Collaboration proliferates in Vernon. The Vernon Community Network, a consortium of 40 public education, non-profit, faith-based and government organizations, completed a two-year community planning process in 2011. The Vernon Community Plan results statement, “All Vernon children birth to eighteen are safe, healthy and productive” was rolled out to the broader community in June 2011 where over 150 community leaders, residents and change leaders were in attendance. Notably present were DCF Deputy Commissioner Janice Gruendel, Vice President of Programs at Hartford Foundation, Maria Mojica and Executive Director of the Wm. Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, David Nee. These change leaders joined the Mayor of Vernon, Superintendent of Schools and a host of dedicated policy makers, administrators, service providers and interested citizens in kicking off the community plan. As a result of this two-year planning process, Hartford Foundation and the Graustein Memorial Fund partnered in providing over $300,000 in multi-year grants to support plan implementation.
The plan is organized in three sections: Birth to Eight, Youth 9-18 and Community. The Vernon School Readiness Council, the Local Early Childhood Council, excitedly signed on to navigate the birth to eight section of the plan and pledged to work on the following headline indicators: Non-Adequate Prenatal Care; Child Abuse/Neglect; High Quality Preschool Experience and 3rd Grade CMT Reading. The VSRC is also engaged in turning the curve on chronic absenteeism and summer learning loss as Vernon is one of the CT Grade Level Reading communities. There is tremendous energy and effort being exerted in Vernon. For example, a local business partner funded the Vernon Bookmobile that distributed 2,741 books to elementary aged youth in the summer of 2012; an increase of 400% from the year before. Partnership development continues at a steady pace as the full-time Implementation Coordinator deftly outreaches to all sectors of the community.
For more information about Vernon’s community plan, contact Michelle Hill, Implementation Coordinator.
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