Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Happenings at Laraway

     Laraway is dressed and ready for the most spooktacular of holidays....Halloween!  Pumpkins, painted and decorated by staff in all manner of silly and ghoulish states, are scattered throughout our agency.  These spooky creations can be found perched on a windowsill or nudged near a copy machine, adding a festive touch for kids.  Thank you to Tony and Joie Lehouillier of Foote Brook Organic Farm for donating 150 pumpkins.
     Meanwhile, in Laraway's kitchen, Lisa Rock is cooking up a tantalizing and tasty special breakfast and lunch for Halloween.  Breakfast will feature "Witch's Brain & Mummy's Fingers" (Scrambled Eggs & Sausage).  Lunch will include "Zombie Eyeballs with Intestines"  (Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles).
     Laraway kids across program areas are enjoying numerous Halloween activities.  Games, cookie decorating and pumpkin painting were featured at a party hosted for youth.  Students at Laraway School, dressed in costumes, will engage in arts and crafts activities on Halloween afternoon, topped off by Trick or Treating in Laraway's administrative wing.
     We expect this to be a haunting good time!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Laraway School Director Appointed to State Panel

            Julie Landry, Director of Laraway School at Laraway Youth & Family Services, was appointed to serve on the Council of Independent Schools.  The Council, established in 1990, advises the Vermont Secretary of Education on policies and procedures for independent schools.  The Council’s eleven members include representatives from approved and recognized independent schools, as well as two members of the general public.
          “I’m delighted to serve on the Council as a representative for approved independent schools,” Landry says.  “Vermont’s independent schools provide critical education and treatment to meet the needs of at-risk youth in our community.”
          Laraway responds to the needs of at-risk kids and their families by offering innovative, strength-based services through alternative education, therapeutic foster care, and public school based support programs.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's Cidering Time

     Laraway eclipsed the 100 gallon mark.  We've produced 216 half gallons of fresh, sweet, unpasteurized cider...so far.  Our cider press, carefully tended by Laraway Behavior Coordinator Cal Stanton, is put into service at our farm location.  The project is an annual ritual at Laraway School.
     "All the apples were collected within five miles of Laraway," Stanton said.  "Local residents graciously allowed us to gather apples from their properties."
      Kids learn to glean, clean and press the apples.  They also participate in delivering jugs of the homemade cider to community neighbors who donated the apples. 
     The cidering process offers a full experience---start to finish---in a relatively short period of time.  Kids loving making, tasting and sharing their "product."
     Pressing apples into cider is so much more than getting kids outside on a beautiful fall day.  Cidering allows the children and youth we serve to get in touch with a rural Vermont tradition that harkens back to a simpler time.       

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Backpack...helping hands, healing hearts

     I ran across an interesting metaphor yesterday during an activity in the classroom.  Mrs. C. gave everyone a paper heart and told the class that they represented their hearts.  She took her own paper heart and crumpled a piece of it as she gave a pretend example of someone being disrespectful to her.  She crumpled another piece as she gave another example of someone making a rude comment.  She explained that this can be how your heart feels when someone does something to you that is not nice.  She then flattened it out and gave examples of apologies that can fluff a heart back up.  She then noted the crinkles that were still there.
     M followed along with the activity and then tore a piece of his heart.  A minute later I looked over and the tear became a missing piece of his heart.  I thought I'd metaphorically offer him a piece of tape and wondered how much help he may need using the piece of tape that I had offered.  I showed him the piece of tape.  He kind of looked at it, so I told him he could fix his heart with it.  What happened next was more metaphorical.  an I had thought this simple act could have been.  M said, "I don't know where the piece to my heart went." I helped him look for the missing piece to his heart.  It was nowhere to be found in that moment.  We haven't found it yet, but I'm sure M will be able to repair it in time.
Contributor:  Alan McGrath, Behavioral Interventionist, Laraway Backpack Program


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Potato Picking Time

      How do YOU like your potatoes?  Baked...Boiled...French Fried...Oven Roasted...Mashed?  The possibilities are many for this versatile vegetable.  Laraway kids and staff harvested twenty-five pounds of potatoes grown in our kitchen garden.
      "Our kids get so excited when they hear that an item served in our cafeteria is from our garden," says Lisa Rock, Laraway's Food Coordinator.  "It's great for us to be able to use produce grown here in the breakfasts and lunches we make for kids."
      Getting kids excited about growing, tending and harvesting vegetables is one piece of the important work we do to help children and youth develop a strong, centering sense of place.
       And what will Lisa do with those potatoes?  They are scheduled to make an appearance very soon at breakfast as yummy hash browns!