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Mark Redmond
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Mark Redmond is the executive director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services, where he has served since 2003. He has worked in the field of helping homeless and at-risk youth for 29 years, starting as a full-time volunteer at Covenant House in Times Square. He is the author of “The Goodness Within: Reaching Out to Troubled Teens with Love and Compassion,” published by Paulist Press, and has had articles published in The New York Times, Forbes, the Burlington Free Press and other publications. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from Villanova University and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University.

Mark has a 24-year-old son, Aiden, living in NYC. Mark and his wife Marybeth live with their eight-year-old son Liam in Essex, Vt.

Entries by Mark Redmond

This Pay-It-Forward Story Will Warm Your Heart

(3) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 1:42 PM

I am the director of a nonprofit organization that cares for homeless and runaway teenagers and young adults in Burlington, Vermont. On one beautiful Autumn day, I had family in town who were visiting, so I took the day off and we spent the afternoon walking down the main pedestrian...

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'What Advice Would You Give to a Room Full of Parents?'

(2) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 4:24 PM

I've worked with at-risk teenagers for the last 33 years, and recently someone emailed me this question: "I am going to be teaching a parenting class at a local school. What advice would you give to a room full of parents?"

This was my answer:

The most powerful and important...

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The Washington Navy Yard and Our Porous Mental Health System

(3) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 2:43 PM

So it's happened again.

Someone seemingly with severe mental illness has gone on a shooting spree. This time it was Aaron Alexis, in the Washington Navy Yard. Six weeks ago, Alexis told people someone had threatened him at an airport in Virginia. A few days later, in Rhode Island, he...

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The President's Plan on Reducing Gun Violence: Not Nearly Enough Emphasis on Mental Health Care

(17) Comments | Posted January 17, 2013 | 11:37 AM

President Obama unveiled new policies on Wednesday aimed at limiting gun violence, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. It includes 23 specific Executive Actions. But only four of them have anything to do with increasing mental health care in this country. And the dollar amounts attached to...

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Homeless for One Night

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 6:24 PM

When I am not writing the occasional column for the Huffington Post, my regular job is executive director at Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is the state's largest city, and Spectrum is the largest provider of services to homeless and at-risk teenagers and young...

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When It Comes to Education, Parents Matter

(3) Comments | Posted March 1, 2012 | 3:25 PM

Much has been written lately about the achievement gap, which is the difference in school performance between one group of students and another, be that based on gender, race or socioeconomic status. The gap can be measured in a variety of ways, including standardized test scores, dropout rates and college-enrollment...

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The LEAP Program: Successfully Connecting Youth With Other Cultures

(1) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 10:32 AM

I was recently introduced to a woman who is doing something different and dramatic in the lives of young people. Lauren Calahan is the mother of four children and lives on the "Gold Coast" of Connecticut, in a town called Darien. Calahan was a career teacher who became more and...

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Save the World. Mentor a Child.

(2) Comments | Posted January 23, 2012 | 2:41 PM

The average person can feel overwhelmed by the problems facing our country and planet. It is easy to conclude, "What can I do?" I sometimes suffer from similar feelings of frustration, but it is at those moments that I take encouragement from a passage in the Talmud which...

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Why It's a Wonderful Life Is Such an Important Film for Parents and Kids

(8) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 12:26 PM

When the holiday season began a few weeks ago, my wife suggested we start introducing our 9-year-old son to some of the movie classics by watching them with him. I had to confess that some I had never seen before (Miracle on 34th Street), and others I had seen but...

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The Importance of Instilling Hope in Our Children and Teenagers

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2011 | 6:47 AM

In the early 1990's I was director of a 72-bed residence for teenage males and females just a few miles outside of New York City. The technical term for the program was "residential treatment center" and it consisted of a series of cottages on an 18-acre campus which also contained...

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An Important New Documentary About Child Abuse

(9) Comments | Posted September 28, 2011 | 3:28 PM

Ask Us Who We Are, the latest documentary by Bess O'Brien of Kingdom County Productions, begins by chronicling the lives of nine Vermont teenagers, all of whom are or were in the foster care system. The film starts with each youth describing what his or her...

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The Movie Every Parent Should Watch with Their Child

(18) Comments | Posted August 24, 2011 | 12:37 PM

"Hoosiers" is about a small-town Indiana high school basketball team, set in 1951. The movie is loosely based on the Milan High School team that won the 1954 Indiana state championship. It stars Gene Hackman as Norman Dale, the new coach in town with a shadowy...

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The Problem with Parenting Today

(5) Comments | Posted May 10, 2011 | 12:51 PM

I work with teenagers who are having difficulties, I have done so for almost 30 years, and I have written previously about the propensity of some parents to fail to set limits on their children. I know this is not only my opinion, I have heard it voiced many times...

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Parenting Lessons From a Deceased Basketball Coach

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2011 | 5:25 PM

Watching March Madness last month reminded me of the very first time I followed March Madness, although back then it was simply the NCAA Men's Division Basketball Championship.

I was a senior in high school, and I sat in our living room with my father to watch...

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Never Judge a Church By Its Cover

(87) Comments | Posted March 22, 2011 | 7:28 PM

The email flashed across my screen at work.

"Who is available next Sunday, 10am, to go to a church to pick up some items their fifth grade youth group wants to donate to us?"

The message was from a staff member at Spectrum, where I serve as...

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The Importance of Rituals and Routines for Families

(6) Comments | Posted March 16, 2011 | 10:50 AM

I love the movie, "The Blind Side," about Michael Oher, a teenager who becomes homeless and is then welcomed into the Tuohy family. The Tuohys are upper-middle-class, and it is the mother, Leigh Ann, who is the main catalyst in the family's decision to reach out and help...

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A Parent's Problem with United Airlines (And It's Not the Baggage Fees)

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2011 | 12:44 PM

This occurred a few years ago, but I haven't given up my personal protest against United Air Lines yet. And I have since found out that I am not the only one.

Every January my wife, son and I fly to Denver for a ski vacation with my wife's...

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Families Dealing With Drug Addiction: A Letter That Offers Hope

(15) Comments | Posted February 18, 2011 | 8:28 AM

This letter was sent to me two weeks ago at Spectrum Youth and Family Services, where I serve as executive director. It was addressed to me and to the woman who runs our counseling program. It is from a father whose son we were working with several years ago:

I...
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The Need for Authority in Relationships with Troubled Youth

(4) Comments | Posted January 22, 2011 | 1:18 AM

I work with teenagers who are in trouble. I have been at this work for 29 years, now in Vermont. These teens are tagged with various labels: at-risk; disconnected; addicted; mentally ill; developmentally disabled; oppositional defiant; and on and on. The labels change over the years. But in the end,...

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