An interview with Doug on the Charter House

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

dougsinclairphoto

Below is an interview with our community partner, Doug Sinclair, President and Housing Programs Director of the Charter House in Middlebury.

What was your role in developing the Charter House? 

I was a member of the founding group which included representatives from local churches, United Way, and the Community Engagement Office at the College.  The Charter House emergency shelter and the Community Lunch program at Charter House came about because of the economic downturn that began in 2008 and caused many more individuals and families in Vermont to be precariously housed and food insecure.  The members of the founding group engaged the community in volunteering to staff the housing and food programs and in providing financial support for operating the programs.  Among the most important challenges was figuring out how to operate and manage emergency housing and food programs entirely with volunteers and then develop appropriate training to prepare volunteers for the work.  Volunteers also needed to gathering donated furnishings and linens from across Addison County and set up living quarters for all the future guests.  There was a lot to coordinate.  The learning curve the first year was steep.  I was fortunate to have been part of that fun and excitement.  Many students, including three who worked at the shelter for their winter term course, played an important role in launching these programs. 

What keeps you coming back?

Seeing day after day how many lives are uplifted by the work of Charter House Coalition is stimulating and motivating to all who are touched by it.  The organization has grown from a first Community Supper prepared and served by maybe 10 individuals to organization with over 950 volunteers and 7 different housing and food programs.  None of the founders had any idea this would happen.  Charter House Coalition is now an important resource for many in our community because the idea of neighbor helping neighbor in the rural setting of Addison County appeals to our human nature.  

What do you see as the greatest strength of this community? 

There is no question in my mind the greatest strength of the community is the willingness of those who live in this area to support the well-being of each other in time of need. 

What do you envision for the Charter House in the future?

One of the most important learnings for me over the past 10 years is not to underestimate what a community can accomplish when volunteers unite together with a common goal. People helping people is contagious.  Each new person brings new ideas and new energy to the organization.  As new groups of volunteers identify new needs in the community, they will continue to find ways to help the community meet those needs.      

What role have Middlebury students had with the Charter House? 

Over 25% of the organization’s volunteers are students.  Five or six students help lead our programs each year through volunteer work, paid internships, and unpaid internships.  There is no doubt the organization could not be where it is, or be doing all it does, without the talents and effort of the hundreds of students who have supported our programs.

​Anything else you would like to add about your experience with the Charter House, or Middlebury College student involvement? 

Working with Charter House Coalition has been an exciting ride with many enriching experiences.  I have many wonderful memories of the students who have been so important to the organization over the years.  The opportunity to learn and teach while working with them has been a blessing for me and for Charter House Coalition.  I hope many others will have similar experiences in the years to come.  The work of Charter House Coalition changes lives.  Sometimes it’s the lives of the volunteers. I count myself as one of them.

For more information on the Charter House Coalition, click here

An interview with Doug on the Charter House

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

dougsinclairphoto

Below is an interview with our community partner, Doug Sinclair, President and Housing Programs Director of the Charter House in Middlebury.

What was your role in developing the Charter House? 

I was a member of the founding group which included representatives from local churches, United Way, and the Community Engagement Office at the College.  The Charter House emergency shelter and the Community Lunch program at Charter House came about because of the economic downturn that began in 2008 and caused many more individuals and families in Vermont to be precariously housed and food insecure.  The members of the founding group engaged the community in volunteering to staff the housing and food programs and in providing financial support for operating the programs.  Among the most important challenges was figuring out how to operate and manage emergency housing and food programs entirely with volunteers and then develop appropriate training to prepare volunteers for the work.  Volunteers also needed to gathering donated furnishings and linens from across Addison County and set up living quarters for all the future guests.  There was a lot to coordinate.  The learning curve the first year was steep.  I was fortunate to have been part of that fun and excitement.  Many students, including three who worked at the shelter for their winter term course, played an important role in launching these programs. 

What keeps you coming back?

Seeing day after day how many lives are uplifted by the work of Charter House Coalition is stimulating and motivating to all who are touched by it.  The organization has grown from a first Community Supper prepared and served by maybe 10 individuals to organization with over 950 volunteers and 7 different housing and food programs.  None of the founders had any idea this would happen.  Charter House Coalition is now an important resource for many in our community because the idea of neighbor helping neighbor in the rural setting of Addison County appeals to our human nature.  

What do you see as the greatest strength of this community? 

There is no question in my mind the greatest strength of the community is the willingness of those who live in this area to support the well-being of each other in time of need. 

What do you envision for the Charter House in the future?

One of the most important learnings for me over the past 10 years is not to underestimate what a community can accomplish when volunteers unite together with a common goal. People helping people is contagious.  Each new person brings new ideas and new energy to the organization.  As new groups of volunteers identify new needs in the community, they will continue to find ways to help the community meet those needs.      

What role have Middlebury students had with the Charter House? 

Over 25% of the organization’s volunteers are students.  Five or six students help lead our programs each year through volunteer work, paid internships, and unpaid internships.  There is no doubt the organization could not be where it is, or be doing all it does, without the talents and effort of the hundreds of students who have supported our programs.

​Anything else you would like to add about your experience with the Charter House, or Middlebury College student involvement? 

Working with Charter House Coalition has been an exciting ride with many enriching experiences.  I have many wonderful memories of the students who have been so important to the organization over the years.  The opportunity to learn and teach while working with them has been a blessing for me and for Charter House Coalition.  I hope many others will have similar experiences in the years to come.  The work of Charter House Coalition changes lives.  Sometimes it’s the lives of the volunteers. I count myself as one of them.

For more information on the Charter House Coalition, click here

James Calvin Davis awarded Louisville Institute Project Grant

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

James Calvin Davis (Religion) has been awarded a Project Grant from The Louisville Institute to finish a book-length project called Forbearance: A Theology of Faithful Disagreement.  The book marshals resources from the Christian intellectual tradition to argue for the embrace of theological disagreement as an ethical good and an expression of virtue.

Apply for 2015-2016 Americorps VISTA position! (5/3)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Americorps vista blog photo
The Community Engagement office is looking for a full-time 2015-2016 SerVermont Americorps*VISTA member to join our team!
The Program:
The SerVermont AmeriCorps*VISTA Program is a statewide national service program in its third year. VISTA Members are placed at community-based organizations and state and municipal agencies whose mission and VISTA assignments cover focus areas including Veterans, Economic Development, Healthy Futures, and Education. Each VISTA makes a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a host site and  receive a modest living allowance that is linked to the poverty level in their community, as well as professional development training throughout the year.
The Position
We seek a VISTA member for a one-year position from August 2015 – August 2016 to work with the Community Engagement team to weave together co-curricular poverty-related programs in a more cohesive and intentional manner, while also deepening our collaboration with participating community partners. We aim to (a.) engage more Middlebury College students & faculty, (b.) focus on building a more solid infrastructure that will strategically increase our capacity to help meet local needs, deepen the impact of our efforts, identify opportunities for growth and development, and establish a sustainable program, (c.) to provide support, as needed, to participating P&P faculty members.
The Poverty Initiatives Coordinator will organize events and activities that will mobilize others in service to low-income families and individuals and work with organizations on projects aimed to help alleviate poverty (e.g., through mentoring initiatives, ELL and translation services, financial literacy efforts, and more).
The Benefits:
-A modest living allowance: $973 per month
– $300/month rent assistance
– 10 days of personal leave, 10 days of medical leave
– Childcare subsidies are available for members who qualify.
– Relocation allowance: Up to $550 stipend if member relocates 50 miles or more to serve in addition to up to $1,000 in mileage reimbursement from your home of record.
– After successfully completing your service year you can choose to receive either: An education award: $5,730 that can be applied to student loans or future education. This amount is taxed and must be used in 7 years OR a stipend: $1,500 cash, which accrues at $125 per month and is taxed.
– For one year after service, members receive non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs meaning they can apply for without competing against the general public (as long as they meet basic requirements for the job).
Qualifications:
-Must be a United States citizen, United States National or Legal Permanent Resident of the United States.
– Must pass a criminal background check by CNCS. CNCS investigates for past sexual offenses and violent crimes. Minor offenses, unless directly relevant to service, will not bar someone from service.
– Must have a bachelor’s degree or three years of related volunteer/job experience
Qualified and interested? See the full job posting and apply on MOJO. Cover Letter and Resume due on MOJO on May 3, 2015
Questions? Contact Ashley Laux, alaux@middlebury.edu
 

iPoll Databank (trial ends April 13th)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Middlebury has two-week trial access to the iPoll Databank from the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut, one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from public opinion surveys.

Check it out and let us know what you think – email eaccess-admin@middlebury.edu or your liaison.

Info session on new Americorps position (4/21)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
news&events2
What: Join us in an information session on the new SerVermont AmeriCrops VISTA position in the Community Engagement office. Learn more about this position here.
When: Tuesday, April 21st 4:30 PM
Where: Conference Room 118 South Main Street

Chantilly in the Spring

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

A handful of student of students recently joined historian, Xavier Le Person, for a guided tour of the Chantilly château. One of the most picturesque castles in the Paris area, the impressive Chantilly château dates back to the 16th century and its estate includes a beautiful, large park with gardens designed by Andre Le Nôtre. The discovery of the rich history of the domaine and of another of Chantilly’s claim to fame, its whipped cream, (http://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/chantilly-cream/) made up for the rather cloudy skies and cool temperatures!

LESTOILE_1592-1594 084Chantilly1 Chantilly2