Friends of John Graham Shelter Senior Reflection by Maya Peers Nitzberg

My work with JGS over the last two and a half years has been integral to my Middlebury experience. I have savored the weekly trips off-campus and the relationships I have built with people who aren’t 18-22, and whose lives and worldviews and goals don’t necessarily look the same as mine. Furthermore, thanks to my internship at JGS during the summer of 2014, I have some knowledge of the Housing Services network in Addison County and where Middlebury (town and College) fits in. Without a connection to the greater community, my four years in Vermont would have been far less meaningful.

Over the last four years, I have grown my branch of FOJGS from myself and an occasional friend, to an enthusiastic group of volunteers. Directing a group of volunteers and building an official school organization has surely been a learning and growing experience. My summer at JGS was devoted to the residents; as a JGS staff member, my mind was always towards was always concerned with how best to support residents, as the entered, stayed for months or even years, and moved on and out. As a student volunteer and volunteer coordinator, I had to attend to the needs of the students and to the concerns of the College, as well as of the shelter and its residents. Directing and expanding FOJGS has given me an expanded view of the possibilities and challenges engendered by social service work.

-Maya Peers Nitzberg ‘16.5