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Letter: Kick-Off Event for Dismas House

To the Editor:

With thanks to so many of our Upper Valley community members, I am very pleased to invite you to join the Hartford Dismas House Board of Directors at our kick-off event on Sunday, March 3, (snow date, March 10) from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Charles T. Wilder Center, 2087 Hartford Ave., in Wilder.

Dismas of Vermont is a small, nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that has been providing transitional housing for men and women leaving Vermont prisons for 26 years. Over 1,200 people seeking second chances have lived at our Dismas houses in Burlington, Winooski and Rutland. More than 75 percent of residents who stay with us for three months or more successfully transition to the community.

There has never been a Dismas House in eastern Vermont, nor is there any other kind of transitional housing for former prisoners in our area. We are making a home in Hartford to fill this need — a simple, supportive, family-like place from which people can seek employment, rebuild confidence and begin making a positive contribution to the community.

Hartford Dismas House’s mission is to “reconcile prisoners to society and society to prisoners.” Our objectives are to shelter men and women leaving Vermont prisons; to be a community of respect and hope for each guest we serve; to be a resource through which neighbors and friends can help meet basic needs; to celebrate second chances; to lead in the effort to reduce Vermont’s prison population and to reintegrate men and women in the community.

We have selected a Victorian house in Hartford Village to be the home for our new program. Join us as we celebrate the next phase of developing 1673 Maple St. into a home of transition for men and women returning to the Hartford community. Enjoy music by state Sen. Dick McCormack and refreshments by Lynn Caple of Coventry Catering.

We are delighted to honor C. Daniel Hershenson with the Jack Hickey, O.P. Award during this event. All are welcome. Please RSVP to dldiegolivt@gmail.com.

Jonathan Sylvia

President, Hartford Dismas House Board of Directors