“I really like this place. I was always an indoors guy, but this place really changed my perspective. Look at the view out here, the mountains.” Photo courtesy VYCC.
Vermont Business Magazine Sean, a recent Winooski High School graduate, gestured beyond farm fields to the Winooski River and Green Mountains visible from Vermont Youth Conservation Corps’ farm in Richmond. His work at VYCC last summer was supported in part by grant funds from three local companies: National Life Group Foundation (Montpelier), International Paper Foundation (Ticonderoga, NY), and Hunger Mountain Co-op (Montpelier). All three have awarded funds to VYCC for at least five consecutive years.
Sean was among 60 young adults who grew and harvested food for more than 400 Vermont families last season. Families received fresh vegetables, fruits and nutrition education from July to September. The project, called the Health Care Share, is delivered in partnership with medical centers who identify patients that would benefit from more fresh produce in their diets due to food insecurity or diet-related diseases.
The project is a platform to teach young Vermonters essential job skills, and connect them with their community. A VYCC experience sets Members on a path to meaningful careers and ongoing community service. It is also a paying job in itself, allowing youth of all backgrounds to participate.
The National Life Group Foundation has awarded grants to VYCC for nine consecutive years; Hunger Mountain Co-op for six consecutive years; and International Paper Foundation for five consecutive years.
Susie Walsh Daloz, the Food & Farm Program Director at VYCC, explained the importance of ongoing community support: “This program creates countless connections across our community. Young people learn, grow, and give back. Families struggling with food insecurity and diet-related health issues enjoy increased access to locally grown produce and poultry. Health care providers support their patients with a simple and effective approach to health and wellness. Many alumni of the program pursue careers in food justice, public health, and sustainable agriculture. And none of this happens without the generous support of businesses, foundations, and individuals who recognize the value of what we are building.”
“It’s the people that bring me back,” Sean said. He has completed three seasons with VYCC’s Food & Farm Program. “I have made so many friends here; this place has changed my life, for real. It really changed me for the better. I have learned how to grow vegetables. When I first came here, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I could do it now. I could have a garden at home.”
Applications for 2020 positions at VYCC are now open. Youth ages 15 to 26 can apply for a variety of experiences. Information and applications are at VYCC.org/Apply.
More about VYCC
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth development organization with a mission to teach young people personal responsibility through meaningful work that connects us to the land, community, and one another. For more than 35 years, VYCC has held the belief that when provided the right tools, young people can change the world. VYCC pays young people, ages 15-26, to work and learn side by side with conservation and farming experts to tackle climate change, food insecurity, and preserve public lands. VYCC.org
More about National Life Group
National Life is here to bring you peace of mind. They’ve been keeping our promises since 1848. Believe in tomorrow, do good today. Learn more at NationalLife.com
More about Hunger Mountain Co-op
Hunger Mountain Co-op is a member-owned, community-based natural food cooperative committed to building a dynamic community of healthy individuals, sustainable local food systems, and thriving cooperative commerce. Located in Montpelier, Vermont, the Co-op has been locally owned since 1972.
More about the International Paper Foundation
The International Paper Foundation is one of the ways International Paper strives to reach its vision to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. Started in 1952, the foundation annually provides millions in grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to address critical needs in the communities where its employees live and work. Funding priority is given to programs related to its signature causes: education, hunger, health & wellness, disaster relief, and initiatives that improve the planet.
Source: RICHMOND, VT, Monday, January 27, 2020 - VYCC For more information, visit www.ipgiving.com