Vermont Caring for Children Foundation

Vermont Caring for Children Foundation

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont created the Vermont Caring for Children Foundation (VCCF), a charitable, nonprofit foundation, to advance and improve health-related programs that benefit children and youth in Vermont.

VCCF supports local nonprofit community organizations through financial contributions, in-kind services, and volunteer support. VCCF encourages recipients to use funds to leverage matching or challenge grants whenever possible.

The foundation grants support to organization requests that address:

  • Community health care needs
  • One or more of the following priorities: physical activity promotion, access to healthy food and nutrition, early childhood development, prevention and treatment of chronic conditions, mental health, oral health and substance use prevention
  • Social determinants of health and reduces barriers to care


“Caring for Our Kids” Virtual Symposia Series - Overcoming Barriers
to Outdoor Experiences

To further serve Vermont youth during stressful times, the VCCF is launching a series of virtual symposia that will run through 2021. “Caring for Our Kids” will focus on sharing practical and time-tested advice about how all of us can build relationships with youth to bolster their well-being.

Thursday, January 21, 2021 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Please join us for a community conversation focusing on breaking down barriers to outdoor experiences, by exploring what barriers exist for youth and their families to get outdoors and why getting outdoors is so important for overall wellbeing. Our program will feature:

Myra Peffer - Program Director, Come Alive Outside

• More than 30 years’ experience in education, program and exhibit development, fundraising and management.

• Founder and former Executive Director of Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum in Rutland.

Norm Staunton - Director of Operations, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports

• Coach, volunteer and trainer for Vermont Adaptive since 2008.

• 20 years’ experience with local and international non-profit and adventure industry groups.

• Member, PSIA/AASI Eastern Division Adaptive Development Team; certified instructor in skiing, telemark, paddling, surfing, and sailing.

Mirna Valerio – The Mirnavator, blogger and bestselling author of A Beautiful Work in Progress

• Former educator, cross-country coach and ultramarathoner.

• Started her blog, Fatgirlrunning, about her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner endurance athletes.

• Contributor to Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner's World Magazine.

• Featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, Kelly Clarkson Show and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, “The Mirnavator.” Facilitator:

Arwen Turner, executive director of Come Alive Outside.

Click HERE to reserve your spot at the January 21 livestream seminar.

If you have questions please email: or call 802 371 2448

View our December 9 symposium 'Helping Youth Thrive' below. Jen Boardman, statewide director of the Youth Development Program, presents information about adolescent development, the impact of trauma and the power of resilience.

Other topics that are planned for future symposia include “Breaking Barriers to Being Active Outdoors” and “Communicating with Youth: Having Tough Conversations.”

Youth Programs We Support in Our Communities

Girls on the Run Vermont (GOTR)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the lead corporate sponsor of Girls on the Run, a statewide program promoting self-esteem and healthy activity for young women in grades 3 through 8. Volunteer coaches organize and lead the ten-week program, which culminates in 5K walk/run events in Windham, Rutland, and Chittenden Counties. Over its 20 years in Vermont, GOTR has made an impact on the lives of more than 45,000 young women.

Check out their website here.


Velocity is a unique after-school program that provides opportunities for boys in middle school to try new activities and discuss important topics in a non-competitive and supportive setting. In partnership with the Greater Burlington YMCA, Velocity recruits and trains mentors who lead sessions that reinforce the program values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

The six-week program culminates in a celebration at Camp Abnaki in North Hero, where nearly 200 boys, mentors and parents enjoy a day of canoeing, archery, tennis, cooking, and more. Velocity is making a difference; post-event survey data show that self-esteem increased by 6% for participants, while feelings of empathy for other people increased by 9%.

At the recent Vermont Principles Association Conference more than 20 new schools signed up to get more information about the Velocity program so our plan is to grow in 2020.

Read more about Velocity here.  

UVM WEmentor

The Wellness Environment (WE) program at the University of Vermont is a behavior change program for college students to engage in activities that build healthy brains. WEmentor is a facet of the program in which UVM students establish relationships with and mentor local youth. Participants enjoy activities centered on fitness, mindfulness and nutrition. Recent activities include attending athletic events, practicing cooking, participating in physical activities at UVM and visiting the ECHO/Leahy Center on Burlington’s waterfront.

Learn more about UVM WEmentor here

For more information about the Vermont Caring for Children Foundation, email