Jessica Barquist is currently the Let's Grow Kids field coordinator for Franklin-Grand Isle, Essex, Orleans and Lamoille counties. In September, she will transition into the role of education coordinator to focus on the development and implementation of Let’s Grow Kids’ training program and other educational projects. Jessica earned a B.A. in Psychology from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2007 and then graduated with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in 2010. Her graduate work focused on child development. Jessica lives in Milton, VT and is the proud mother of a 2-year-old son. She is very excited to help people feel empowered to make lasting change for children through community education! For more information, contact Jessica at

Getting YOU Ready to Create Change!

Have you heard the news?

Five thousand people have signed our Pledge in support of giving every child a strong start—which means we’re halfway to our goal of 10,000 signatures!

That’s a lot of people who care about creating lasting change for children in Vermont. Becoming an effective champion for children requires support and preparation. It’s important to understand the issue at hand, know the best way to communicate effectively about the issue and feel confident in your ability to do so.

As our supporter list has grown, the need for Let’s Grow Kids' trainings across the state has also expanded. We've heard this need and are hard at work developing our training offerings into six diverse modules, all with the goal of helping our supporters increase their knowledge and skills as champions for early childhood. We can’t wait to share our new training options with you—they’re designed for everyone who wants to make a difference: parents, child care professionals, educators, business people and community members.

Three of these modules are stand-alone trainings in themselves:

  • How to be a Changemaker - Training for community members interested in finding their voice and learning how they can help create a strong future for Vermont’s youngest children and their families.
  • Brain Science Overview - Northern Lights Accredited professional development workshops for child care providers on brain development in young children (Let’s Grow Kids is a Bright Futures Information System (BFIS) sponsor and we have skilled Northern Lights instructors on staff).
  • Early Childhood Care and Education Field Overview - A workshop on who’s who and what’s what in Vermont’s early childhood community for community members, volunteers, partner organizations and providers.

In addition, we’re developing intermediate level modules for those who have already taken our basic trainings but would like to continue to expand their knowledge on the process of how effective advocacy works. These modules include:

  • Making Change through Stories
  • Making Change through Advocacy
  • Making Change in your Community 

As we develop and fine tune these trainings to ensure that they are of the highest quality before unveiling them this fall, we could really use your input. We’d love to know more about what YOU would like to learn in order to be an effective champion for children. Please take a moment to fill out our brief three-question survey to let us know what skills or information you would like our trainings to cover. As we continue to grow our training program, we’ll be adding new workshops based on your feedback.

As you think about your fall schedule, please consider adding one or more of our trainings to your lineup. We will work with you to find a time and place that's best for your schedule—including nights, weekends, mornings and everything in between!

Our trainings are engaging, educational and most importantly, fun! Be prepared for group discussions and brainstorms and also to engage with the material in a meaningful and perhaps even personal way. Our hope is that, no matter which training you attend, you leave with the confidence and knowledge to make a difference in the lives of Vermont’s youngest children.

We are more than happy to offer you free professional development hours, if applicable, and are excited to bring the campaign’s important messages to you! However, our schedule is filling up quickly, so grab some friends, set a date and book ASAP by contacting Jessica at or 802-559-0084. We look forward seeing you at a training this fall!

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