Coming soon: Free online courses foster connection and a sense of belonging

Studies have shown that feelings of isolation and loneliness have increased over the past two years, due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. To help alleviate the negative effects of these feelings, experts recommend finding new ways to connect. An article written by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center, describes several strategies for improving mental health during this stressful time. Recommendations are to focus on positive thoughts, prioritize, and cultivate connection with others.

Mercy Connections is a non-profit organization that offers several programs that can foster connection, help people set and achieve goals, and nurture a sense of belonging. These programs are free and easily accessible from anywhere using the Zoom platform. Online programs such as “Developing Self”, “MAP! Make an Action Plan ”and“ Open Up to Your Life ”focus on mindfulness, goal setting and cultivating positivity through guided lessons in an open and supportive community.

“Isolation and loneliness were factors in people’s lives long before the pandemic,” said Lisa Falcone, executive director of Mercy Connections. “Our programs are designed to create a sense of connection, purpose and belonging. We are filling a niche for people who are looking for community and connection with others.

In surveys conducted at the end of the programs, 100% of participants in Mercy Connections programs said they had increased their social capital and sense of belonging. One participant said: “I feel like I belong and I am so grateful to be a part of this community. Another participant said he had received “positive and encouraging support and an inspiring vision” and learned “what is important to me and what I want to bring and have in my life”.

Programs start January 19. All classes and workshops are free and open to adults of all genders. More details and registration information can be found online at or by calling (802) 846-7063.

Winter / spring program schedule:

• Openness to your life (2 week workshop)
Come and discover honoring your strengths and all that brings joy and balance to your life. In community with other participants, you will focus on your authentic self and learn essential life skills that promote personal development and positive connections. Wednesday 9: 30-12: 30, 1/19/22 & 1/26/22

• Self-development (5 week course)
Take a big first step on a journey to overcome life’s challenges. You will learn to reflect on experiences and reframe their impact on your future. Participants will reconnect with their strengths and fundamental values ​​and acquire a new sense of belonging to a united community. SESSION I: Monday & Wednesday 10h00-12h00, 31/01/22 -3/2/22. SESSION II: Monday & Wednesday 10h00-12h00, 23/5 / 22-6 / 22/22

• CARD! – Develop an action plan (15 weeks, open / continuous registration)
Come and develop an action plan to move forward with the life you want to lead after the pandemic with a community to support you every step of the way. Each week we have presentations from guest speakers introducing participants to the resources available in the community and how to access them to make connections. Participants will learn and develop their own SMART goals, and then take action to implement their plan, with help from the instructional team. Some examples of shared resources include supports for mental or physical health, financial services, news and access to technology, and many more. Tuesday 11h00-12h30, 1/25 / 22-6 / 7-22

• Vermont Community Leadership Training (15 weeks)
Want to make a difference in your community? This program will provide you with leadership skills and a supportive community to help you. Our one-of-a-kind leadership and civic experience combines exciting community projects with leadership and self-awareness activities for all levels. By participating, you will gain confidence and be able to speak out on issues that affect you and your family. Thursday 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., 20/01 / 222-4 / 28/22

• Define a direction (2 week workshop)
During this two-day workshop, you will explore how your experiences, challenges and opportunities can point you to new possibilities. Creative activities will invite you to understand and claim your courage as you chart your life course and practice life changing skills. Monday 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 02/14/22 & 02/21/22


Mercy Connections, founded in 2001, is an educational and values-driven non-profit organization that empowers people to make meaningful changes in their lives through education, mentorship, entrepreneurship training and to the community.

More information:
Kim Norman Mercer
Marketing & Communication Director
km[email protected]
portable (802) 274-3043
office (802) 846-7086

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