura's March. Their visit also coincided with Laura's birthday. To honor their daughter, they decided to start their day at King Street Center to see the mosaic up in all its glory. A pretty humbling moment for all of us here. Thank you kids, thank you Sandy, and thank you to the Winterbottom family for bringing art to King Street Center.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jake Agna Award

Back on August 2, Frank Willis was presented with the Jake Agna Award.

His mentor, Mark Johnson, gave the follwing speech. Needless to say, there were definitely some misty eyes in the crowd! Congratulations, Frank.

"My name is Mark Johnson, I have been paired with Frank Willis in the Jr\Sr Buddy mentor program for the past 5 years, and I was asked to say a few words. 

The Jake Agna Award is presented annually to a King Street Center youth who exhibits a high level of leadership, engagement, curiosity, humor, teamwork and respect for self and others.

I have to admit, when I read about the Jake Agna award, I pictured someone who “never gets out of line”, is always on the honor roll, is “really easy to deal with”.  And there are young men and women who fit this mold………….and then there is Frank Willis.

When I first met Frank in 6th grade, I noticed some things right away…. his energy, his openness to trying new things, a variety of interests, and the ability to tell a good story.  His grades were not great in Middle school, he did not participate in many organized activities, and he sometimes annoyed people… on purpose (yes, even King Street staff).  Over the first year we knew each other, I began to notice other things…. When he did sit down to do homework, he didn’t rush or scribble…he did a neat, complete job… and sometimes it got handed in.  When he attended an activity (like the King Street Science Thursdays program), he absorbed information quickly, he was smart, he “got it”.  Around the house, he was quick to pitch in and help…he enjoyed life’s adventures and showed it.   

Frank has a support system: a caring mother, his aunt and uncle in Rutland, the people here at King Street, his church community, teachers and his friends including me. But – even with a support system, it is easy for young people to make bad choices: in school, at home, around town.  It is easy to make a mistake, then compound that mistake, to get derailed…to stop trying.

Frank has consistently made good choices, and has taken advantage of the opportunities he has been given.  When he does make mistakes (as we all do), he comes back the next day with a positive attitude. His behavior has opened doors….he began as a Burton Chill participant, Jim Young negotiated an extra year for him in the program, and Frank was eventually chosen by Burton Snowboards to represent Burlington at a Chill summer camp in Oregon. Frank works harder in school then he once did…he was named outstanding freshman at BHS in Social Studies.   He has worked for years at the lemonade stand, and is now assistant manager…and with Jake’s years of instruction and encouragement, Frank joined the BHS tennis team.  People help Frank along the way, but he moves things forward, he does his homework, he practices his tennis, he stays on track.

If I am making Frank sound like a perfect, boring, nose-to-the-grindstone, goody-goody, then I am painting a poor likeness.   Some of the criteria in the Agna award….engagement, curiosity, humor……are definite strong suits.  Frank will at laugh at you, and at himself. Frank is generous….if he has $20 in his pocket, he will share it with you…immediately, and till it is gone.  Frank is a perceptive and loyal friend, and he has a diverse set of friends. You could be Frank’s friend….it is easy, and fun.

So, when I REREAD the criteria for the reward, I realized that Frank is an excellent choice…he is a leader and role model.  Thank you King Street for recognizing Frank’s achievements. 

Monday, August 6, 2012