Appreciation from students, teachers and parents


Student “D” male, 5th grade student, Pownal Elem:

Dear Mr. Breakstone, Thank you for teaching me the ways of inner peace and to deal with bullying.  You taught the ways to not be mean to other people or on the internet. Your teaching helped all of us to not hurt or call people names and that is very important.  Also, your words and roleplay helped us understand to be together and not against each other.

Student “O” female 3rd grade, Bennington Elementary:

I can follow the A MOP rule (don’t hurt Animals, Myself, Others, Property).  I can tell myself that if you don’t have love, you don’t have happiness and you won’t have peace.  I can tell myself that if you are mean then you will be breaking the rules.

Parent of Sunderland Elementary Student:

… My son, H, loved your visits to Sunderland last year. He asked more than once if it would be possible for him to talk with you one on one because he really connected with you and deals with anxiety. He utilizes the toolbox you taught him about frequently and we use a lot of talk therapy, but since he asked, I thought it might be good for him to have someone who isn’t a parent for him to talk to.

Donna Stone, Molly Stark Elementary Teacher, 4th grade:  March 23, 2018:

THANK YOU, STEVE!  You have to know that everyday my learners will connect something in a lesson with one of your lessons.    You bring so much energy for learning and you get our kids so engaged!

Katrina H, 8/21/18:

I am the new program manager for the Seedlings Program (after-school program) in Bennington, VT. Lorianna W gave me your email address and told me you did a fabulous job last year doing a training for Seedlings volunteers. I was hoping you might be available this year to do another training,..

Youth Agricultural Program (YAP) student: August 2018:

Steve delivered his info in a funny but serious way, which I thought helped me pay attention and get the info.  He gave us tips on how to control our anger and what to do.  My favorite part was when he answered my depression question in great detail.  Overall, (Steve’s program) was a good experience.

KT (YAP student): August 2018:

…Steve provided important information in a funny memorable, impactful way.  He taught us the difference between a healthy relationship and a bad relationship.  He also talked about how to see the signs of a bad relationship before it got too out of hand.  Finally, he taught us about communication skills.  Communication skills are a very fragile part in every relationship, whether it an intimate relationship or just a friendship, co-workers and just everyday life.

Also…you helped me with my relationships since I was 13.  That you for everything you’ve done.  We’ll miss you!

2018 – April -June

Amy D – PAVE Board of Directors (Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault victim services of Bennington CTY, VT):

I have heard from parents in the community about all your wonderful work in the middle and high schools. I have two sons who are at the middle school.  I’d love to be of service to you in any way that might be helpful in your activities with the schools. I’m not sure what that would be, but I’d love to hear from you if you need any help.

Student “K” female, 3rd grade, Bennington Elementary:

We are glad you come to our classroom.  We are happy when you come.  You have great knowledge; I like to take knowledge from you.  You are great at explaining.

Student “E” female, 3rd grade, Bennington Elementary:

I like you. You are funny you have made my life more happier.  I like how you do it and you are really good and you are very funny.  You are a great teacher.  All of the kids love you and think you are very funny.  You are very kind.  You make our lives very good and we all love it.

Donna Stone, Molly Stark Elementary Teacher, 4th grade:  March 23, 2018:

THANK YOU, STEVE!  You have to know that everyday my learners will connect something in a lesson with one of your lessons.    You bring so much energy for learning and you get our kids so engaged!


From 4th grade teacher at Molly Stark Elem:

You ROCK!  Thank you so much for your usual flexibility as we work our way through your wonderful program.  I so appreciate your patience with my schedule. Thank YOU a million times over!   We will get back together for our next lesson on January 3, 2018.

From 3rd/4th grade teachers at Sunderland Elementary:

Thank you again for everything. Today was an amazing display of learning.

From two parents of high school students:

Dear Steve,

First, I would like to wholeheartedly thank you for bringing educational/prevention programming to my child’s high school health class. I was told that you came in two days ago specifically to talk about rape and the language of consent.

Tracey F and I are parents, educators, and community members who are very interested in rape/violence prevention and we feel that the schools are the best place to start with some very robust programming that reaches all students – in a daily fashion if possible with creative “marketing”. We believe that along with rape and violence prevention, that there are positive ways as well to reinforce respectful behavior, and also how to protect themselves or their friends when needed. We would very much like to meet you and talk more about what we have learned and learn more about your work through PAVE and how we might be able to help.


Amy A and Tracey F.

July 2017:

Krista S. of Mt. Anthony Union Middle School Mosaic Camp:

Thanks for coming in! I think (the teen campers) really enjoyed the activity. I was impressed with the white board after the session was over. It seemed they really put thought into the exercise.

1) Thank you for being such a positive role model in my son’s life. As I said, he has taken so much from your visits, and takes it all to heart.

Thanks again for all you do.

2017-April – June

April 2017:  From Katie H., 6th grade teacher, Pownal:

I would like to thank you for coming in and donating your valuable time to my 6th grade kiddos. I think you’ve reached some in ways I couldn’t. Some of the students have shown a significant change since you started visiting us. You are great at what you do.

This is an extremely hard batch to handle. They have so many situations in their life that are aging them too fast, and thanks to you, they are more equipped to handle them. I was talking to my student “G” after you left. He said he will miss you. Even though I couldn’t get him to participate, you’ve reached him the most. He never looked engaged and sometimes didn’t take it seriously, but in the end your words have sunk into his head. He understands more now than ever that he needs to get himself in control or he could lose those who matter most to him. He’s a lot more open now and is actively trying to fix relationships with kids he’s had issues with in the past. We’ve made a lot of progress this year and a lot of it has to do with you. Thank you so much for that!

April 2017: – Pownal 6th Grade Students:

Student “G” male: I really appreciate how you let me stay apart from the other kids; while I was over there I was actually listening to everything you said. I learned that a fist can’t solve all of my problems and that just ignoring them or getting help will work better than the fist.  I have got in a lot of trouble over the years for physical violence and you really helped me.  Ever since you started helping us I haven’t got in trouble for hitting anybody and I thank you for that.

Student “R” female: I like how we discussed what good and bad traits in a friend are. I find it difficult to make friends here at Pownal so with those tips, I will know who to look for next year (in middle school).

Student “L” male: …it’s because you were there to listen to me when no one would so thank you for all you did and you made my school year

April 2017: On behalf of the For the PAVE Board, “SH:” board member:

Hi Steve,

I wanted to send a quick message of thanks from the whole board for your invaluable work.  We know you do a great job, but at our last meeting, we had that once more confirmed.  Our newest board member reported on feedback she had received from a local family about a student who attended one of your workshops on abusive relationships. Your words and message came together at just the right moment for this young woman in a positive life changing way.  What can be better than that?  Thank you, Steve.

Jeremy B., MAUHS Health Teacher:

You met with my classes 6 times this year and each time you really had a great impact on my students. Every time you leave, the next day conversation is always about how great it was. I hope to have you meet with each class next year and we continue to grow your presence in MAUHS.


Mary Ann C, Teacher at Sunderland Elementary School (email 1/24/17)

Thanks very much for this (extra lesson plans)!  We’ll definitely work it into our days to give the kids further practice and more tools to work with.  They enjoyed your visits and learned a lot.  We’ll keep you in mind as we look at our spring calendar.  I think a few visits toward the end of the year will be perfect. Thanks again,

Katie A – Youth  and Family Services Program:

We greatly appreciate your time and commitment to helping make such a memorable experience for our clients (summer programming for youth with mental health needs).  We look forward to partnering with you in the future.

Jeremy  B. – Mt. Anthony Union High School Health Class Teacher

Hey Steve,

I’d like to thank you for coming in and running your work shop.  You do a really awesome job and I look forward to having you more in the future.

I think it is great work that you do, and I know the kids love to hear a different voice than mine once in a while!  They really enjoyed your information and we have brought it up many times since.

Thanks again for coming in, I truly appreciate you taking the time to come and talk to the students.


Mario L, Youth Agriculture Project – The Tutorial Center, Bennington, Vermont:


I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for all of the work you did with the Youth Agricultural Project this summer. Beginning each week with a P.A.V.E. session was absolutely essential to building the kind of attitude and skills we needed to make Y.A.P. a successful program. Whether it is at home, at school, or at work, the youth in our program struggle with making healthy decisions that impact their everyday lives. Your sessions with the group all seemed to focus on preparing them to making better decisions. The techniques you shared with these youth empowered them to think clearly, problem solve, and communicate effectively. All of these are extremely important skills, which is central to the goal of our program. As a team leader, I noticed an immediate connection between the topics we discussed, the techniques we practiced, and their work on the job site. The youth enjoyed meeting with you each week and from my perspective all of them greatly benefited from your sessions. I look forward to working with you again in the future. I hope you will be joining us again next year.

Skyler L, Principal, Sunderland Elementary School, VT:

Hi Steve,

Toward the end of last year, you had mentioned that Sunderland is part of the area that you service.  I am just reaching out to let you know that I am very interested in having you come to work with our 5th and 6th graders.  This summer i have been approached by numerous parents who express concerns about the social/emotional environment of the upper grades in the school.  There were a few bullying investigations conducted here last year that were ultimately found to be unsubstantiated.  However, I believe that you are an effective communicator of what healthy peer relationships look like and I have championed those sentiments to our 5th and 6th grade teachers.  Thank you.

Bennington (VT) Elem 4th grade Student:

Thanks Mr. Steve.  You made me better.

Bennington El 4th grade Student:

Dear Mr. Breakstone, Thank you for teaching us about our feelings…and facial expressions.

Pownal (VT) El: 6th grade student:

Thank you for talking to us about bullying.  I will know what to do if I was bullied and being talked about.  My favorite part is when you told me to stand in the middle of the room and when I had to tell people to “stop!” (walking towards me) for my comfort zone.

Pownal El 6th grade student:

Thank you for coming in and teaching us about dealing with bullies, drugs and alcohol and how to build better self-esteem.

Pownal El 6th grade student:

I especially liked the “Live Consciously” lesson.

Donna Stone Molly Stark Elementary (VT) Jan/2016:

Thank you so very much for your sincere dedication to our profession and my students.  They so trust you and like you.  When my kids were making your Thank You cards they were having the good discussions about what they learned from you.  I wish you could have been a “fly on the wall” to hear all that was said.

You are such a great presenter of lessons that are not easy to chat about.  The students and I really learn more about respectful behavior with every lesson.  I think you will find it interesting to know that when I see former students they will ask, ” Does Mr. Breakstone still come to your classroom?”  How awesome is that?

Tyler C., teacher, N. Benn (VT) 6thgrade:

The kids are really enjoying the program and look forward to you coming every week. They are always asking when you are coming. I think the methods you are teaching will be more helpful to them in the following years when they are at different and bigger schools…I think you are nailing everything.

Mother of N. Bennington 6th grade student: My son just loves when you come.  I already see the change in how he acts and his behavior towards me and the family.

Katie A., Youth and Family Services Program Manager, United Counseling Service:

Myself and all of my staff felt that having Steve’s group and Family Time was such a wonderful addition to our programming and so beneficial for our campers!


Karen F. W., 6th grade teacher at Pownal Elem.:

Steve Breakstone visits our group of twenty-five sixth graders for an hour each week.  His lessons on Bullying Prevention are exemplary.  He focuses on and explains sensitive topics in a way that makes the students feel relaxed and unafraid to display their candor towards some very sensitive subject matter. Thanks, Mr. Breakstone, for enlightening us on a most important subject.

Katherine K, The Tutorial Center, Bennington, VT:

You do great work and I hope we are able to involve you once again in the Youth Agricultural Program this year. I consider that time to be one of the most important things we do in the program.

Dr. Gregory K. (Primary Physician):

VERY nice article about you in Friday’s Banner! Thank you so much for the work you do for PAVE and for our children! — g.king

Jeannie O., Teenage Opportunities Program Coordinator at Sunrise Family Resource Center:

Thanks, Steve.  That’s really great news (that you can provide services).  I really enjoy all that you do!  We have had a tumultuous year here in my little alternative high school program. The students have not been behaving very well toward each other and I really want to give them more information and tools surrounding what respect means. ….I really would like to get a handle on this aggressive behavior this summer. …Workplace bullying is (also) an area that I would really like you to dig into. I think they believe that because they are “adults” bullying isn’t a thing.

Katherine K., Youth Agricultural Group Leader:

Thank you for being a part of the Youth Ag Program this year. I always tell people that your part is one of the most important things we do in the program. Teaching coping skills is no small matter! Maybe we can talk sometime within the next 2 weeks to talk about next year.

Sunrise Family Services clients via Thank You note (condensed):

Thank you for teaching us about PAVE and healthy relationships!

Katie A., Program Manager at UCS:

The kids you had in your group gained so many great skills!  We greatly appreciate the time and dedication you gave to our camp!


S. Page, Teacher, Molly Stark Elem:

We would love to have you back at Molly Stark (Elem. Sch.) working with the 4th grade classes next year.  The students loved your energy and very much enjoyed role playing, listening, learning…

Donna S., Teacher, Molly Stark Elementary:

We’ll be in touch for next year. Please put my class on your TO DO list!

Susan Keese (VPR reporter):

Steve, I can see doing something about PAVE and your work with school groups and with others to curb violence at every level.

Michelle O. (Shaftsbury Afterschool Program facilitator):

I think it will be best if we kick the school year off with the bully prevention information. I’ve talked to a few parents that are concerned because their children are experiencing it, so needless to say, there’s at least some motivation within the community to make changes.

Thank you cards from all 4th graders at Molly Stark (available upon request).

Student ‘M’, 4th grade student at Molly Stark Elem:

I think you inspired us to be kind to each other and I think we’ll all be buddies, not bullies, because of you.

From Kiana P of United Counseling Services:

Thank you for all your work and dedication to this event … I love your ideas ! Again thank you for everything so far!

Jerry O., VP of Bennington Elementary:

Over the last two years, Steve Breakstone has been an integral part of our student success initiative at Bennington Elementary School. He has worked with the administration as well as with classroom teachers in addressing some of the major issues that plague our school – student aggression and disengagement, staff disillusionment due to chronic classroom management issues, and the lack of parent involvement. Steve has been a very valuable resource in assisting staff with addressing our concerns regarding students who indicate great vulnerability to expressing aggression to others and/or becoming victims.  We appreciate all the time and expertise Steve continues to provide.

Michelle O., parent of school age children:

I may try to reach out to the principal to see if he has an interest in bringing your program to the school in a different way. This is needed here in Shaftsbury! I won’t give up yet!

Kathryn K., job coach for Youth Agriculture Program for at-risk youth sponsored by the Dept. of Labor, UVM extension, Tutorial Center):

My young adult students talk to me about relationship issues: I am so happy we continue to access Steve and his workshops to address these very concerning issues.  It helps them and it helps me!

KS (former Youth Agricultural Program Student):

“You know, the stuff you taught us last summer?  That was really helpful. Thanks!”

Donna Stone (Teacher at Molly Stark Elem.):

The students that I am concerned about on Thursday were having difficulties from the recess/lunch period and just couldn’t “shake” the issues.  You wandered over to them and spoke privately at one point and boy do they need this connection.  Your message is exactly what they need.  Your lessons strengthen the brief conversations I have time for within the school day.  THANK YOU. Donna

Linda Campbell, Executive Director, PAVE (Project Against Violent Encounters):

Thanks for all the great work you are doing.  I keep hearing great things about your work from people who have been involved with you

Jeff J., Principal at Shaftsbury Elementary (referring to parent presentation regarding bullying prevention):

That was great; very informative, dynamic and greatly appreciated.  We’ll be in touch about having you come in for classes in January.

Cara M, AmeriCorps VISTA, The Collaborative:

I want to thank you again for the excellent job you did at the our High School Peer Leadership Training. The staff was really impressed with the presentation and I think the students really got something out of it. I mentioned that we would like another bullying presentation for our middle school students and that we would like for you to give it, if you are available.