Monday, December 11, 2017
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Monday, November 27, 2017
#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement fostered by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season.
#Giving Tuesday inspires us to take collective action to improve our communities. It's about giving back in better, smarter ways to initiatives and causes we believe in. It's a collective acknowledgement that we're all in this together.
#GivingTuesday harnesses the power of us, to build a better world. To support Laraway Youth & Family Services' work with children, youth and families, please visit us at www.Laraway.org and click the Donate button to make a secure gift. If you wish to come for lunch and/or arrange a tour of our campus, please contact Katherine Stamper at (802) 635-2805 x 106 or Kstamper@Laraway.org. Thank you!
Monday, November 20, 2017
There is so much derived from music--there is kinetic narrative in a child who is amidst dysregulation--the body seeks to achieve catharsis via manifestation of anxiety, displaced anger, false bravado--telegraphed in the seemingly mindless exchange of objects among a table, "the search for the elusive nothing" is the lyrical enactment of a body in crisis.
Allow me to recount the afternoon I sat in on a flock of children and staff orchestrating the story of that moment; then, cohesive, healing:
Today there was a keyboard alight with electric funk--skillful notes ricocheted off the surrounding skulls and inhabited the snare drum in vibratory triumph-they were long, brassy hums reminiscent of a computerized Tibetan Monk--each key jangled loose the opening seconds, that gloriously haunting synth intro: classic eighties noise capable of waking you at 3 a.m. so as to remind you it’s still there, doing figure eights on your hippocampus----there it was--the most natural kind of glibness--where I might sing, broken keyed, "it's the final countdown, (dun-na-na-na, dun-na-na-na-na (poorly transcribed phonetic rendition of proceeding beats) and incite a modicum of laughter.
The children arrived, hot blooded, placated by nothing but the symphony of their outpourings upon that piano. I watched them, first buzzing and electric, thunderous, wailing--transform into bodies with purpose, the joyous agony and emotive power of their pain echoed, shook free to the somber, sorrowful, then resilient cry of music, as harmonious and wondrous as ever I'd heard.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
George Swanson, Laraway's Land Steward, has been busy planting, tending and harvesting produce from our large and bountiful garden. Food items were carefully planned with our cafeteria staff to insure high nutritional impact and value. Laraway youth are also involved in the planning and planting although they seem to like harvesting the best!
Why does this matter? It matters because over 90% of the children and youth Laraway serves qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch per federal guidelines. Providing nutritional breakfasts and lunches during both the academic year and summer programming insure kids' are well-fueled for classroom learning and educational adventures alike.
Laraway is delighted to partner with the Lamoille Chamber of Commerce to host a "Celebrate the Harvest" Mixer on Thursday, October 10th from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Visitors will sample foods showcasing items grown on site, view a harvest-themed photo exhibit, participate in an optional scavenger hunt, and mingle with area business leaders.
For more information and/or to RSVP, please contact Katherine Stamper at (802) 635-2805, x 106 Kstamper@Laraway.org
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!
Monday, April 3, 2017
Laraway, in partnership with Lamoille Restorative Center, Lamoille Family Center, Lamoille County Mental Health Services, Johnson State College, Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union, Community College of Vermont and Healthy Lamoille Valley is sponsoring screenings of the new documentary Resilience.
The film, a follow-up to Paper Tigers, which was presented last year at public screenings in the area, looks at the research surrounding ACEs or Adverse Childhood Experiences. We are learning that negative childhood experiences can adversely impact not only emotional health and behavior, but also physical health.
The following screenings are free and open to the public: March 21, 6:00 p.m at Hazen Union High School; March 29, 6:00 p.m. at Johnson State College; and April 3 at 6:00 p.m. at Green Mountain Technical and Career Center. A panel discuss will follow.
For more information on the film, please visit http://kpjrfilms.co/resilience/.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
As Greg points out in his writing, "Community is dynamic...it can grow, it can be harmed. We have to take care of it, especially in a world of competing influences, some of which might actually harm community."
So much of our work at Laraway is about helping the children, youth and families we serve find and sustain Community. If this topic catches your fancy, we hope you'll give a listen!