Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Striving to Succeed

     Nate is a senior at a Vermont public high school, working a couple of jobs and applying to college.  He’s also a volunteer firefighter.  He likes history and his senior capstone project at school is about the history of the fire service.  Nate plans to study criminal justice with a minor in construction and/or business management.  He hopes to enroll in college as a Cadet seeking a commission to the United States Marine Corps.
     Nate has worked very hard to reach this place in life.  As he approaches high school graduation and the next chapter of his life, he graciously shared a little of his back story.
      “I was born in Zanesville, Ohio in 1998.  My mom was a Class A CDL driver for Coca Cola,” Nate said.  “I was constantly with her.  She was a cross-country driver.”
     Nate’s father was not in the picture.  He and his mom lived in Florida and then, when he was three, moved to his mother’s home state of Vermont.  There were difficulties.  Nate was placed in state custody at age six.  Thus began his odyssey of twenty-eight foster homes in addition to  residential programs and alternative schools.
     “I needed to learn to control my anger,” Nate said.  “It took a lot of time and effort.  I’ve learned to do something physical---go play basketball, do push-ups or work out---to take care of myself.  Sometimes I just need a little time by myself to listen to music.”
      Even with the ups and downs, Nate’s wonderfully friendly personality allowed him---as a student and youth in foster and micro residential care at Laraway---to build positive relationships with so many members of the staff.  He has assumed the microphone at Laraway community events and organized football clinics with Laraway’s younger kids and Greg Stefanski, our Executive Director.
     Nate is carrying a full course load in high school and has been residing with his present foster family for one and one-half years.  He works at McDonald's and is a parking lot attendant at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.
     “I’m either at school, Job #1, Job #2 or the fire department,” Nate said matter-of-factly.
      His road hasn’t been easy, but he’s determined to build on the successes that will allow him to graduate with a high school diploma in June.  His goals are clear:  To graduate from college, become a Marine, continue to serve as a firefighter and, finally, become a police office or open his own landscaping business.
      “Laraway is a supportive program,” Nate said.  “If the kids and families follow the program, it can really work in their favor.”

Save the Date: Winter Open House at Laraway

     Robert Frost wrote, "You can't get too much winter in the winter."  We, at Laraway, tend to agree.   Our staff gets kids outside enjoying the best of what a Vermont winter has to offer.  From skiing, to ice fishing, to snowboarding, to winter camping, Laraway encourages healthy physical activity.
     In the spirit of Vermont's coldest season, Laraway is hosting a Winter Open House at our Farmhouse at 275 VT Route 15W in Johnson on Thursday, February 23rd from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Tour our recently renovated farmhouse.  Learn about expanded Clinical and Substitute Care services. Explore Foster Parenting and other opportunities at Laraway.  Light refreshments will be served.  For a complete listing of job and foster parenting opportunities, please visit
     For more information or to RSVP, please contact Katherine Stamper at 802-635-2805 x 106 or  We hope you can join us!