Author Archives: Benjamin Rackliffe

Midd AAUP meeting Friday 9/18

Middlebury College (@Middlebury) | Twitter

The Middlebury AAUP, an organization for all Middlebury employees, will have its first plenary meeting of the semester on Friday September 18th at 8:30am. We hope you will join us. If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Essig at

Time: Sep 18, 2020 08:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: 

    Password: AAUP 

Days of Caring 2020

Addison County Responds — United Way of Addison County

The United Way of Addison County is enthusiastically preparing for their 2020 Annual Days of Caring event. As you may know, every year the United Way sends out hundreds of community volunteers to complete dozens of projects at non-profits throughout Addison County.  

As you can imagine, placing volunteers throughout the county to support our local nonprofits will look much different this year.  In fact, it’s going virtual the entire month of September for our very first Month of Caring!

Our mission remains the same in 2020: to help volunteers develop a deep understanding of nonprofit agencies and give back to their local Addison County community.  However, to keep our community healthy and safe, you as volunteers will do this individually throughout September, in your Month of Caring t-shirts. We request photos from you while volunteering, and at the close of the month, will host a virtual “appreciation party” for all participants and sponsors on September 30, 2020 that will include a video of the month’s participants in their t-shirts!

If you would like to serve as a 2020 Month of Caring Volunteer, please click here to register to participate.  For more information visit their website at:

United Way and Vermont 2-1-1

Due to financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way of Addison County’s  (UWAC) United@Work program has ended.  Thankfully, Vermont 2-1-1 and UWAC is still here for you!  Middlebury College employees can dial 211 from any phone for information about and referrals to health, community, government, and human services resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  You can also search the 211 online Community Resource Directory at  

UWAC and VT 2-1-1 will continue to provide Resource of the Month information which we’ll continue to share in our newsletters and remember…. help is STILL only a phone call away!

What’s on Tap for Well-Being Week of 9/14/20 and 9/21/20

“Although you might believe that certainty and control over your circumstances brings you pleasure, it is often uncertainty and challenge that actually bring you the most profound and longest-lasting benefits.”
― Todd Kashdan, Curious?

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month: This year, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic has had a unique impact on our mental well-being. While social distancing, quarantine and isolation help prevent the spread of infectious disease, these same practices may impact your mental health in a negative way. If you haven’t been able to see your loved ones, go to work or have the daily interactions you once had, a feeling of loneliness may set in.  With all the uncertainty, some days can feel really heavy. But you are never alone. Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for free, confidential counseling sessions to talk about what you’re experiencing and work toward lighter days.   If you or anyone else is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to your EAP Support Line.

Beginning mindfulness series:  Are you interested in learning more about mindfulness and how to implement a mindfulness practice into your life?  Join Coach Cami, founder of Guided Resilience for this eight week series.  Over the course of the eight weeks you will receive:

  • Eight 75 min sessions via Zoom
  • 15 minutes at the end of each session with Coach Cami for questions and coaching support
  • Professional group coaching support to help integrate new behaviors successfully into your healthy lifestyle.
  • Daily gentle nudges to keep your practice top of mind…
    • 4-weeks of mindfulness/self-care daily inspirations and self-care tips delivered via email
  • Access to professional coaching platform for accountability and goal-setting support

You will come away from this series feeling grounded in evidence-based self-care practices, supported in growing in self-awareness and a positive mind and feeling gifted with mindfulness skills and resources to support your growth. 

Here is what two recent graduates of the program had to say:

“I am so thankful that you made Cami’s course available to GMHEC employees. I benefited from it tremendously and I think my students are benefitting from it as well by having a calm, compassionate teacher who can better handle the stresses of teaching in today’s environment.” 

“The mindfulness series just wrapped up and I wanted to thank you for this and express my appreciation for Cami.  I had been seeking a mindfulness class for some time and when I saw the listserv advertising it, I jumped in. Even if by zoom, it was incredibly helpful to me. What struck me was, even though free to the participants, Cami was so attentive to the course and so dedicated in her teaching.  She constantly gave us email reinforcement reminders and never for a second let up from her complete attention to the participants.” 

Thursdays, October 1 – November 19, 4:00 – 5:15pm.  Space is limited so preregistration in required.  To register, contact Rebecca Schubert at by 5:00 pm EST on Monday, September 28th.

Mindful Pause book discussion group: This 4-week program invites you to engage in the Guided Resilience approach to well-being as described in Cami Smalley’s Amazon best-selling book, “Mindful Pause: A Self-Care Guide to Resilience and Well-Being.”  Learn to tap your hero capacities! Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, Optimism, Energy, and Strengths are evidence-based capacities that protect and promote your resilience, well-being. Mindful Pause is evidence-based and was designed for an audience that values both practice and insight in positive psychology coaching processes. Each chapter of Mindful Pause walks you through the steps to target holistic change that has the power to improve vitality and ultimately, satisfaction, in the ways you live, work, and relate in the world.

Over the course of the four weeks you will receive:

  • Four 60 min sessions via Zoom
  • 15 minutes at the end of each session with Coach Cami for questions and group coaching support
  • Professional group coaching support to help integrate new behaviors successfully into your busy lifestyle.
  • Daily gentle nudges to keep your practice top of mind…
    • 4-weeks of mindfulness/self-care daily inspirations and self-care tips delivered via email (value = $25)
  • Access to professional coaching platform for accountability and goal-setting support

Wednesdays, October 7 – 28, 4:00 – 5:00 pm.  Space is limited so preregistration is required.  To register, contact Rebecca Schubert at by 5 pm EST on Monday, October 5th.  You can order your copy of Mindful Pause: A Self-Care Guide to Resilience and Well-Being by Coach Cami on on Amazon (paperback $12.99) or Kindle ($2.99 reduced price during current pandemic) You do not need a kindle reader…only the app on your device.

Resources galore!  Hop into a quick zoom session with Rebecca Schubert and hear all about the wonderful resources we have available to support all domains of your well-being.  Friday, September 18th 8:30-8:45 am EST or Wednesday, September 23rd 4:00-5:00 pm EST.   Zoom.  Meeting password 135790.

Edge 90 day Commit to Get Fit: The next Edge online 90 Day Commit to Get Fit Program will be kicking off on Tuesday, September 22nd.  This comprehensive online wellness program is designed to provide an education to enrich your life and help you become healthier. Over the course of 13 weeks you will work with a health coach, a Registered Dietitian and a personal trainer to support you to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors. Topics will include fitness, nutrition, stress management and behavior modification. This program will help you build a customized wellness plan, improve your health risk factors, reduce body fat and gain muscle, practice stress management and gain new energy and learn how to eat right and stay on track.   There is a fee associated with this program but a portion may be covered by your health insurance and GMHEC will kick in a portion of the payment.  To learn more, contact Nicole Williams, Director of The Edge Preventative Care at Tuesdays, beginning September 22nd from 6:00-7:00 pm EST.

Beth is back!  Join Beth Umba, massage therapist and yoga teacher for a mid-day stretch session to release the kinks in your neck, shoulders, back and hips. Sitting for long periods of time promotes muscle fatigue and muscle strain, and over time, pain. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join Beth as she guides us through some stretches that we can do right from our desk or home office to get our bodies feeling their best. Mondays and Wednesdays in September 3:00-3:20 pm EST.  Zoom.   

Managing Financial Stress: Bills, loan payments, unexpected expenses – finances can be a common source of stress that many of us find overwhelming. Join Samantha Smith, an expert on stress management, mindfulness and personal growth and learn how to stay healthy in spite of financial challenges. 

During this seminar, you’ll learn:

Impacts of financial stress

How to get your family to stick to a budget

Tips for stretching your dollar

Offered at no cost by Cigna.  Wednesday, September 16th 1:00-2:00 pm EST.  Preregistration required.  Click here to register. 

Interrupting color blindness and microaggressions: Today’s society has faced a wealth of exposure to overt forms of racism and discrimination in our communities and on our screens. Colorblindness and Racial Microaggressions mark some of the more covert ways that racial bias operates in the workplace. They are more difficult to address because they are subtle, often operating on a subconscious level by well-intentioned people. But if left unchecked, Colorblindness and Racial Microaggressions damage interpersonal relationships and undermine a company’s culture of inclusion and belonging.  Join Dr. Tolonda Tolbert, Co-Founder, and Head of Strategy and Culture at Eskalera for an informative and action-oriented webinar, as she explores how Colorblindness and Racial Microaggressions operate in the workplace, and specific strategies interrupt them.  In this session you will learn:  The Ideology of Colorblindness and its negative impact The definition of Racial Microaggressions and how to identify them  Methods to interrupt microaggressions in the workplace
Wednesday, September 16th 2:00-3:00 pm EST.  Preregistration required.  Click here to register.

Welcome New Employee Omar Kawam

Omar Kawam joins us as this year’s Arthur Vining Davis Interfaith Fellow. He is fresh out of Williams College where he double majored in Philosophy and Biology en route to pursuing a medical degree. Outside the classroom, Omar served as the Co-Chair of the Muslim Students’ Union and Interfaith Club where he fostered community across religious and spiritual difference. With the support of Williams’ Center for Learning in Action, he also helped found Positive Pathways Partnership (P3), a student-led volunteer tutoring program that serves incarcerated men at the Berkshire House of Corrections. Omar prides himself on his New Jersey grit (without the road rage) and is always ready to talk theology, spirituality, and meaning making.”