MOVE brings changemakers to campus to talk about Hunger and Homelessness

November 17, 2023
Photos by Sophie Burt '26

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week ran from November 11 to 18 and Saint Michael’s community service organization, MOVE, held events, food drives and initiatives all week long, which included a Hunger and Homelessness Week Panel discussion on Tuesday.

Photo by Sophie Burt ’26

Yamuna Turco ’25 (Photo by Sophie Burt ’26)

Saint Michael’s student leaders Felicia Fil ’24, Yamuna Turco ’25, and Theresa Carbonneau ’26 coordinated Tuesday’s panel discussion with Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Family Friends program leaders. The panel was comprised of Paul Dragon, Executive Director of Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), Jonathan Farrell, Executive Director of COTS, Mike Ohler, Director of Resident Services and Homelessness Prevention Initiatives at Champlain Housing Trust and Mark Redmond, Executive Director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Special guest, Dr. Susan Raymond, from Edmundite Southern Missions welcomed the group and made a bridge to important, community-centered, dignity-focused, need-based work being done in Selma, Alabama. Raymond is the Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Program Integration at Edmundite Missions.

Carbonneau said she was inspired after learning about the extensive impact the panelists’ organizations have had on Burlington and how many people they have helped over the years.

“Hearing their stories makes me want to get even more involved in those topics,” Carbonneau said.

Paul Dragon (Photo by Sophie Burt ’26)

Ryan Hay and Vicky Castillo, who are both Assistant Directors of MOVE, were also in the audience. Both said that the panel was powerful, and the panelists offered valuable insight and information. Castillo noted that the panelists represented the full spectrum of organizations and important work being done in our community.

Lara Scott, Director of MOVE, said she “appreciated how much their organizations intersect and collaborate in order to meet the needs of community members who are unhoused.”

“The four panelists are incredibly passionate and impactful leaders in our community who work tirelessly on both personal and systemic levels to ensure that members of our community have access to housing and supports towards their next steps and are treated with the utmost dignity, always. I appreciated being reminded, from multiple panelists, that there is no single face of homelessness. This is such a simple phrase and, yet, incredibly powerful in its impact in deconstructing assumptions and humanizing the experience of houselessness. Additionally, it was really helpful to hear multiple panelists share that one thing that is needed to address homelessness is, simply, more housing,” Scott said.

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