Editor's note: The Banner has received a number of letters in support of the Sunrise Family Resource Center, which is requesting voters approve a ballot item asking for funds come Town Meeting Day.

Voting for more than just an organization

When you think about voting for Sunrise Family Resource Center to receive town funds I want you to understand that you are voting for more than just the organization. Town funds granted to Sunrise will support children, teen parents, and families. I was lucky enough to benefit from the services Sunrise offers to the Bennington County community. When I was pregnant at 17 I was introduced to this wonderful organization that allowed me to continue and graduate high school, offered parent education classes, home visits with additional support for my son and I, and work experience. The services I received at Sunrise allowed me to gain real work experience, which helped me gain independance.


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I am grateful for the opportunities Sunrise has given me and for helping me achieve my goals to graduate, find employment, and find stable housing for myself and my son. When you vote please know you are voting to help children and families become independent, resourceful, contributing community members.

—Tiffany Gaghich Hoosick Falls, N.Y.

Given a second chance

My family and I participate in Sunrise Family Resource Center Opportunities program. In this program I've been given a second chance to get my high school diploma with no cost to me. If this program was not available to me I would have had to settle for a GED or have had to pay for an online high school which I can't afford right now. My daughter and son are not yet in daycare here but will be soon as a slot opens up for them., and it will be very helpful for me to know that my children are just minutes away from me while I'm trying to get my diploma to better our lives. I've had the chance to be in the program for a year or so now but finally just started because I have never liked the thought of my children going to daycare, so it makes it very easy and flexible for mothers like me who aren't comfortable with daycare and being separated from our children to be able to finish school and still be within minutes from our children with an open door policy where we can go in and see our children whenever we need to, unless it's nap time. So please of any mothers are out there in need of anything from childcare, education, or housing, Sunrise is a great and helpful community resource.

— Megan Sherwood Shaftsbury

No shame, no judgement

My name is Heather Strain, I came to Sunrise when I found out I was pregnant over the summer. Being a teenage mom is not exactly praised in the town of Bennington, and honestly I felt ashamed, like I was breaking some kind of sacred code or something. Because I felt ashamed I didn't want to be surrounded by people who I knew would have negative things to say about me. However, finishing school was a priority. Thankfully, I found Sunrise. Sunrise is a community that understands that things happen in life that don't always go as planned. All of the people at Sunrise were in similar situations that I was, and no one judged me. In fact, all of them supported me and made me feel at home. Currently Sunrise is helping me get my own apartment and graduate high school. Without them, honestly, this past year would have made me too depressed to even function.

— Heather Strain Bennington

A diploma and life skills

My daughter and I have been involved with Sunrise Family Resource Center for about two years now. Sunrise has many great programs to offer the community. I am enrolled i the Opportunities program which gives young parents or soon-to-be parents the chance to graduate with their high school diploma. Not only do you get that fancy diploma, you get to leave knowing so much about real life skills. We also are assigned to a caseworker, to be there for support, and to help with transportation, life struggles, and anything else we may need. My daughter is in the care of the Sunrise ECE program while I am in class. for that, I could not be more grateful.

— Ashley Kennison Bennington

Managing family and education

Sunrise has helped me and my daughter in a lot of ways. Since I have had the chance to go to the Opportunities program, I am able to finish high school and get my diploma. Being a new mom has made it more difficult for me to manage my time. But, with childcare on campus it helps me concentrate more on my school work instead of worrying about my daughter. Another thing is the other people in Opportunities have given me good advice with hard life decisions. With my daughter being the most important thing to me, I feel like I am happy to have been given the chance to be a part of this program and help better my life.

— Savannah Derosia Bennington

Secure childcare

The Opportunities program at Sunrise has given me the chance to finish school. Without this program I wouldn't be enrolled in school nor would I be almost ready to graduate. The Early Childhood Education Program at Sunrise has given me the secure feeling that my child is on campus with amazing childcare providers. the people at Sunrise are more than an agency, we are a family. Sunrise will help you with everything they can and if you come across a problem that they can not handle, they will point you in the right direction.

— Jasmine Rice Bennington