Park-a-Palooza 3 – Thank You!

Thank you for another successful Park-a-Palooza!

On Behalf of Greater Falls Connections, parent and youth organizers, we would like to share an ecstatic thank you to the many people, businesses and organizations that contributed to the Park-a-Palooza Neighborhood Block Party on Saturday, June 28th in Bellows Falls. Now in its third year, Park-a-Palooza is a completely community-driven, old school, crazy-fun block party. Festivities again took place at the Central Elementary School playground and included: A potato-sack race, jellybean contest, bicycle-powered smoothies, apple-bob contest, face painting, dodgeball, baseball bat spin-off and a water balloon “throw-down.” Plus, with a little help from our friends at the Bellows Falls Fire & Police Departments, kids and adults were able to cool off and play around a gushing fire hydrant.


Thanks to our two Grill Masters, Rose Smith and Marcy Fazzolare, as well as the numerous people who brought food, people were able to eat and snack all day long.

Thank you to the following local businesses, community organizations and individuals for your generous contributions and involvement that were vital to the day’s success: The Moose, Lisai’s Market, Parks Place Community Resource Center, United Natural Foods, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Youth Services, Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, Bellows Falls Community Bike Project, the Fatherhood Project, Hannaford’s, Brattleboro Food Co-Op, and the VT Liquor Store in Bellows Falls.

Through creative play using the games our parents and grandparents taught us, Park-a-Palooza is another example of community-driven change in action. Community-led activities such as this build trust and create connection. Not to mention, a whole lot of laughter.

We thank everyone involved for creating a fun, positive and meaningful day.


Park-a-Palooza 3

Park-a-Palooza 3
Saturday, June 28. Noon-5pm
Central Elementary School Park
Bellows Falls, VT

In it’s third year, Park-a-Palooza is all about good ol’ fashion family fun…connecting with neighbors, old school games, tasty food and good laughs. This is what community looks like!

Join us starting at Noon at the Central Elementary Playground on School St. Interested in helping to organize? Contact Deb Witkus at 802.463.9927 ext 212.

RSVP to our Facebook event Here.

June Coalition Gathering

June Coalition Gathering
Thursday, June 19. 4:00-5:30pm
Parks Place
44 School St.
Bellows Falls

Join Team GFC for our monthly coalition gathering, now on a new day/time: every 3rd Thursday of the month, starting at 4pm.

This month, GFC will introduce the Ready By 21 group and share how community members can play a role in building community by supporting youth from birth to 21.

Ready By 21 is a diverse group of community members and organizations identifying ways to support families and improve systems in order to change the odds for children and youth. The goal is to have all young people ready by 21 for college, work and life. To find out more about the Ready By 21 model, click here.

We will also have some updates from our April 24 Community Forum follow-up, events and activities for the summer (including Park-a-Palooza III) and our annual July BBQ.

RSVP at our Facebook Event Page Here.

Prevention Day @ The VT Statehouse

Prevention Day @ The VT Statehouse
Wednesday, April 30. 9:00am-3:00pm
VT Statehouse
Montpelier, VT

Join people from across the state to celebrate substance prevention and community connection at the VT statehouse for “Prevention Day 2014”

Meet with legislators, tour the statehouse, see what youth and community groups have been doing to prevent substance abuse across the state.

For more details, registration and a schedule, contact Chad at 802.463.9927 ext 210.

Join our Facebook Event Here!

Click here for a full schedule of the days events.

March Coalition Gathering

March Coalition Gathering
Friday, March 21. Noon-1:30pm
Parks Place
44 School St.
Bellows Falls

Join us for yummy food and an engaging discussion about substances and the media. We’ll pick apart how advertising and marketing is used to encourage the consumption of substances and how we can understand these messages. We’ll also have some time to share upcoming community events and activities coming up in March and April.

A.C.E. Brings Sunshine to Greater Falls

As I sit next to the window, soaking in as much sunshine as humanly possible (finally, yes!), I’m struck with how much sunshine we’ve got right here in our community. Cheesy analogy, sure, but it needs to be said from time to time. I’ll own the cheese.

Last week, Greater Falls Connections announced our second A.C.E. Award recipient. What’s A.C.E. you ask? In an effort to recognize the inspired, positive action happening every day, we created the Active Community Engagement (A.C.E.) Award. A.C.E. recipients are the unsung heroes within our community who foster positive change and are dedicated to creating safe, healthy and fun options for youth, families and the community at large.

Makes sense, right? So who’s our March A.C.E.? Congratulations goes to Sam Maskell, Youth Services Librarian for the Rockingham Free Public Library (RFPL). 

Deb Witkus (left) presenting Sam Maskell (right) the A.C.E. Award.

Deb Witkus (left) presenting Sam Maskell (right) the A.C.E. Award.

Sam started as a part-time assistant in 2001. As the Youth Services Librarian, her role is to support youth from birth through adult-transitioning become curious, engaged members of the community. Sam oversees the Youth Department programs, which fosters creativity and leadership. The Teen Advisory Council meets monthly and plans various activities and programs at the library. Programs include: an annual lock-in, Teen Tech Week, “Magic” tournaments and Teen Tabletop Game Nights. Sam sees libraries as “community centers” and “moving from passive to proactive” institutions within communities. In addition to making sure the collection of youth books are “fun and inspire learning,” Sam is determined to making sure “information is available anywhere” by maintaining an active web, social media and instant message presence.

“Sam is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment for our young people. She is generous, creative and has a huge amount of integrity,” says Deb Witkus, Parent Outreach Coordinator.

Sam’s passion and love for the library is unwavering. But it is her commitment to youth and the community that make her an A.C.E. Congrats to Sam Maskell and the entire Rockingham Free Public Library.

Stay sunny Greater Falls!
The ChadderBox

LYL Karaoke Party

LYL Karaoke Party
Thursday, December 19. 8:00pm-11:00pm
65 Rockingham St.
Bellows Falls, VT 05101

Have you LYL’d? Having a brew or two ain’t a bad thing if you’re 21+, but drinking yourself stupid makes for a bummer night. Join GFC staff as we break it down while singing really bad power ballads. PLUS, we’ll be giving away free gear including hats, koozies and…for the grand prize winners…you’re very own Alcohoot Smartphone Breathalyzer.

Join us Thursday, December 19th from 8-11pm at Donovan’s in Bellows Falls. RSVP at the Facebook event here.

Haven’t seen our LYL video yet? Check it out and share!