Putney Mutual Aid

Dear Putney Mutual Aid Survey Participants,

With your feedback in hand, a group of Putney neighbors has coordinated a Putney Mutual Aid toolkit for the community to use in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Here’s what it includes:

  1. Putney Mutual Aid Resource Page: Putney/Vermont-specific resources, information and links – a living document
  2. Putney Mutual Aid Needs & Offerings Sheet: a shared online document, enabling neighbors with needs and offers to connect
  3. Putney Mutual Aid Confidential Needs Survey: a survey that allows you to communicate your need confidentially rather than enter into spreadsheet directly

SAFETY: To reduce transmission of COVID-19 the State of VT has asked us to stay at home and keep social distance of 6 feet. If we go out of the house, we are asked to maintain distance, avoid going into anyone’s home, and wash our hands before and after. Volunteers are being asked to follow Vermont Public Safety instructions to keep everyone safe and healthy.  https://vem.vermont.gov/neighborly

Please familiarize yourself with the links above and feel free to share this letter with your Putney network. If you would prefer not to use the Sheet, be assured that the information you shared on the original Putney Area Mutual Aid Survey is completely confidential, and is being handled as follows:

If you communicated an offer to help
You may have already heard from someone on the Mutual Aid team to match you to a neighbor’s need or to connect you with a community organization. We invite you to add your information directly to the Putney Mutual Aid Needs & Offerings Sheet. We are happy to do this for you, just reply to this email and let us know. We will not transfer your data to the Google Sheet unless expressly instructed by you.

If you communicated a need
You can expect to hear from a community organization or individual in the next few days, if you haven’t already. You are welcome to post any new needs on the Putney Mutual Aid Google Sheet, or submit your need on the Putney Mutual Aid Confidential Needs Survey and someone from Putney Mutual Aid will assist in matching you to a neighbor volunteer.

This toolkit isn’t perfect, but we think it’s a solid start. It’s been pulled together by a few neighbors juggling kids, jobs and cabin fever. Expect messiness at times, especially at first. The bottom line is, we’re a strong community made up of people who show up for one another. We will get through this together.
Be well and stay safe,

The Putney Mutual Aid Leadership Team
Kathleen Duich, Ruby McAdoo and Sarah Armour-Jones

P.S. We will post the toolkit and communications to the public about Putney Mutual Aid to our facebook page — please follow us!
https://www.facebook.com/PutneyVTMutualAid

Join us in online Worship

For the health and protection of our Meeting community and to support the public health of the wider community in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, Putney Friends Meeting has suspended in-person Meeting for Worship. We are experimenting with using online worship as an alternative, using the Zoom conferencing service. Please be patient, we are all new to this. Many in our community are familiar with Zoom; some are not. For those who are not, instructions for how to set up and join a Zoom conference follow at the end. 

Many have participated in meetings of various kinds on Zoom; few have participated in a meeting for worship on Zoom. To help establish and sustain the quality of worship, we have prepared some advices below. First, for ease of reference, here is the Meeting for Worship information, with details on setup further below:

Online Meeting for Worship

Topic: Putney Friends Meeting – Meeting for Worship

Time: First Day, Sunday, You may go on-line to join the Meeting beginning at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (if you are new to Zoom, begin your sign in between 9 and 9:15 to become familiar with the screen environment). 

The “Meeting for Worship” begins at 9:30 AM; settling into worship early is always helpful. 

To join the Meeting for Worship email the Clerk for the link: clerk@putneyfriendsmeeting.org


Advices for Participating in Online Worship 

 We have three Friends hosting the meeting:

Clerk (Hosting the Meeting for Worship)

Greeter (Welcoming you to Meeting via “Chat”)

Tech-host  (Answering technical related questions via“Chat”) 

– Enter the meeting in silence as you would for an in-person meeting for worship. Do not introduce yourself when you enter. 

– Keep your device on mute unless you are speaking. Everyone will be muted by default upon entering, and the clerk as host has the ability to mute and unmute any participant. Background noise  such as dogs barking or cell phones ringing can be very disruptive to the spirit of worship and make it hard to hear. 

– If you are led to speak 

=As always, allow some silence after any preceding message to allow it to settle in our hearts. 

= Unmute your device. (see instructions)

=Pause briefly in case someone else has also started to speak. If so, wait for the clerk to recognize you. Otherwise, start speaking. 

=Mute your device when you are done. (The tech-host may do so if you forget.) 

– Continuing in worship, the clerk will close the meeting at the appropriate time and invite afterthoughts, joys and concerns and announcements as usual. Continue to follow the same advices for speaking. 

– If you need to get the attention of the tech-host for any reason, use the chat feature to address your message (Be sure to select “tech-host” and not “everyone”)

Respect the privacy of the Meeting. Do not share photos or screen shots of attendees.


Tips for using Zoom and Joining a Zoom Meeting 

– Set up Zoom a day in advance of the meeting time. Allow more time if you think you may need assistance. If you need assistance ahead of time, call Michelle Wright at: 802-689-0716. 

Here is a link to learn how to join a meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting-

– Familiarize yourself with the Zoom features you will use during the meeting, such as muting and unmuting, starting and stopping your video, controlling what you see, and the chat feature. 

Here is a link to learn the controls: https://westernfriend.org/media/how-use-zoom-videoconferencing

-Use only one audio connection per room, ensuring all other microphones and speakers are muted. (For example, you might have more than one person in a room and might be tempted to each use your own device to connect.) 

-Before the Meeting begins  log in at least 15 minutes early. 


Instructions for Setting Up Zoom and Joining a Zoom Meeting 

Download and Install to your Computer or Mobile Device 

-Get the latest software for your device at Download Zoom

-New to Zoom? You can test Zoom here: Test Zoom 

 

Coronavirus-Covid19 Precautions

 

Over the past few days, we have all become more attentive to the growing concerns over COVID19. The US Center for Disease Control urges everyone to take standard precautions by washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home when sick.

We hope we will not need to close our programs or limit our celebrations. We will be following the guidelines of our local and state officials in this regard.

As a close community that invites connections, we reach out now to engage all our members in these simple, common-sense steps to ensure a lower risk environment:
1) If you are feeling unwell, even just with a cold, please stay home from Meeting, and other events at PFM. COVID 19 can appear very mild in some people, but the same mild virus in one person can result in a life-threatening problem for someone else. Please make thoughtful choices, keeping in mind the entire PFM community, when deciding if you or your children are healthy enough to attend an event. Stay home and keep others safe if you are unsure.

2) The most effective method to avoid contracting or spreading this virus is HAND WASHING. Please wash your hands well, using soap and water for 20 seconds, and be sure to dry them fully (viruses like wet surfaces more than dry ones). Be sure to cover coughs and sneezes.

3) For the time being, we’ll avoid handshakes and hugs at rise of Meeting and when greeting each other. Please join us in finding fun and creative ways to say hello, good morning and Peace without touching.

4) At events with food, we will be changing our habits to reduce chances of transmission. We ask that anyone preparing or serving food wear gloves.

5) If you are staying home from services or events because of illness, we want to know! Please contact the Clerk, Clerk of Ministry & Counsel or Pastoral Care Committee  so we can check in with you and hold you in the Light in healing prayer

Please reach out to us if you are in need of support in any way. Let’s care for each other with open hearts and covered coughs!

 

Putney Friends Meetinghouse Photos, Jean Schnell

Dear Putney Friends,

Last summer I photographed Putney Meetinghouse.  I have uploaded the best of the photos onto my website, and look forward to getting feedback on them from the people who know the place the best: your members and attenders! .  Which ones do you like best, are there any that are not true to what you know and love about your Meetinghouse?  At some point, I will cull the photos currently on my website to only the best of the best, so your feedback would be really helpful.

Putney Friends Meetinghouse Worship Space
Meeting members voted this photo their most favorite.

If you go to JeanSchnell.com, find the Meetinghouse gallery in the top menu bar.  If you scroll over that, there is a dropdown selection, and you will find your Meetinghouse listed alphabetically.  I may also post one or more of these photos on my Facebook page called Framing the Light, and also on my Instagram site call jeanschnellphoto, so keep an eye out in those places!

And I also want you to know that beginning on March 18, some of my photos( tho not of your Meetinghouse)  will be exhibited at the Center for the Study of World Religions ( AKA Harvard Divinity School, 42 Francis Ave, Cambridge, MA).  The Opening Reception will be on March 26 from 5-6:30.  I am very happy to say that Noah Merrill will be with me at the Opening Reception.  One of the fears one has with Opening Receptions is that no one will come, so I hope for many Friends, and friends,  to join me.   Showing these photos in a place where people are interested in spirituality and religion is a wonderful opportunity for outreach.  I have attached the info….please let people know!

Jean Schnell, Exhibition invitation

I loved photographing in your Meetinghouse, and I have appreciated the opportunity you gave to me to do so.  Thank you again for making this work possible.

Jean Schnell

 

 

Member News: Chloe Learey

VTDigger Report

Chloe Learey: Strategies to increase child care slots

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, executive director of the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro, and a member of the Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council. The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce recently named her Entrepreneur of the Year.

In the recent survey by the Child Care Counts Coalition of Windham County employers indicated that challenges around child care create a burden on business. A lack of quality, affordable child care impacts existing business as well as healthy economic development. The shortage of child care spots, especially for infants and toddlers (ages 0 to 3), has been well researched. We cannot afford to ignore this issue if we want our region and our state to attract a vibrant workforce and support thriving communities.

This is not a new issue in Vermont. Twenty years ago, a group called the Child Care Fund of Vermont issued a report titled “A Vermont Employer’s Guide to Child Care Solutions” which offered strategies for employers to consider in order to support employees who juggle the demands of parenting. Today, several organizations have picked up this idea of investing in a variety of projects aimed at supporting child care in Vermont. These initiatives are working to identify statewide opportunities and develop local initiatives to make a difference. While individual employers can develop their own strategies for supporting employees, the issues around child care are larger than any one company, and it will take a coalition to move the needle on some of the biggest challenges we face in maintaining and increasing the child care slots needed to support economic growth.

Challenge #1: There are not enough early educators.

Early care and education are not babysitting. The field has become more professionalized with the need for more qualifications. Right now, there are two local programs that are reducing their available spots for children due to a lack of staff, and one that has a classroom ready to open but cannot find teachers.

Strategy 1: Invest in workforce development.

Investing in workforce development, from creating opportunities for people to get in on the ground floor to subsidizing their education at the college level, addresses this challenge. For instance, the Windham Regional Career Center is sponsoring a course for people interested in getting the baseline qualifications for being able to be hired into a classroom position. “Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education” will run from Sept. 24 to Nov. 19 and could help generate up to 12 potential employees.

Strategy 2: Subsidize post-secondary education.

In a field that boasts some of the lowest wages of any job classification, college credits are a requirement for climbing the early educator career ladder. Supporting people to pursue advanced degrees will make the field more attractive. The United Way of Windham County has a Fund for Quality Early Education that provides resources for a range of activities that help improve the field, including money for professional development. Growing this fund can help more people enter and stay in the profession. This local solution can be adapted to other regions. More broadly, the state could consider some sort of loan forgiveness program or subsidizing the education of students in early education at Vermont state colleges.

Challenge #2: There are not enough slots.

“Stalled at the Start” estimates that 73 percent of infants in Windham County likely will not have access to a regulated program, and people get on waiting lists as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

Strategy: Provide funds to increase infrastructure.

Vermont Birth to 5, an initiative of The Permanent Fund, has created a statewide grant program, “Make Way for Kids,” to give funds towards projects that will increase quality child care slots. This concept could be expanded locally using the Windham County United Way Fund for Quality Early Education as well. So, for instance, if someone considers opening a program out of their home and needs to make some renovations, they could apply to the fund for assistance.

Challenge #3: Child care is too expensive.

Strategy: Increase scholarships and subsidies for families.

One of the conundrums in solving the child care puzzle is how to cover costs of providing the service and pay a wage that attracts a strong workforce without increasing tuition which already costs as much as housing every month. Employers can offer benefits that help alleviate the financial burden such as Flexible Spending Accounts and direct financial assistance such as a child care allowance. The costs of turnover and absenteeism help pay for the investments employers might make in this way. Child Care Fund of Vermont laid out these and other options 20 years ago!

There are concrete steps we can take together to solve the child care puzzle. If all the pieces fall in place, our future workforce gets the strong foundation they need to succeed, our current workforce can participate in the local economy, and our communities will grow and thrive the way we hope.