Monday, June 17, 2019

Nanci Lepsic Joins Laraway Board of Trustees

     Nanci Lepsic has worked as an educator, administrator, occupational therapist and ski instructor.  She and her husband Tom also raised four children adopted from the Vermont Department for Children, Youth and Families.  The youngest, a ski racer, just graduated from Rice Memorial High School with plans to attend St. Michael’s College.
     Nanci grew up in a Polish-American family in Buffalo, New York.  Her father didn’t have the opportunity to attend college, but he made sure his daughters did.  Nancy earned a degree in Occupational Therapy from SUNY-Buffalo in 1983.  She went on to earn her MBA while working as an administrator in the healthcare industry.  She taught college-level courses in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
     “I started my career working in a program in the Adirondacks for clients with developmental disabilities,” Nanci said.  The experience offered valuable learning experiences and chance encounters with all sorts of wildlife, including a black bear.
    Nanci loves to ski.  She began teaching in an adaptive skiing program at Kissing Bridge when she was 17.   Moving on to positions at Big Tupper and Whiteface, she then realized her dream of being a Ski Bum, teaching at a United States Army Recreation Base in Germany.  An interesting historical fact is that the military’s ski lodge was a farm during the Third Reich frequented by Adolf Hitler and his entourage. 
    Nanci retired at 40 to have more time and energy to address the special needs of her children. One of them was a client of Backpack,---Laraway’s public school based behavioral intervention program---during middle school.  She has helped these promising young people gain a strong foothold in building positive futures for themselves.  They are now 26, 21, 20 and 18 years of age and, as of this month, all have graduated from high school and are employed.
    “I was looking for what to do next when Greg (Stefanski) called,” Nanci said.
     We are so glad Nanci answered the call to join our Board!

Rhonda Lehoullier Joins Laraway's Board of Trustees

     Rhonda Lehoullier is a new member of Laraway’s Board of Trustees.  Rhonda grew up in
Lamoille County.  She’s held a variety of jobs over the years and takes pride in her skills as a seamstress.  She learned to stitch and sew from her Grandmother Jo.
     “I wanted to serve on Laraway’s Board of Trustees because, to me, it would mean serving the children.  It’s very important to me to be able to help,” said Rhonda.
     Laraway is fortunate to have so many dedicated Board volunteers who are genuinely committed to insuring we provide the best  services available to those we serve. 
     Thank you, Rhonda!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Laraway Goes to Town for Green Up Day...Literally!

By Carla Occaso

Laraway School Teacher

  Laraway School student P.B. coordinated our Green Up Day effort this year. He broke up the school into groups and gave each group a stretch of road in our hometown of Johnson. I went with G.R., E.W., S.L., and L.W. to clean up a section of Hogback Road. We scrambled down muddy hillsides and brooks to
recover six bags full of bottles, cans, cups, and miscellany. G.R. fished a flip flop out of a brook while S.L. found a downed road sign. It was raining most of the time, but we expected it and dressed for the occasion. P.B. supplied us with gloves and bags.
“We filled over 80 bags of trash. I was impressed with the participation, given the rain,” P.B. said.
Awards were given to each school group: Explorers, Most (Trash collected) Overall; Grizzlies, Teamwork; Tetons, Biggest Individual Item; and Dreamscopes, Most Unique Item.
Green Up Day brought lots of excitement to those who participated. It is a hallowed tradition to Vermonters. Vermont's first Green Up Day was held April 18, 1970, during the administration of Governor Deane C. Davis.
Laraway students like to do their part to keep Johnson CLEAN and GREEN!