Community News & Events

Mustaches as Walking Billboards? Yes, When They're Raising Money for Cancer Research

When our employee of more than a dozen years, Stephen Clem, Jr., walked into work on November 1st, the first thing we noticed was his face. Yes, his actual face because we could see more of it--he had shaved his mustache off and he looked quite different. He said something about growing back his mustache as a fundraiser. It sounded intriguing and important enough for us to share his explanation with you. He promised to not only grow it back in again, but turn it into handlebars!

1. Why are you involved in this fundraiser?
Men’s health is one of those things that don’t get talked about – especially by men. Not to their doctors, not each other, not to the people they care about if they can help it.

There’s no one going around with “Save the Prostates” bumper stickers. Movember seemed like a good opportunity not only to start some conversations, but help fund research in men’s health.

Stephen Clem, Jr.2. What community does it serve?
The donations primarily fund research in prostate cancer as well as other cancers that affect men, but my feeling is that any research towards cancer and its prevention is going to benefit the greater community as a whole.

3. What organization is running the fundraiser?
It’s coordinated by the appropriately named Movember Foundation, which began in Australia, but with assistance from the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG, it’s gone worldwide.

4. How much money are you trying to raise?
This is my first year participating, so I’m not sure what to expect; one of my teammates is nearing $300 half-way through the month, so I think $500 would be excellent for my first time out.

5. Why mustaches?
The mobros (the name for the male participants, there are mosistas showing their support as well) refer to it as a walking billboard. A mustache in progress is something of a conversation starter although to be honest since I usually have a mustache I think I got more attention when I shaved on Movember first.

The rules are that you begin the month of Movember with a clean upper lip and then spend the next thirty days growing the biggest and best “mo” that you can. Since folks are used to seeing me with a mo I’ve decided to add handlebars to stand out more.  It will be sweet.

6. How can others help?
Visit If you can, please make a donation. Canada has us beat right now. You can visit my “MoSpace” page to learn more.

7. When is the fundraiser over?
The last day of Movember!

A Flag Waving for an American Everyman

My good friend, Wendy Steager, wrote this lovely speech in 2009 in honor of her father Edward A. Steager, a veteran of WWII, and to all Veterans who have served our country. It's a lovely tribute, and I asked her if I could share it on this Veterans Day:

American flagsOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice -- a temporary cessation of hostilities -- was declared between the allied nations and Germany in the First World War also known as the Great War.

Beginning the following year, Nov. 11th was commemorated as Armistice Day and then became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938.

In the aftermath of WWII, and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day -- a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

This significant day in history is recognized as the day to pay tribute and give thanks to all veterans, living or dead, who served their country honorably during times of war and peace.

Not only is this day recognized as Veteran’s Day in the U.S., but in several other countries as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and Poppy Day.

This day has always been a special day of celebration in my family because both my parents served in WWII: my mother serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in England, and my father as a U.S. soldier and infantryman in the European Theater.

They met and were eventually married while my father was stationed in England.

As a child, I remember seeing my father, in uniform, marching in every parade in my small hometown in Pennsylvania. I stood with Mom, my siblings and our neighbors along the parade route waiting for him to pass by in formation with the other Legionnaires – us all so proud and excitedly waving our little American flags high in the air.

There is a common bond of service that has kept him in close contact with other veterans through the local American Legion and the VFW.

He’s been somewhat of a local icon because he continues to visit local schools in his old WWII uniform when invited for Veterans Day events. The kids look at him in awe – a relic who represents stories they only read about in their history books.

Something quite extraordinary about my Dad is his love of poetry.

I learned that during wartime he often calmed his nerves with poetry. He was known to have kept the Pocket Book of Verse in his combat uniform to read aloud while in foxholes. But he also kept paper and a pen so he could write verse about the events he witnessed.

While conducting my research for this speech, I came across one of his poems that I found particularly interesting because of the date when the events occurred. It’s a poem about the dramatic end to a battle in which Dad fought. He was 25. That battle happened this week, 67 years ago and ended on November 11th, 1942.

Here’s what he wrote in his poem called “Flag Waving.”

I remember Teddy Jr.
As he stood upon the hill,
Overlooking Oran harbor
Where our troops were fighting still.

The French garrison commander,
Having seen the Germans leave,
Indicated to the Allies
He could safely seek reprieve.

Brigadier General Teddy Roosevelt
Of the U.S. Big Red One,
Pondered how to stop the bloodshed
For this battle had been won.

With no thought for personal safety
To the palisade he ran,
Held aloft our country’s banner,
Then continued with his plan.

Side to side he waved Old Glory,
Far below the fighting paused,
French and Allied soldiers marveled
At the truce which Teddy caused.

Further bloodshed was averted,
Allied troops had won the day,
Then were counted dead and wounded
As the price we had to pay.

Should you desecrate Old Glory
If by flame or brush or soil,
It’s yourself alone you slander,
Heroes’ deeds you cannot spoil.

By Edward A. Steager. b Apr 1, 1917; d. Jan 11, 2011

My father was part of the Allied force’s strategic operation known as Operation Torch. In October of 1942 a fleet of ships carrying men and tanks sailed 15 days from Scotland, into the Mediterranean for an amphibious landing on the beaches of North Africa in Algeria.

Dad described to me that the landing was rough because there had been no reconnaissance to discover what was ahead for them. The French, who were behind the promontory on shore, lobbing bombs toward the water, were bombarding the American and British U-boats.

He remembers seeing a British boat next to the one he was on exploding when a bomb struck, and in the immediate shock of it all, struggling and scrambling with his fellow soldiers to quickly disembark their vessel with the tanks and ammunition.

The battle ensued. But finally, it ended when Teddy Roosevelt Jr. stood high atop the promontory overlooking the beach. He boldly waved a large U.S. flag while soldiers struggled to survive and battled to win on the beach below. His flag waving caused the fighting to stop. The French commanders had retreated.

My father described the scene as one of exalted exuberance and joy as soldiers cheered at the site of the waving flag and recognizing their 2nd in command on the hill above. There was no doubt about the identity of the man waving the flag as they’d all become familiar with the site of their commanders during training back in Scotland.

But then, the work of the soldiers continued as they cleaned up the scene, removing the dead and tending to the wounded. Then, they established their camps before moving across North Africa - through Algeria to the east and into Tunisia over the coming months.

This was the first time in WWII that the allied forces put their feet on enemy soil and successfully established a landing and a stronghold.

About this battle in the scope of this war, Winston Churchill said: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Although my father fought in a violent war, the peacemaker that he is at his core was never compromised. And like all those other honorable men and women veterans of military service, he continues to represent the fight for peace and freedom throughout the world.

Thanks Dad, and Happy Veterans Day.

Written by Wendy Steager and delivered as speech project #4 to Toastmasters of Greater Burlington on November 11th, 2009.

Permission granted by the poet and the publisher for use of the poem “Flag Waving.”

LCI Fishing Derby & Signarama of Vermont

In case you didn't know, Bob Diaco is, by educational training, a biologist. He knows a few things about matters both invertebrate, vertebrate, and plant-like, which has helped him in his life-long quest of things Pisces. That's the Latin word for fish.

You see, fish are vertebrates--they have a spine that contains vertebrae. Fish eat invertebrates, spineless critters that include flies of all sorts. And they eat underwater plants. Bob knows this and uses his training in biology to snag himself some pretty nice looking trout now and again (which he's able to catch with a fly rod and lots of faux invertebrates he makes himself).

Bob is also a Dad, and although his sons have not yet taken up one of his favorite pastimes, he supports organizations that encourage family togetherness through fishing. Lake Champlain International--the organizer of the LCI Fishing Derby held annually every Father's Day--is one of those organizations. Bob believes in their mission of fishing, family, and clean waters, which is why he supports their annual event. He likes the staff, too, so when they mailed us the thank you below, he was grateful.

For him, it seems simple to support an organization like this, but an acknowledgement is always nice. Thank you, LCI. Fish Forever!LCI Fishing Derby Thank you card





The Great Pumpkin Regatta Returns!

Giant Pumpkin RegattaTo quote Linus from Peanuts, "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."

Well, we hope you do more than discuss pumpkins this weekend because it's the 4th Annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta & Festival this Sunday, October 9th and we'd love to see you there!


When: Sunday, October 9th from 10-3 . . . Races begin at noon

Where: Burlington Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont

What: Pumpkin Regatta with lots of laughs and a fall festival including food and craft vendors, a tent full of kids activities, pet costume contest, pie eating contest, bounce castles, and more!

Rain or Shine? Both! So wear warm clothes! It can be brisk out there in OcGiant Pumpkin Regatta Posing with our Pumpkintober . . .

We are lucky to have the ongoing support of area businesses to make this fundraiser a success.

Last year we were able to raise $23,000 to help fund our youth leadership program, PILOT. This year, our goal is $25,000 and we just may have surpassed that with the huge response from the business community wanting to sponsor and race giant pumpkins!

For more information on PILOT, please visit:

For more information on the event and schedule, please visit:

Grants for Success Past Recipients

Grants for Success past recipients is a brief introduction to non-profits who have benefited from a grant. It explains why they applied, what they used their signs for, and how they helped marketing their missions.

If you are a non-profit and are interested in applying for a grant, use these examples to help you determine if a grant is applicable to your organization.

You are not restricted to the types of signs past recipients have received, but their projects may inspire sign options you were not aware of, or help you determine which of your projects would benefit most from the marketing help signs offer.

Click over to the post on the United Way of Chittenden County and read about their step and repeat banner.

Kidsafe Collaborative also received a 100% Grant Award Winner for 2011. This provided them with three banners to promote their mission free of charge. They also received lawn signs for their Community Yard Sale and a trade show display at a 35% discount.
KidSafe Banner
“Our collection of new banners has made it possible for us to have greater visibility at all of our events, and conferences while conveying a new tag line that summarizes our complex mission in a few words,” said Anne MacLeod,

“It is not easy to explain the work of our community partnership – HOW we work – but we can now convey what we do:  ‘Together we can end child abuse and neglect.’

"The grant was immediately a tremendous boost in confidence for our staff – it was wonderful to know that we had this generous support and plan our fundraising and other events with some very fresh and effective new banners, signs and displays.” -- Anne MacLeod, Community Outreach and Development Coordinator, KidSafe

Linking Learning to Life was awarded a 50% grant in 2011 to acquire a total trade show package. Here’s what Lindsey Lathrop had to say:

“Our new trade show package has helped Linking Learning to Life tremendously. We now have a professional and polished look whenever we attend events. It might seem silly, but it's great to actually have all of our materials match! I'm hoping this will help increase our general awareness in the community.

linking learning to life display“I think the new display comes as a sigh of relief for Linking Learning to Life staff as it’s easy to transport and set-up. We no longer feel daunted whenever we get an invite to attend an event because bringing our marketing materials is a lot easier.

“You don't need to be a marketing expert to work with Sign-A-Rama because they work with you through the process to ensure you receive a quality product that you will actually use. Linking Learning to Life was tremendously grateful to receive the 50% discount through the GFS Program. Like most non-profits, LLL has an extremely limited marketing budget, which often prohibits us from marketing as well as we could if we had some funds. This community program is a rare opportunity!” -- Lindsey Lathrop, Assistant Director Linking Learning to Life

Essex Chips (Stomping Ground) sought a grant in 2011 for a banner and an a-frame to promote visibility of their organization in the community. They were awarded a 100% grant so the signs were free.
Essex chips banner
“The sign has been very useful in getting people to see our brand. A huge way is when we put it at Five Corners. We are able to then remind people of the events the day of.

“Through the process of getting the signs we had to come up with our logo, so it was a push in a positive direction. Now that we have our logo and have it on visible signs we have been using it a lot.

"The banner is hung up in our space and we use the A-frames every time we have an event, both to advertise and tell people where we are located specifically. We had a great experience with the GFS program. We really appreciate the grant and feel it has helped so far and will very much in the future.” -- Adriane Schubert, Program Manager Essex CHIPS, Inc. - Teen Center

The Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) applied for a 2011 GFS Grant, and received one at the 50% level. They applied the grant toward the purchase of 25 banners that they use at literacy events around Vermont and New Hampshire.

“It is very important that the people attending these events know that it is the Children's Literacy Foundation that made the event possible,” said Joanne Heidkamp. “In the past, often the only person that knew CLiF was the underwriter of the event or the person who had applied for our programming. The other 100 or more people present probably had no idea about CLiF's existence.

clif banner used on tableWe expect that over time our brand will be better recognized, and more educators and human service providers will think about applying to CLiF when they want to do a literacy program. It helps remind our presenters—children's book authors, illustrators and poets—that CLiF is the resource that gets them out in front of disadvantaged kids to nurture a love of reading and writing. This seems to have helped strengthen these relationships.”

“The application process was easy, and we would never have hoped to purchase 25 banners without the 50% discount that Sign*A*Rama gave us. We definitely recommend that other non-profits think about the opportunities this program offers to increase visibility of an organization or of an issue.” -- Joanne Heidkamp, Special Projects Coordinator

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