My father, a 93-year-old, retired obstetrician and gynecologist, always tells me not to tear my rotator cuff patting myself on the back when I start to brag about something I have accomplished. At the risk of significant injury to myself, I want to take a moment to brag about something that the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce does and does very well.
The Chamber offers the best business networking opportunities in Central Vermont, period.
Chamber members network while serving on one of our many committees. Members and not-yet members network while attending any of our successful major events like our Annual Meeting, our Golf Outing or our up-coming (March 13th) St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in which we will be recognizing Radio Vermont Group’s Ken Squier. Our monthly educational series, Chamber $marts and ¢ents and our monthly after-hours Mixers also present great opportunities for the business community to meet and conduct commerce i.e., network.
Last week we held our monthly after-hours Mixer at Family Center of Washington County, and it was an unqualified success. More than fifty attended the event and to say that they left impressed, is an understatement. They were “Wowed!”
There was the regular networking, mixing, mingling and exchange of business cards. I heard the usual “Great to see you. I’ve been meaning to call you about . . .” “Have you got a second to talk about . . . “ and “You may have what I need, let’s talk . . .”
We were given tours of the facility and that was where the “Wow!” factor began to kick in. Our hosts always showcase their business and address the attendees during a brief formal presentation.
Joe Ferrada, Co-Director of The Family Center, took less than five minutes to explain about the extremely important work that Family Center of Washington County is undertaking. He pointed out that the facility has earned the prestigious five-Star (STep Ahead Recognition System) designation by the Vermont Department for Children and Families, meaning that it exceeds state regulations while providing professional services that meet the needs of children and families.
“We are a resource. Our work is life-altering for families and children in Central Vermont,” he said. “We address the social determinants of health. It is important for families to invest in the services that we provide. Supporting families changes the trajectory of a child. Investing at an early age makes a difference in the long-run.”
One of the clients addressed everyone, explaining how life-changing The Family Center has been to her. She is now attending Community College of Vermont thanks to the supportive services that she and her family are receiving.
Kim Keiser, the Board Chair, spoke about her more than twenty years of involvement with The Family Center. It is commitments like Ms. Keiser’s that are responsible for the successful outcomes clients experience.
The Family Center is one of fifteen state-designated Parent Child Centers in Vermont. The Family Center has a staff of fifty-five professionals. Its core services include infant, toddler and preschool childcare, playgroups for children from birth to five, parent education and outreach activities – for mothers and fathers.
The Family Center also provides training for childcare providers, assistance to parents in finding and paying for childcare and plans and coordinates the Central Vermont Building Bright Futures Council’s region-wide programs for parents as first teachers of their children.
According to their website (www.fcwcvt.org), the Mission of The Family Center is “Building resourceful families and healthy children to create a strong community. It’s always about the family.”
Those attending last week’s Mixer learned about this extremely valuable Washington County resource, caught up with other business leaders and connected in a social setting. It truly was a win-win all around.
Call me at 802-229-5711 or drop an email to me at Bill@centralvt.com, and I’ll be happy to help you connect with Central Vermont’s leading business network.