Family Room, Visiting Nurse Association to Part Ways | Off Message

Family Room, Visiting Nurse Association to Part Ways


Parents, children and staff at the Family Room in November 2015 - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Parents, children and staff at the Family Room in November 2015
The Janet S. Munt Family Room will be separating from its parent organization, the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. The Family Room, a Burlington parent-child center that operates at St. Joseph School in the Old North End, has been part of the VNA since 1988.

"The VNA Board recognizes a need to concentrate our resources on services and programs most closely aligned with the agency’s home health and hospice mission, expertise and capacity — meeting the community needs we are most suited to address," the VNA announced in a statement on Thursday.

The VNA will be involved in a "community-wide process to transition the Family Room" to a different organization, or to operate as a stand-alone entity, it added. That will take at least a year.

The announcement came less than six months after the VNA's application for a grant worth close to half a million dollars was turned down. As a result, programming and jobs at the Family Room were cut last November, a decision that left many parents feeling blindsided and upset.

The Family Room Family website showed that parents have raised more than $52,000 through gifts and pledges as of February 17 to try to reinstate the positions and programming. Upcoming fundraisers include a benefit concert at ArtsRiot on March 3 and a community dinner at Bluebird Barbecue on March 16. They hope to raise $100,000 by the end of this month.

The VNA Family Room parent and community advisory council is "enthusiastic about the opportunity to take more leadership," according to a statement the group released after the VNA announcement.

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