We are proud of our alumni, but what really makes them standout is their ability to step forward and serve the needs of their community. During this unprecedented time, we are leaning hard on our mission:
To foster responsible and ethical civic leadership, encourage public service by private citizens, and promote informed citizen participation in shaping public policy in Vermont.
Each and every one of us as leaders is going through our own version of adaptation to this sudden new reality. We all have to react to the extreme fluidity and ambiguity of the situation and it’s not easy. We are all under a lot of stress. And, yet, we are doing it. Communities across the state are rallying and innovating on the fly with such compassion, speed and efficacy. We are proud to live in Vermont.
We have been reading so many stories on how our alumni are helping our great state during this trying time. We would like to highlight some of them and say thank you to EVERYONE who is stepping up.
Our Alumni are AWESOME!
If you are doing something, or would like to share some news or resources, we encourage you to let us know. We are looking to highlight our alumni and their organizations to show how great our state is and to help inform those looking for assistance.
Please send your stories and/or resources to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them.
Debby Rolland VLI 2020 As Executive Director of the Rhino Foods Foundation, an organization that champions employee financial stability, Debby Rolland was instrumental in publishing an article on B the Change that highlights a program that can serve as an employee’s lifeline during COVID and beyond.
Al Belluche VLI 2020 is proud to be able to serve as the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response for Burlington Housing Authority (BHA). BHA has aggressively changed and continues to adapt its operations so they can safely continue their mission of providing quality, affordable housing to over 2500 residents. Initiatives like expanding outreach to residents, providing masks, and partnering with other non-profit organizations and government agencies has given residents peace of mind that their housing is not at risk and has made our community safer.
Mark Carbone, VSLP 2002, Principal of Camels Hump Middle School, has taken over the job of morning announcements. Normally something that the students do each school day over the loud speaker. It’s a joy to start each morning with a little school “normalcy” for community families.
Tom Little, VLI 1997: I am hitting on all cylinders right now with volunteer board work for the UVM Medical Center where I am Board Vice Chair. Using (I hope!) my VLI experience and learnings to help make the hospital’s governance more effective and overall stronger. Best wishes to all VLI alumni and staff!
The South Burlington Food Shelf opened just this past November and what an important time for it to have started up. Opened by a new small non-profit led in part by VLI alum Patrick Leduc, VLI 2014, the food shelf is serving 201 distinct households and 574 people who would have otherwise struggled to have enough food for themselves and their family. Unfortunately, usage of the food shelf has continued to grow, as the pandemic’s economic impacts are felt by more and more families. The South Burlington community, in the form of businesses, students, and individuals from all walks of life continue to rally around helping their neighbors in need. As the need has grown so has the donations of food and funding. With dignity for those it serves as a guidance principal, the South Burlington Food Shelf has modified its practices to include safe social distancing, mask and glove wearing, and curb side delivery for its customers.
Nicole Whalen, VLI 2018, director of communications and public affairs at Vermont Foodbank, described how the Foodbank and other food shelves “have been really on the front lines of addressing the huge increase in the need for food assistance that is coming as a result of this crisis.”
Rachel Jolly, VLI 2015 is proud to have been a part of the creation of the Resource and Recovery Center for the City of Burlington, which was an idea on March 20 and a reality on the 23rd. Though the main goal is to help Burlingtonians, the website, which is updated daily, is filled with resources that can help folks from around the state, including Zoom weekly webinars that are relevant to all Vermonters.
Elaine Haney, VLI 2020, provides updates on the Agency of Commerce and Community Development is doing in response and how businesses can access COVID-19 financial relief.
Molly Stone, VLI 2020 introduces us to “Cat-a-moments”. A grassroots, low-budget Youtube based project; the objective of which is to stay connected with folks in the NEK and beyond. We are learning as we go, (but so isn’t everyone!) the result of which exposes our humanity along the way. The first episode features Mauro Durante from the band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino. He spoke to me directly from Italy, but his message was global.
Jody Fried and Michael Costa, both VLI 2012: Catamount Arts Executive Director Jody Fried and CEO of Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC), Michael Costa, worked together to use the Arts central building for a make shift factory during this time of health crisis. After just a few days of planning, many employees with sewing skills use the space to sew gowns and masks for hospital and other health care workers.
Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, VLI 2004 leading the way with Vermont Humanities in the midst of the global pandemic.
Chloe Leary, ECLI 2015, on the effects of the pandemic on the early childhood world and the resulting creativity to continue teaching and connecting.
Wendy Rice, VLI 2016: I have compiled an extensive resource list for employees, businesses, non-profits, and community organizers for corona response.
It includes resources for telework, remote/homeschooling, business continuity planning, government services, health/wellness, entertainment and leisure, financial relief, and much more.
Please contact Wendy Rice, Vermont Connector, email@example.com for inquires and questions.
As described by Deborah Bouton, Director of Communications & Outreach, and CEO Kim Fitzgerald, VLI 2018, Cathedral Square is incredibly busy keeping their residents and staff safe. Cathedral Square has 25 housing communities for older adults and people with disabilities, a total of 1,300 residents, and about 170 staff. Two of their facilities provide assisted living and memory care; the other 23 are independent living.
Sarah Kleinman, VLI 2015, Director, 4-H, Family and Farmworker Education Programs, shares how Vermont 4-H, through UVM Extension, is pivoting and offering all sorts of opportunities for youth of all ages in our state and really nationally, during this time of social distance.
Christine Zachai, VLI 2007: Phew, we are living in a wild time. We’re exhausted trying to stay up to date on the hourly changes in the COVID-19 crisis, feed ourselves, homeschool our children, and navigate new work-from-home routines. I’d like to share some of the bright spots I’m witnessing as I work to highlight the people and organizations working hard to help others in the midst of COVID-19.