Community Roundup – November 17, 2022

Looking for instructors by Friday, Dec. 16, deadline
ACCESS offers numerous affordable classes to the public and is based at Champlain Valley Union High School.

Program leaders are looking for class instructors for the winter-spring semester, which runs from Feb. 1-June 12 (classes may vary in length).

To fill out a new instructor form, see the ACCESS website. Call 802-482-7194 with questions.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of Charlotte
For those looking for an alternative social media outlet for keeping up with Charlotte, there is a Facebook group called Residents of Charlotte, VT, of and for (as the name suggests) residents of Charlotte.

This page is not for political discussions, but welcomes Charlotte events, stories and photos.

Local public relations firm grows to 14 full-time employees
Charlotte-based public relations firm, Junapr, has added its 14th full-time employee, Morgan Whitehouse as associate director.

Whitehouse has nearly a decade of experience in communications and public relations spanning from the ski industry to healthcare to craft beer. Before joining Junapr, Whitehouse worked for an Oregon-based PR firm where she managed multi-channel public relations, digital media and content marketing efforts.

“Morgan brings a depth of experience working with a variety of national clients,” said Nicole Junas Ravlin, founder and CEO of Junapr.

Whitehouse has a bachelor’s in public communication from the University of Vermont and returns to her home state of Vermont after eight years on the West Coast.

Scholarships for becoming early childhood educators
The Curtis Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, announced a scholarship program for Vermonters seeking to become early childhood educators.

The Curtis Fund Commitment: A Comprehensive Scholarship for Early Childhood Educators is a pilot program that will provide scholarships for the full cost of attendance (tuition, fees, housing, food and transportation) to students who wish to earn a certificate in child care at the Community College of Vermont.

“The high cost of educating early childhood educators and the low wages they earn upon graduation causes significant problems for Vermont families and employers alike,” says Amy Mellencamp, president of The Curtis Fund’s board of directors. “Yet our society and economy are dependent upon the availability of child care workers.”

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the median annual wage for a child care worker in Vermont is $29,430. The combined high cost of postsecondary education and low salary are discouraging people from becoming early childhood educators and creating financial hardship for those that do. This program will allow students to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to start their careers, debt-free.

Child care certificate graduates must complete a 24-hour credit program and obtain one year of classroom experience to qualify as a teacher associate.

According to Let’s Grow Kids, another supporting organization of the Community Foundation, teacher associates could fill an estimated 1,600 of the 2,090 openings for early childhood educators in Vermont.

For more information, email or call 802-387-0870.

Program hopes to make first homes more affordable
Vermont Housing Finance Agency announces the launch of the First Generation Homebuyer Program, with a goal of helping more Vermonters afford their first home. This program provides a grant to eligible homebuyers whose parents or legal guardians were likely unable to pass on the generational wealth homeownership can provide.

“Owning a home stabilizes our families and our communities, and this is an important step toward making homeownership available to all Vermonters,” said state Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale who introduced the initiative.

The governor signed the bill into law during a ceremony this summer.

“By putting funding into the hands of Vermonters who have been left out of homebuying opportunities and seeking to buy their first home, we are increasing housing affordability and supporting long-term wealth generation,” said Gov. Phil Scott.

This pilot program is modeled after a federal proposal and provides a $15,000 grant for down payment and closing-cost assistance. To be eligible, all borrowers and non-borrowing spouses must be true first-time homebuyers. Other credit, income, asset and property eligibility requirements apply.

The Vermont law enacting this program places specific emphasis on marketing and outreach to organizations and agencies that serve and represent Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color.

“While this program is not limited to People of Color, we know that three times as many white-led households own their homes compared to Black-led households,” said Maura Collins, Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s executive director.

The First Generation Homebuyer Program is available exclusively for people using a Vermont Housing Finance Agency mortgage through one of the following participating pilot lenders: Academy Mortgage Company, Fairway Mortgage Company, Heritage Family Credit Union, M&T Bank, National Bank of Middlebury, New England Federal Credit Union, Opportunities Credit Union, Peoples Trust Company, Union Bank and Vermont Federal Credit Union.

Interested homebuyers should start by visiting Vermont Housing Finance Agency or by contacting a participating lender directly to ask if they qualify.