Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Season of Introspection

       A flock of geese, cloaked in darkness, offered up their rhythmic chant, bodies bent southward in a gesture of longing for places warmer. They fly over Laraway, reminding us that winter is near.
       Summer is the guest that never overstays her welcome.  She announces her arrival shortly after Memorial Day, lingers for a while, and slips away like water through our fingers.  Steamy afternoons and sweltering nights are replaced by mist-chilled mornings and extra blankets at bedtime.  Autumn's darkness makes the ritual of rising for school and work just a little bit harder.
           There's a crispness in the air.  Laraway's gardens and fields are resting, taking a break from staff and kids' planting, tending and harvesting.
            And, yes, the snow will come, sometimes fast and furiously, sometimes daintily like a gentle sprinkling of salt, altering the landscape and encouraging us to look more deeply within.  And the children and youth at Laraway will ski, snowshoe and search for animal tracks on their journeys toward learning, healing and becoming whole.  Here's to a season of introspection.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Senator Bernie Sanders' Staff visit Laraway

     Phil Fiermonte and Abigail Kiablick of Senator Bernie Sanders' Office recently visited Laraway.  Greg Stefanski was delighted to take them on a tour of our facility while updating them on our work with children and families.
     A highlight was an informal gathering, modeled on the Senator's signature "Town Hall Meetings" in which Fiermonte and Kiablick met with several Laraway School students and staff to learn about the issues that matter to them.  Providing adequate support for military families and easing the path to college for students of limited financial means were among the issues discussed.
     Fiermonte reported on an essay contest the Senator's office is sponsoring and invited Laraway students to consider participating. The Senator is asking Vermont high school students to tell him what they think about the state of the country and its future.  Essays are to be 250 to 500 words about students' views of the state of the Union, as the President prepares to address Congress and the nation in January.  Finalist essays will be entered in the Congressional Record. The winner will get a visit from Senator Sanders at his or her school where Sanders will conduct a Town Hall Meeting.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kyle Bennett stars in Lyric Theatre's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

     Sometimes you just have to take a chance.  Kyle Bennett was new to Vermont.  He was even newer to Laraway---his first day, actually----when he learned about Lyric Theatre's auditions for its fall musical. 
     Equipped with a newly-minted degree in musical theater from Millikin University, this native Iowan found his way to Vermont's Green Mountains.  He was soon hired as a Behavior Interventionist in Laraway's Backpack Program, a role in which he provides one-on-one support to youth in public schools.  Kyle is soon to demonstrate to local theater-goers that he's equally adept at playing a lead role on stage, under bright lights and accompanied by a live orchestra.
     "I am excited to do Joseph because it was the first show I was involved in as a child," Kyle said.  "I was in the children's choir and it's amazing to revisit the show and experience it from a whole new perspective.  It's a treat to have been cast as Joseph when I was so new to Vermont and Lyric Theater.  I'm thankful for the opportunity."
     Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat  will be performed at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts on November 14-17.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the Flynn Box Office at (802) 863-5966 or visiting www.flynntix.org.  Photo:  Steve Mease

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Raising the Roof on Laraway's Outdoor Pizza Oven

     Volunteers from Johnson State College arrived at Laraway on Saturday, November 2nd ready to work.  Under the careful guidance of Cornelius Murphy, Laraway's Farm Steward, and Marcella Houghton, Laraway's AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, the roof was raised on our outdoor pizza oven built by staff, kids and volunteers from Ben & Jerry's.  The oven project was spearheaded by Sue Lenel, a Laraway School staffer.
     Hammers are swinging in earnest.  Each additional nail, each additional batch of volunteers moves us closer to completing our project.  Soon enough, we'll be baking our own breads and pizzas, teaching kids about following recipes, prepping food and creating a product they can be really proud of.  Thank you to our volunteers!