BRACC under new leadership

Lauren Ingersoll. Photo provided

REGION – The Black River Area Community Coalition (BRACC) is pleased to announce the revival of its organization now operating in full-swing under new leadership this year. BRACC’s new Projects Coordinator, Lauren Ingersoll, graduated from UVM in 2015 with a degree in Community Development and Applied Economics and has since been living in Andover, Vt. She’s worked throughout the Southern Vermont region, developing websites for small businesses, building relationships with towns, planning local events, and implementing community projects. Lauren brings to the table her experience working for the Springfield Restorative Justice Center, her knowledge of substance use prevention, her project management skills, and her digital marketing expertise.

For over 20 years, BRACC has been a collaboration of individuals, schools, health professionals, law enforcement, businesses, and local decision-makers with a shared goal to support substance-free environments for youth. In 2002, BRACC grew out of the concern and interest expressed by parents and community leaders to work proactively towards reducing high risk behaviors of the young people in the Black River Area. The organization uses evidence-based strategies to collect data and build programs that are responsive to the needs of the towns and school communities of Ludlow, Plymouth, Mount Holly, and Chester.

Ingersoll’s duties as the new Projects Coordinator include planning and implementing assessment, programs, and outreach for the communities of the Black River Area. “I’m excited to be the new face of this organization,” Ingersoll comments. “With the help of The Collaborative launch team, I intend to rebuild BRACC’s programs at the grassroots, and reestablish a coalition team of key players who want to make a difference in their community.” The Collaborative is a substance misuse organization based in Londonderry that has been working regionally in Bennington and Windsor Counties for the last 22 years. Following the retirement of its former Director, Paul Faenza, BRACC sought new oversight and found it in February of 2022 with an agreement with The Collaborative to be its fiscal and organizational sponsor.

Some of BRACC’s prevention work includes:

  • Offering presentations and recovery resources for teens, parents, and schools to reduce current trends in underage drinking, tobacco and drug abuse
  • Cross-promoting prevention resources with The Collaborative, Green Peak Alliance, Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership, and the Vermont Department of Health
  • Hosting public meetings and engagement activities that invite members of the community to share their stories and discuss solution efforts
  • Recognizing Responsible Retailers in an effort to reduce alcohol and tobacco sales to minors
  • Working to reduce vape and tobacco use through educational campaigns and cessation support
  • Promoting National Drug Take Back Day each year
  • Sponsoring events and programs that engage and support the voice of the youth community
  • Providing current information and training opportunities for local prevention workers
  • Participating in county-wide educational efforts to reduce drug and alcohol abuse
  • Conducting surveys and assessment strategies to develop community profile reports


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