Vermont Learning-Support Initiative (VLSI) announces that Mary Cotton, a speech and language pathologist, has joined its Board of Directors. “Mary brings a tremendously positive attitude and professional expertise from her work with students who learn differently,” said Bradford Smith, VLSI founder and director. “All of us are excited to be working with her in bringing much needed support to learners in the Northeast Kingdom and across Vermont.”
Vermont Learning-Support Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 2016, offers individualized, strength-driven, fully collaborative support to teens with learning and attention challenges who aspire to a college degree. Students who learn differently are believed to comprise at least 20 percent of the population, and often face significant obstacles if they dream of a future that includes college. VLSI partners with families, schools, and other community stakeholders to help them achieve that goal.
Cotton works at Champlain Valley Union High School with adolescents who experience a variety of challenges, but primarily those with language impairment and social cognition issues. She received a Masters of Arts in speech and language pathology from Case Western Reserve University.
“I know firsthand what it was like to be a student with a learning disability in high school,” said Cotton. “I am lucky enough to have had parents who were able to help me, and I am involved with VLSI because I want to be able to empower other students and families to strive for more than what they think they may be capable of now.”
In addition to Cotton and Smith, members of the VLSI Board include Chad Butt, Executive Director of Mobius, Vermont’s mentoring organization, and Dorothy Schnure, senior energy consultant with Green Mountain Power.