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AARP AARP States Vermont

AARP Awards Grants to Six Vermont Organizations


Six Vermont communities and organizations are receiving funds up to $4,000 each in grant funds from AARP Vermont to initiate or enhance winter placemaking demonstration projects. The projects focus on creating or reinventing public spaces to improve safety, accessibility, and overall appeal on a temporary or permanent basis. Proposals from Vermont River Conservancy, the Town of Windham, Canaan Naturally Connected, Inc., Barre Senior Center, Cathedral Square Corporation, and Roxbury Community Crafters were selected from dozens of applications for the initiative. This is the seventh year of AARP Vermont’s Placemaking Grant Program, which aims to spearhead demonstration project efforts that will help build momentum for long-term livability improvements with an emphasis on the needs of adults aged 50 and older.

Vermont’s cold and dark winter months pose several challenges for residents across the state, one of which is social isolation. The Winter Placemaking Grant Program focuses on helping communities embrace the winter months by reinventing public spaces to encourage outdoor and indoor activities and social engagement. The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages.

“We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for Vermonters 50 and over,” explained Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP Vermont. “We know that simple modifications can powerfully alter the health, economic, social, and ecological value of a community,” she said, and “when community members and local officials can see or experience a new or revitalized space, they are better able to understand what is possible and how it can improve their community.”

This year’s recipients are:

Vermont River Conservancy will bring vibrancy to Rotary Park in Barre City through a winter placemaking project that will include the installation of a community-created art project at Barre’s only public river access trail. The organization will also host an all-ages winter event to create and appreciate the artwork, gather for warm drinks and company, and learn about Vermont’s rivers.

Town of Windham: Windham Culinary Workshop will host a series of five winter culinary classes for seniors in the community, followed by a community-wide shared meal as an effort to reduce isolation and foster intergenerational socialization.

Canaan Naturally Connected, Inc. will expand access to hands-on learning experiences for older adults by providing weekends classes, which will include arts/craft, music, storytelling, and educational presentations.

Barre Senior Center will launch a winter gardening program by constructing indoor, accessible garden tables with lights for growing indoor vegetables. This project includes the creation of a community mural to further beautify the indoor space and enhance the vibrancy of the public space where the harvest meals take place weekly for seniors.

Cathedral Square Corporation will provide weekly programming in their Garden Commons room, open to residents and community members. Programming will include a bi-weekly coffee house with live music and a weekly adaptable dance class culminating in an in-house performance for the community.

Roxbury Community Crafters will offer winter programming for isolated seniors, providing weekly art/craft lessons and supplies. The work produced by the class participants will culminate in a community-wide craft fair. 

In support of these projects, AARP Vermont will provide technical assistance and publicity strategy, and assist project leaders in engaging with other local, regional or state partner organizations that can contribute to their success.

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