When Hal Porter was 42 years old, he found himself standing at the end of a long dirt driveway, pulling a small wheeled suitcase. Surrounding the driveway were a cluster of tired buildings and a few solitary trees. Beyond that were woods. A sign on one of the buildings in front of him read, “You are no longer alone.”
CCV alumna Tereka Hand is working on the front lines of the child care challenge. Studying at the College’s Rutland campus, she earned degrees in human services and early childhood education before opening her business, Rekaroo’s Childcare, in 2016.
“I didn’t work well with school, but I was smart. I would skip school and go read books,” says Richard Witting. He dropped out of high school at 17, tried a few classes at CCV, and then moved to the West Coast for more than a decade. In Portland and San Francisco, he returned to familiar work: food.
Gary Taylor served in the military and worked as a police officer after graduating from Burlington High School in 1973. He didn’t think a college degree was all that important. Taylor grew up in a blue collar family with a father who believed that if you didn’t work with your hands, it didn’t count as work.
These days, Dylan Giambatista spends most of his time under Montpelier’s golden dome— meeting with fellow lawmakers, discussing the most pressing issues in Vermont, bringing a bit of youthful energy to the working museum that is our State House.
Livija Mujkanovic immigrated to the U.S. from Bosnia at 19. She arrived in Vermont with her family, speaking no English. During her first year here, she worked two jobs—one as a housekeeper and one at Burger King. At home in Bosnia, she had been a student in law school.
Mohamed Basha is a self-described servant leader. More to the point, he’s pretty confident that most of his employees would also describe him that way. “One of the things I’m passionate about in life is service, and serving people,” he says.
In a cozy room at CCV-Middlebury, Farhad and Amtul Khan sit side by side, nervous and eager in equal measure—they’ve ducked in out of the rain to talk about why this place means so much to them.
“I think it’s a special thing about Vermont: people care about their land.” Having grown up in Richmond, Vermont, CCV environmental science major Jesse Littlefield knew this long before embarking on her Professional Field Experience (PFE) internship last fall.
CCV student Calito Amboise is from Haiti, and he brings with him a remarkable optimism. “Today I help you, tomorrow you help me,” he says. “We can make community. We have to work together. You don’t need a big revolution. Small by small can make the difference.”