BRACC revived under The Collaborative with new projects coordinator

Lauren Ingersoll

The Black River Area Community Coalition announces the revival of its organization now operating in full-swing under new leadership.

BRACC’s new projects coordinator, Lauren Ingersoll of Andover, graduated from the University of Vermont in 2015 with a degree in Community Development and Applied Economics and has worked throughout the Southern Vermont region developing websites for small businesses, building relationships with towns, planning local events and implementing community projects.

Ingersoll brings experience working for the Springfield Restorative Justice Center, knowledge of substance use prevention,  project management skills and digital marketing expertise.

For more than 20 years, BRACC has been a collaboration of individuals, schools, health professionals, law enforcement, businesses and local decision-makers with the goal to support substance-free environments for youth. In 2002, BRACC was formed out of the concern and interest expressed by parents and community leaders to work proactively toward 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.

As projects coordinator Ingersoll’s duties 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 said. “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. BRACC, following the retirement of its former director, Paul Faenza,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 works include:

  • 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

The organization is looking for interested community members and stakeholders to be involved in prevention planning and initiatives. Individuals can engage in this community-led effort through volunteer leadership, public conversation
events, survey participation, and the promotion of educational resources. For more information, contact Projects Coordinator Lauren Ingersoll at

BRACC is now located in the Collaborative Building, in Flood Brook School, 91 VT RT-11 in Londonderry.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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