Driving along Route 15 in Johnson, you might notice activity afoot at Laraway Youth & Family Services. Gardens are tended with the promise of fresh vegetables for the cafeteria. Fruit-bearing trees, planted last year, stretch and grow, aiming towards a maturity that will yield apples, plums and nuts. A line of solar trackers gently follows the direction of the sun---like synchronized dancers---harnessing the sun's energy.
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!