Community Friends mentors are matched with children from the greater Addison County community. Mentor-mentee pairs meet for approximately two hours each week and explore campus, grab snacks in the dining hall, play games, attend organization-wide events that Community Friends hosts, like caramel apple-decorating and pool parties; and more! A really special part of Community Friends is getting to know a child closely, and learn their interests and what activities are fun for them to do. Community Friends matches have the potential to last all four years that students are at Middlebury, so there is a really unique and wonderful bond that forms when pairs are matched for a while and get to know each other well. For students, learning about the area surrounding Middlebury from a child’s perspective can be very interesting and informative. For kids, it is fun to have a big person to spend time and talk with who is a little different from family members or teachers. For both mentors and mentees, Community Friends is an opportunity to build a friendship in a new and different way while having a fun time!
DREAM is a mentoring organization that pairs college students with youth from affordable housing neighborhoods. DREAM aims to empower children to lead healthy, productive lives through weekly gatherings with fun and rewarding activities.
During my first semester on campus, I was interested in community involvement and mentoring, and was lucky enough to find DREAM (Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring). DREAM is a group mentoring organization for kids living in affordable housing developments around Middlebury, and centers around weekly programming each Friday with activities such as tie-dye, sledding, science demos, field days, and more. As a part of DREAM, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the summer camp vibe of these fun Fridays, as well as the chance to develop long term mentoring relationships with kids of a variety of ages in the Middlebury community. Getting to know these kids has become a weekly treat, and watching them mature and grow over the past year and a half has been one of the most rewarding parts of my time at school.
-Sadie Dutton ’19.
Since 1973, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics has celebrated nutrition every March, encouraging Americans to learn more about the food they put in their bodies and to develop healthy eating habits through the National Nutrition Month campaign.
“Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” is this year’s National Nutrition Month theme. “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” promotes mindful eating behaviors that strike a balance between nutrition and pleasure. After all, eating is just as much about nourishing our bodies as it is about enjoying food traditions, social interaction, and flavors.
Although it’s still winter here in Vermont, there are plenty of nutritious and flavorful local foods available through cold storage and other methods. Think: root veggies, winter squash, carrots, and cabbage. However, many residents of Addison County struggle to gain access to fresh, healthy foods. Organizations like HOPE, the Vermont Foodbank, and others work to expand access through food shelf services and initiatives such as Gleaning, VeggieVanGo, and more.
Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM), a student organization on campus engages and educates local children and families around issues of nutrition, working towards the mission of National Nutrition Month year-round.
Chelsea Colby, president of NOM, describes National Nutrition Month as “encouraging people to return to the basics of healthy eating. We are asked to recognize that there is no one right way to eat but that it is important to incorporate an array of healthy foods,” Colby says.
NOM introduces children and young adults to new fruits and vegetables they may never have tasted before and sends them home with print-out recipes.
“Even if they don’t like it the first time we know that children are more likely to try a food again if they are already familiar with it. So, every exposure counts,” Colby says.
Going further than exposure to new foods, NOM also teaches young people about different ways to consume healthy foods. Whether challenges arise to eating healthy foods due to cost impediments, lack of variety in preparation, or even picky eating habits, NOM works with young people to find ways to overcome these barriers and to connect students with helpful information and services in Addison County.
This semester NOM hopes to attend the Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Action Conference in May and continue their local programming and outreach in schools and beyond.
Interested in attending the Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Conference? Want to learn more about NOM and the chance to join the organization as a volunteer?
Visit go/nom, or email Chelsea Colby, firstname.lastname@example.org.
~Alison Haas ’16, CE Communications Intern
“Spending time out of the United States and learning foreign languages have been instrumental in shaping my worldview and my academic path at Middlebury. Participating in the Language in Motion program through the Office of Community Engagement has given me the chance to combine my love for languages and intercultural exchange with my interest in education. LiM facilitates connections between Middlebury College students who have had international experiences, through study abroad, summer programs, gap years, or by virtue of being international students, with secondary school students in Vermont. It gives Middlebury students the chance to make their abroad experiences meaningful in new ways and to reflect on how the insight they have gained through their international experiences can be valuable to the larger Middlebury community. Midd students participating in LiM go through training to plan and give presentations to high school and middle school students in the area on an aspect of their international experience. Topics range from superstitions in Russia to foods of Spain to life in Ethiopia.In addition to presentations, we just hosted the second annual study abroad fair at Middlebury Union High School to give students access to resources on high school study abroad and gap year opportunities. We are working on exciting new programming for this spring including “language days,” through which we hope to bring high school language classes to Middlebury to experience language tables and the atmosphere of Middlebury language-learning. It has been immensely rewarding for me to get to share my experiences and love for languages with students in the larger Middlebury community through presentations, and to learn more about other cultures in helping other Midd students plan their presentations.”