Help Hartford Dismas renovate the new house!
Hartford Dismas House

HDH Board of Directors

Executive Committee
Jonathan Sylvia, 

Tracy Dustin-Eichler,
Vice President

Cabot Teachout,

Gretchen Rittenhouse,

Lori Ladd Brown

Kevin Griffin

Barbara Lazar

Tim McCarthy

Martha McLafferty

Jeffrey Nielsen

Gayle Ottmann

Ed Piper

HDH Staff

Rita Whalen McCaffrey, Founder-Dismas of Vermont

Debbie Diegoli, 
Outreach Coordinator

Shawn Donovan,
Renovation Project Manager

Dismas of VT Staff

Jan-Roberta Tarjan,
Executive Director

Jennifer Blair,
Business Manager
is the only
 home I ever
--Former Resident
Please Donate Professional Skills and Services!
Are you, or someone you know, able to make a gift of your expertise to help renovate the Hartford Dismas House? We need:
  • A licensed plumber
  • Professional painters
  • Landscapers
  • Floor refinishers
  • Site-work professionals
  • Portable lavatories
  • Dumpster services 
Contact Rita McCaffrey:

Let's make Dismas House in the Upper Valley a reality! Donate now by going to PayPal on our website, sending support via our address (below), or contacting us to talk about your gift.

Hartford Dismas House
PO Box 174
Hartford, VT 05047


Learn more about Hartford Dismas House:

See our facebook page for more photos and a link to the excellent coverage by the Valley News.



From The Executive Director,

Jan Tarjan


Dear Friends,

Recently you received a letter urging you to contribute to the important Capital Campaign for Hartford Dismas House.  If you have not donated yet, please look at our request again!

This is the crucial moment. We need your help to complete renovations for the critically needed Hartford Dismas House.  Our nine–bedroom, three-bath home for men and women transitioning from prison to new lives is within our grasp—with your generous help. Men and women who are not violent and who have already been deemed eligible and ready for release are simply waiting, month after month, for the viable housing that will allow the prison doors to open for them. Only you, a community of caring and thinking people, can make this happen.

All gifts, modest to magnificent, are important to us.  Each gift means hope that someone who wants to make amends but is without possessions, without a home, and without a clear sense of their future, will find shelter and the support to take those first steps toward a new life at the Hartford Dismas House.

To see and hear one of our residents in his own words CLICK ON THE VIDEO WINDOW BELOW.  All gifts are tax deductible.  Please—don’t hold back---give generously and be part of social change and of second chances for those who need it most.  Send your donation to P.0. Box 174, Hartford, VT 05047 or donate online at

by Gail Holmes  
The Rutland community was home to my family when Dismas House opened there in 1990.  Discovering the Dismas mission, I was struck with my strong attraction to its work. Today I know my response was due to challenges I experienced as an undiagnosed dyslexic student, trying to find my way in the world.  Mystifying educational experiences left me with scars I struggle with to this day.  I identified with prisoners, who also felt like square pegs trying to fit in.  Only they didn’t have the support I did and they lost their way.
Since then my passion for the work of Dismas House has only strengthened. I continue to be deeply moved as I witness the remarkable impact this organization has had on the lives of men and women who transition to Dismas from prison.
Years later the Upper Valley became my home and I was delighted to find a strong group in the local community shouldering tremendous challenges to bring the Dismas opportunity to the Upper Valley. 
I am freshly reminded of the depth of the misunderstandings society continues to adhere to about released prisoners and how these human beings are seen as “different” and often projected as unworthy of a 2nd chance….a chance to be valued, a reason to make healthy choices, a chance to find (perhaps for the first time) meaning and joy in life and a chance to contribute to society.  
When people feel cared for, they learn to care for themselves. One can only love oneself as much as they feel loved. One can only love others as much as they love themselves.
Please join me, in contributing generously to the Hartford Dismas House Capital Campaign.  Together, we can open the doors to Dismas House in the Hartford community, to cherish all of God’s children.

5 REASONS to support Hartford Dismas House

  1. The need! It will be the only supportive housing in the Upper Valley for men and women transitioning from incarceration.
  2. Dismas is effective for residents and safe for the community. Seventy-five percent of residents who stay three months or more transition successfully to new   lives. Andy Pallito, Vermont Commissioner of Corrections, calls it “a gold standard program.”
  3. It’s economical for taxpayers. The average cost for one year of incarceration in Vermont is $58,000. Dismas costs about $18,000 and operates at the local level with local boards.
  4. Alcohol and drug addictions, at the root of many offenses, are treated more appropriately in the community than in prison.
  5. Over-incarceration and long prison terms tear families apart, reduce employability and intensify the cycle of poverty and social costs. Second chances are better.

“Thank you for providing this important community service. 
One of my family members could have benefited from living in a healthy, drug free environment of Dismas House. 
Sadly, he died of an opiate overdose after his prison sentence was over.  Please join me in supporting this much needed program.”

Len Cadwallader on Dismas:

Before moving to the Upper Valley, Mary Ann and I raised our children in Rutland County, Vermont, so I've watched the operation of the Dismas House program in Vermont since its inception more than 20 years ago. I've visited the Rutland facility and have met staff, ex-offenders and some of the college students who reside in the homes. I can attest to the fact that Dismas maintains a sober, drug-free - no exceptions! - program where men and women who committed crimes get the chance they need to re-enter society. With its proven track record over two decades, and strong support from the Department of Corrections, Dismas House has earned its place in Vermont. Our region will be well served when  the next Dismas House opens in Hartford. I invite you to join me in making Dismas-Upper Valley a reality.
<<First Name>>, Learn more at our website 
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