Dismas of Vermont is a sober living for former prisoners and college students in three locations throughout Vermont. The initial program was founded in 1974 by Jack Hickey, a priest who worked through Vanderbilt University. Today, Dismas stresses accountability, community and structure to help clients adjust to a sober lifestyle.
Accommodations and Amenities
Dismas consists of four Victorian style homes that hold 11 clients each. The spaces are fairly large, with shared bedrooms and bathrooms and two to a room. The rooms are furnished with single beds with sheets, blankets and pillows. Toiletries and paper products are supplied based on donations, in addition to towels and cleaning supplies. There are common areas available like the kitchen, dining room and living rooms, all of which are to be kept tidy be residents. The facilities are located throughout Vermont with two in Burlington, one in Rutland and one in Hartford.
The success of these programs depends heavily on community support. Volunteer cooks prepare meals and eat with clients five nights per week. There are also members of the community who organize painting events and other projects around the homes. Finally, there are also frequent outings including mini-golf or sailing trips.
Rules and Regulations
Residents are required to attend the program for a minimum of 90 days. Each client is required to work or go to school. Those transitioning out of prison are required to attend recovery-based groups like 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery. Weekly chores such as cleaning common areas and doing dishes are assigned by staff members.
There is a “no sex” rule in the house, and anyone caught violating it must leave the residence. For those coming out of prison, any kind of relapse is grounds for immediate dismissal. For students, a relapse requires them to go in front of the staff to explain the situation.
The former prisoners are required to attend at least three dinners at the house weekly, while the student residents don’t have an attendance requirement. House meetings are mandatory for all clients.
There are board members who oversee the fundraising efforts for the homes, as well as hiring house staff who live on-site and maintain each facility. A program director manages the programs and volunteer efforts of each individual site, as do resident directors who live on location with the clients.
After the 90 day required stay at the group homes, there is an option to transition over to the satellite apartments that are owned by the Dismas house. There are seven available spaces in total.
Dismas of Vermont, Inc. is a unique program that relies heavily on community support. Through the goodness of their volunteers, clients are given companionship to help them through early sobriety. Thanks to the intense structure of the program, the road to sobriety is easily mapped out.
Dismas of Vermont, Inc.
103 East Allen Street
Winooski, VT 05404
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