Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Just as we tend to our landscape, Laraway staff tend even more significant gardens, the gardens of our youth. Founded in 1972, Laraway addresses the needs of at-risk youth who experience social, behavioral, mental health and learning challenges. Laraway provides these services in a community setting.
Passersby will see children and youth from our school, foster care and public-school-based programs playing basketball, engaging in outdoor art projects, and tending flowers and vegetables in this fertile parch of Vermont soil. A walking trail leads to the Lamoille River, a great spot to dip down fishing rods on a warm, sunny morning.
Laraway staff and youth will settle in for our summer program, which includes components of service, learning and creative activities to enhance self-confidence. Let the summer fun---and learning---begin!
Thursday, June 15, 2017
SCHOLARSHIP: A sum of money or other aid granted to a student because of merit, need, etc.
Three Laraway youth are graduating from high school and continuing their studies. One will attend college in Vermont. One will attend college in New York City. One will attend a technical training program at a college in New Hampshire. Each has received a $500 scholarship to aid with college expenses.
Scholarships are like "Pennies from Heaven" for students trying to figure out how to pay for college. The rising cost of education can impede a young person's view of whether or not continuing their educations is even a possibility. Youth at Laraway, many of whom lack traditional family supports, may be the first in their family to pursue a degree...a great opportunity and a great challenge! Stick-with-it-ness counts for much on this journey.
It was just over a year ago that Fr. Rick Swanson and Tim Heath-Swanson approached Laraway about creating a scholarship fund by hiking the Long Trail and asking friends, family and community members to make financial gifts. Through their efforts---and l-o-n-g walk on the trail---they met and exceeded their $10,000 goal, creating the Trailblazer Scholarship for Laraway Youth pursuing education in the trades and/or IT fields.
The Trailblazers inspired an effort to create another scholarship for Laraway youths attending college. Jake Swanson, award-winning owner of Art of the Carve, donated one of his wood carvings which was raffled off, raising $1,000.
These funds were not easy to raise. Board members, staff members and many community friends chipped in. Members of St. John's in the Mountains Episcopal Church and the 2nd Congregational Church of Hyde Park also stepped up to support the scholarships. Laraway's directors, teachers and administrative support staff bought tickets and made outright donations to help us realize our fundraising goals.
And now, we have three students leaving Laraway to pursue their educations, with scholarships and warm wishes for their continued studies.
Thank you to EVERYONE who supported the creation of these scholarships!
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Monday, May 8, 2017
Monday, April 17, 2017
During lunch, a member of the House of Representatives from Dover approached the youths' table in the State House cafeteria and started chatting. All youth shared their transition goals---an important bridge to adulthood---but especially important for youth who've been in state's custody. Two were fairly engaged throughout conversations, articulately noting changes they'd like to see to ease their transitions. One youth suggested that Guardian ad litems (GALs) should be Educational Surrogates when possible, not placing this expectation on foster parents. Another youth suggested better regulations for quality foster homes. The third youth did not share their view publicly, but shared with the Laraway group their feeling that law enforcement needs to be trauma informed. The representative from Dover encouraged our youth to reach out to their local representatives.
There was a photo op with Senator Bobby Starr of Orleans County and friendly introductions and exchanges with Lt. Governor David Zuckerman.Youth received a tour of the State House and witnessed House passage of a resolution naming the day, April 13, 2017, as Youth Development Program (YDP) and Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs (VCRHYP) Youth Awareness Day.
It was a long---11 hours---and exciting day. Laraway youth participants expressed satisfaction that they attended and would encourage other youth to participate in the future. Spending time talking with legislators and meeting Lt. Governor Zuckerman were highlights.The representative from Dover was phenomenal---super genuine and engaging. Another great day with our youth!