March 10, 2016 | Giving Back, Addiction & Recovery

Burlington Labs Employees Help Make “VISION” a Reality

Vermont Public Radio recently ran a great in-depth story about Project VISION, a community-based effort working to reduce addiction, drug-related crime and neighborhood blight in the city of Rutland, Vermont. Here's how Burlington Labs is engaging with that initiative.

Brooke Stone, Lead Medical Office Assistant in our Rutland, VT Patient Service Center, joined the Burlington Labs team in April of last year. In May, just one month into the job, she started attending the monthly Project VISION meetings and participating in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education subcommittee.

That sub-group is a strong collaboration of the major treatment and recovery centers in the area – Dismas House, Evergreen, Westridge and Turning Point, just to name a few. In 2015, Stone says, they put on a lot of very visible events, including block parties, a Recovery Rally, and a groundbreaking for a new neighborhood park that included face painting and a winter hat drive for kids – much more community-centered than the typical officials-with-shovels photo op. “There were so many people there!” she recalls.

rutland rally group pic RGB

Amanda Burlock, Brooke Stone, Tae DeGray and Alicia Sherman, with a member of the Rutland Police Department, at the Rutland Recovery Rally in 2015.

 

One thing that makes Project VISION so effective, she says, is that “you see every different kind of community member at the meetings” – not just police, or just business owners, or just prominent community members – but a mix of all of the above, as well as regular citizens who are concerned about their city. She notes that guests from other communities have frequently come to learn about and to mirror what Rutland has done – “which tells us we’re doing something right.”

“It’s inspiring to see how much crime has gone down as a result of giving people better things to do and making neighborhoods better places. When you finally have a good neighborhood, it pushes all that negative stuff out. Then, that’s where our group comes in. With a focus on prevention, we can keep addiction from coming back.”

Brooke’s goal this year is to focus on getting showings of The Hungry Heart into area high schools.

Stone says one of the biggest benefits of the group is the ability to make connections that benefit the community. As an example, she mentions the local bar down the street from the Patient Service Center (called “The Local”) that held an event that raised nearly $800 for the new park, because the owner had attended a Project VISION meeting and was aware of the need.

And it’s a great fit for Burlington Labs to be there, she says, “because we’ve always been about getting involved and giving back. Our presence in the group is making other people realize that we’re not just about drug testing. There’s so much more that goes with this company. I’m excited to be involved and looking forward to doing even more this spring and summer.”