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Press Release

For More Information Contact:
Michele Talwani
Senior Vice President, Community Relations
Easterseals NH, VT & Farnum
O: 603-621-3551  
C: 603-254-7841

September 22, 2023

Easterseals VT and M&T Bank Partner to Support Barre Community Relief Fund as Flood Clean-up Continues

The power of community coming together in a time of need

Barre, VT - After the Central Vermont area was devastated by disastrous floods earlier this summer, it left a domino effect, impacting everyone in different ways. Easterseals VT was gearing up to host its second annual Over The Edge event in the heart of Barre at North Barre Manor. Over The Edge is Easterseals VT’s only fundraising event of the year that supports foster youth and adoptive families that they serve. The decision was made to postpone the event to July 20, 2024.

Easterseals VT and the event’s presenting sponsor and corporate partner, M&T Bank, came together to find a way to help the community. Together, the decision was made to donate $5,000 of M&T’s sponsorship to The Barre Community Relief Fund. “M&T is pleased to partner with Easterseals Vermont, providing much-needed funds to our Vermonters recently impacted by flooding,” said Kathy Schirling, Divisional Community Involvement Manager. “We are proud to stand alongside organizations like Easterseals as they support our community.”

The Barre Community Relief Fund was created by the Barre Area Development, Inc. with a mission to raise money to benefit countless small businesses, homeowners, and individuals across the Barre area. Easterseals VT Director of Operations Kristi Lenart-Rikert shared, “We at Easterseals Vermont hope this donation will provide extra support to our downtown Barre neighbors during this difficult time. Restoring our city as quickly as possible is important to safeguard our community and key businesses.”

If you’d like to learn more or donate to the Barre Community Relief Fund, go to or email

Flood Relief Check Presentation
“Easterseals VT Directors of Operations, board members of the Community Relief Fund, and M&T Bank gather for the check presentation in Easterseals VT’s office in Barre.”
Left-Right: ESVT Director of Operations Kristi Lenart-Rikert, Board Members David Rubel and Jonathan Williams, M&T Bank’s Divisional Community Involvement Manager Kathy Schirling, and ESVT Director of Operations, Tanya Osadchey.

About Easterseals VT
With locations statewide, Easterseals VT empowers and assists parents and children to improve their lives. At the heart of all we do is our belief that families can, with sufficient assistance, address their problems and be safe and healthy within their communities. Easterseals VT has earned a reputation for being the lead agency in the state in promoting family-centered practices for social services. Easterseals VT is part of Easterseals NH, VT & Farnum, a community of care for all ages, for all abilities, and for life. For more information, visit or follow us @EastersealsVT on Facebook.

Why Two Young Vermonters Are Going Over The Edge for Easterseals VT

Vermonters Aiden Katz and Alycin Smith plan to participate in Over The Edge for Easterseals VT on July 22, 2023. But they’re rappelling down the 11-story North Barre Manor for much more than the thrill.

For Katz, a Norwich resident, age 17, and Smith, age 22, the decision to go Over The Edge is personal. Both have been on the receiving end of Easterseals VT services, and they see their participation as a way to show appreciation and pay it forward.

Katz’s mother, Nancy, adopted Katz as an infant. She struggled to find support for her family for years, being waitlisted by one agency and finally taken on by another, only to have it close and leave her at square one. When Aiden was six, she was connected to Easterseals VT Post Permanency Services and never looked back.

“Our Easterseals post permanence coordinator has provided consistency, resources, information on programs, camps, schools, advice, a listening ear, and counseling,” Nancy says. “She has been the one constant over the years. I can count on her to be there and respond when we have concerns or questions.”

For Smith, Easterseals VT’s Youth Development Program (YDP) helped make a difference for her starting when she was 16. The YDP program helps youth and young adults ages 14 to 22, formerly in foster care, transition to adulthood and independent living.

“The support of YPD has provided housing, helped with many financial burdens, and helped with college costs, such as books, along with many other supports,” says Smith, currently studying nursing at Community College of Vermont with dreams of becoming a forensic nurse. Though it will be Alycin’s second bid to go Over the Edge, it will be her final year doing so as a member of the YDP. She hopes to commemorate her experience by giving other foster youth the same opportunities she’s had.

To rappel on July 22, 2023, Aiden and Alycin must raise $1,000 or more through personal fundraising. A generous sponsor has stepped forward to help Aiden reach his goal. Alycin’s campaign is close. To support Over the Edge for Easterseals VT, visit

Over the Edge is Easterseals VT’s biggest fundraiser of the year that supports family and child welfare programs and those they serve. Registration is still open for anyone who would like to form their own fundraising team. To volunteer at the event, email Devyn Nelson at

Grateful for the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation

Easterseals Vermont recently received $10,000 from the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation to support our Post Permanency Program. Thank you for your continued support of Easterseals Vermont’s children and families!

Where Adoptive Families Can Turn for Support

Kendy, center, is an adoptive mother using ESVT Post Permanency Services for almost 10 years. Her support person, Jill, helps her family to access and navigate resources. "Jill's been my lifeline," says Kendy. Learn more about ESVT PPS.

Sponsor or learn more about our exciting Over the Edge event: Easterseals VT Over the Edge 2023

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