New England Information, Referral and Assistance Symposium
Educational and professional development opportunities for I&R/A leaders and specialists.
September 25, 2017  ·  Waterbury, VT
  Vermont Information, Referral and Assistance Symposium: 

Vermont Information, Referral and Assistance Symposium will provide educational and professional development opportunities promoting the skills and standards of providing information and referral.

This day of collaborative learning will offer networking opportunities with colleagues from across New England. Through workshops, you’ll learn practical strategies and new skills, explore establishing a formalized membership association across New England and better understand the professional dimensions of I&R/A services through best practices and the self- assessment tool.

We are fortunate to have an amazing group of guest speakers, workshop facilitators, attendees, volunteers, and organizers come together to strengthen the field of I&R and support the important work of its professionals.

PLEASE NOTE:  Registration for this event closed on Friday, September 15th.  If you would like to see if there is still space available to attend, please email: to check space availability.  Thanks!

Monday, September 25
8:30 AM - 9:10 AM
Coffee and light refreshments will be available in the on site cafe
9:15 AM
Event Start
9:15 AM - 10:30 AM
LEADERSHIP TRACK: Self-Assessment & Standards
I&R/A services are critical to helping people access the human services support they need, as they constitute a point of entry for consumers in their quest to address problems through procuring needed services. In this workshop, participants will work together to bring about a shared vision through the achievement of specific goals and best practices to ensure that any caller reaching out to any human services provider for I&R/A would get consistent, complete, accurate and unbiased I&R/A.
Oak OR Cherry
STAFF TRACK: Confidence in Any Weather: Saying No and Managing Difficult Conversations
Every I&R Specialist needs a good tool box. Whether you are new to the job or are looking to refresh your skills, in this workshop you will learn to identify things that make an I&R encounter challenging and find the right tool to make it successful. We will look at strategies for managing difficult conversations, including the unsung anti-hero of I&R saying “no” when resources are limited, collecting demographics and controlling your call with confidence. You’ll receive handouts with helpful scripting for various challenging situations so you can try them out right away.
Oak or Cherry
10:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Short Break
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
Opening Remarks & Welcome
Sally Fox Conference Room
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM
Keynote Address : From Data to Information: Using Interactive Dashboards & Visualizations
Dashboards are the new buzzword in nonprofit tech circles - for good reason. Board and funders want to support high performing organizations but most struggle to effectively tell that story. New technology allows us to get that information and provide a quick and easy snapshot of organizational data that updates seamlessly!
Sally Fox Conference Room
11:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Vermont Congressional Delegation: Updates from Washington
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
LUNCH: Table Topics
1. "Advocating For a Cause" with the Vermont Congressional delegates' representatives 2. "Leveraging Social Media for Marketing" with Adonica Shaw 3. "Modernizing your Nonprofit's Technology" with Linda Widdop 4."Accessibility and the ADA" with Ericka Reil
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
Keynote Address : How Effective Storytelling Through Social Media and Technology Cultivates Donors & Drives Your Mission
Stories can be powerful tools for nonprofits. Whether your agency is looking to attract a certain kind of consumer, improve the quality of your donor base or cultivate new board members, stories play a crucial role because not only are they often the first introduction people have with your agency, but they may also dictate the level of engagement people will have with an organization simply because they've heard them. This address will discuss the role of storytelling in your marketing and cultivation efforts, and will provide strategies that any organization can use to implement, improve and evaluate their messaging with the use of social media and technology.
Sally Fox Conference Room
1:45 PM - 2:00 PM
Short Break
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
STAFF TRACK: Identifying and Empowering Problem Callers
When people need help and don’t know where to turn, they follow the yellow brick road to their local I&R Wizard and expect a miracle. Experienced I&R Specialists know there isn’t any magic - just hard work and a lot of resources. This session will help beginning and intermediate I&R Specialists identify the different personalities of potential problem callers who have trouble realizing their own potential. Whether they are Cowardly Lions, Scarecrows or Tin Men, this session will help you overcome barriers and empower your callers to pool together your referrals with their own resources and problem-solving skills to get to where they are going.
1:45 PM - 3:45 PM
LEADERSHIP TRACK: Strengthening I&R , R&R, and I&R/A in New England
This 2- hour leadership session is intended to explore the need for, and feasibility of, establishing a formalized membership association across New England of the diverse programs which serve as the Information & Referral gateway for critical social services and resources. The currently informal I&R network includes the state-wide 2-1-1 programs, aging and disability I&R/A, child care Resource & Referral, and specialized I&R services, such as LGBTQ groups, women’s organizations, youth agencies, and immigrant support entities. There are no longer any statewide AIRS affiliates in New England (according to the AIRS web site). Has the time for New England AIRS arrived? The session will offer the opportunity for a vibrant discussion of whether such a regional AIRS affiliate would increase New England’s voice in the national I&R field, and could foster enhanced communication, collaboration, and service quality across the region, in support of an even more critical I&R impact.
1:45 PM - 4:00 PM
AIRS Examinations
AIRS Certification Program is a professional credentialing program for individuals working within the I&R sector of human services. The mission of the AIRS Certification Program is, in accordance with international credentialing practices, to improve the quality of the I&R service received by the public, recognize the professional of individual I&R practitioners, and provide an enhanced quality assurance measurement to organizations that provide I&R. (Check out the attached document for more on the benefits of certification to staff and agenices.) Seating is limited, spaces still available!
AHS Training Room
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
4:00 PM
Event End
Waterbury, VT 05676 United States

Things to Do in Vermont: Weekend Sept 21-25

  • John Cleese presents Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Thursday, September 21 at 730PM. Tickets range in price from $25-90.  Playing on the Mainstage at the Flynn Theater in downtown Burlington. Click here to visit the website.
  • Seu Jorge: The Life Aquatic, A Tribute to David Bowie: Saturday, September 23 at 8PM. In commemoration of David Bowie’s recent passing, Seu Jorge performs a special tribute to him while recreating the set to the film A Life Aquatic on stage alongside screens crafted as boat sails that will be displaying images from the film. Tickets range in price from $37.75-58.75.Playing on the Mainstage at the Flynn Theater in downtown Burlington.  Click here to visit the website.
  • The Head and the Heart: Sunday, September 24 at 8PM.  An American indie rock band, whose debut single, "All We Ever Knew" is currently #1 at AAA radio and #8 at Alternative.  A concert on the green at the Shelburne Museum (the best place in Vermont to see a concert!).  Tickets are $48.75.  Click here to visit the website.
  • The Vermont Wine & Harvest Festival: Friday thru Sunday, September 22-24.  Set in the backdrop of our world renowned Vermont fall foliage, attendees of the Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival will discover, savor and enjoy Vermont vintners, small specialty food producers, chefs, painters, publishers, cheese makers, potters, jewelers, photographers and farmers.  Click here to visit the website.
  • 19th Century Apple & Cheese Harvest Festival and Apple Pie Baking Competition: Sunday, September 24 from 11 to 3.  Winner of the "Top Ten 2017 Fall Events" in Vermont.  Come celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s birthday! Bring the whole family to a harvest festival at the Justin Morrill State Historic Site. Features face-painting, live music by Out on a Limb and an apple pie contest.   Click here to visit the website.
  • Burlington Edible History Tour: Friday/Saturday, September 22/23 at 1PM.  This tour takes you back in time to connect the history of Burlington’s early ethnic groups to their food traditions, when farm to table was a way of life.  Click here to visit the website.
  • Vermont Wildlife Festival: Sunday, September 24 from 10-4.  A wide variety of attractions to engage anyone with an interest in the outdoors. Live birds of prey, reptile rescues and a live wolf demonstration bring the flashy live animals into focus. Click here to visit the website.
  • Queen City Ghost Walk - Darkness Falls Tour: Friday/Saturday, September 22/23 at 7PM.  Vermont’s original haunted history tour- the only tour in Vermont led by a published author of the paranormal. Click here to visit the website.
  • The Peru Fair: Saturday, September 23.  Early morning of the fair, booths, displays, and crafts are set up, smells of food begin to stretch across and before too long, the parade of whimsical characters officially opens the Fair and music and entertainment fill the air. Click here to visit the website.
  • Bristol Harvest Festival:  Saturday, September 23 from 10 to 4.  A full day of live music on the bandstand, activities for kids, wagon rides, live demonstrations, crafters, vendors, and area non-profit organizations.  Click here to visit the website.
  • Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Contest: Sunday, September 24 from 11 to 4.  Featuring live music, a chili cook off and, of course, some good ole fashioned pumpkin chucking!  A one of a kind event, not to be missed!   Click here to visit the website.

For more information, things to do, and places to stay, please visit the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce at!