Dear Friends,

As I reflect on the work of West River Valley Thrives over the past year, I am reminded of our challenges, encouraged by our successes, and hopeful as I look toward the future of the coalition.

Thrives has experienced some significant transitions this year. The coalition had a complete turnover in staff, with Kate Venne taking over as the project coordinator one year ago and myself starting as the new director in November. One of our most exciting new beginnings was becoming a Drug Free Communities grantee coalition in October. This five-year, federal grant will surely help us to expand our capacity and increase community involvement, as well as strengthen our efforts to reduce youth substance use and abuse in the West River Valley.

Our most unexpected challenges this year was certainly the loss of our office in the devastating Newfane Creamery fire, in which four local businesses and numerous employees were displaced. The loss of the historic Creamery building and the much-loved Newfane Café were a blow to the community, but we were struck by the amount of support we received in the wake of this unfortunate event. It was great to see how much the community truly cares about its organizations and the work we all do to make the West River Valley a happy and healthy place.

Currently, we are set up in a great new office space in Townshend and are looking forward to what the future has in store for our small but mighty organization. We are very encouraged by the strong relationships that have formed with Leland and Gray and also with L’After, the Windham Central Supervisory Union After School Program. We hope to continue and expand those collaborations into the next year. We are also looking forward to the opportunity to develop new collaborative projects with locals groups and organizations as we work toward a healthier West River Valley and toward reducing substance use among young people. Great work has been done in our community this year, and we look forward to seeing what’s to come.

This month, on July 27th, we will be having a casual coalition meeting during which time we invite folks to drop by our new office space at 24 Sawdust Alley in Townshend. We will be sharing the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey results for our supervisory union and having some food, open house style from 2-3:30pm. Hope to see you there!



Kristin Cox, Program Director

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