Working to Build Community
Our community-building programs offer students the opportunity to spend time with and be present for people in our community who may experience injustice. The hope of our Community Building programs is to recognize the innate dignity in every person and to show up through a service of presence. Spend time with senior citizens, migrant farm workers, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and make a difference in our community and in someone’s life. You can get involved with working alongside groups of people whose needs aren’t often met to the fullest extent and who often aren’t a priority to our society. Elders, people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities, those who are homeless or hungry, and New Americans who are coming to make a life here are all connected to each other, and we are to them. When one suffers, we all suffers. When one rejoices, there is reason for us all to rejoice.
The mission of Best Buddies is “to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships.” It is our hope as members of Best Buddies to recognize the innate dignity in every human being by promoting awareness and integration through our events.
Saint Michael’s College hosts the only Best Buddies program in the state of Vermont. It is a student-run chapter, through which college students are partnered with physically and/or mentally challenged adults from the community. Volunteers meet regularly as a group and participate in a variety of activities and events throughout the year. Special events include dances, art shows, trick-or-treating, and a prom.
Student Leader Contact: Mariah Newman ’19
The Civil Rights Alliance is MOVE’s newest volunteer program, centered on advocacy work and our dedication to social justice. We support student activism in our community by working with different campus clubs and local organizations to provide opportunities for students to act on their social justice interests. We strive to build and maintain an accepting and inclusive community, in which we can educate people about current social and racial justice movements. Some of our current community partners include the Peace and Justice in downtown Burlington, Vermont Interfaith Action, and Vermont Refugee Resettlement. With our partners, we have hosted workshops on topics like building empathy and addressing racism, helped organize and collect materials for new American families, and attended a rally in support of migrant farm workers in Ohio. We look forward to another great semester continuing this kind of work and encourage you to join us!
Student Leader Contact: Meg Beatty ’20
It is the mission of the Corrections Volleyball program to help in the rehabilitation of the CRCF residents through physical activity and interaction. We also strive to break stereotypes and widen the view of our volunteers.
Correctional Volleyball is a program in which volunteers have the opportunity to visit the Chittenden County Correctional Facility and play volleyball with the residents in a safe and friendly environment. This program is offered several times a week and no long-term commitments are required.
Correctional volleyball is one of MOVE’s longest running programs and is often the most popular with students. It allows for the combination of recreational activity with service and the program is greatly appreciated by the correctional facility.
Student Leader Contact: Nicole Conner ’20
It is the mission of MOVE’s Lund Family Center program to develop authentic relationships with the women and children at Lund through consistent support, communication, and active engagement.
MOVE’s Lund program takes volunteers once a week to the Lund Family Center in South Burlington, VT. The Lund Family Center is a rehabilitation facility for pregnant or parenting mothers who wish to receive treatment for addiction and mental health issues. Lund’s program is unique, as the mothers have their children in facility with them during their treatment. Through this program, our volunteers interact with women who are struggling, or have struggled, with substance abuse and mental illness. We hope to continue educating ourselves and the SMC community about homelessness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, mental health, and the power of rehabilitation, all while breaking down stigmas and bias about those suffering with these issues. Volunteers may volunteer out once, or throughout their time at Saint Michael’s. Weekly programming runs on Thursdays at 6:40 pm until 8:30 pm. On Thursday nights MOVE asks for volunteers to pile up into a van and drive over to the facility to help moms and kids have access to art projects. Volunteers help kids through art projects, work on art alongside moms and kids, hold babies or entertain toddlers and more.
There are also Lund events throughout the year, such an Adoption Celebration Picnic and a Coordinated Respite Night for a Fall Ball. Additionally, Lund is consistently in need of volunteers for respite at their facility. Respite volunteering may be set up by emailing Julie Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Leader Contact: Alijah Legault ’20
The Mission of Senior Citizen Games is to collaborate with groups of senior citizens and college students to bridge the generation gap in a relaxing and comfortable environment.
Hanging out with senior citizens is a blast at SMC. The Senior Citizen program travels to a local senior housing facility each week. Volunteers play bingo, talk about current events and spend time with local seniors. In the fall, we also host a “Senior” Prom with music, food, and dancing – we even crown a King and Queen! Volunteers can join us once or sing up every week.
Student Leader Contact:Sarah Donahue ’20
Our mission is to provide the migrant farmworker population of Vermont with opportunities for education and community as well as raise awareness about migrant right and justice on the SMC and UVM campuses.
Juntos is currently collaborating with students at UVM and their migrant justice program to offer retreats and other opportunities throughout the year to advocate for migrant justice in our community.
Student Leader Contact: Elizabeth Lopez ’20
Our mission is to advocate for social justice, particularly in the context of hunger and homelessness, by raising awareness, directly addressing needs in the community, and facilitating the growth of relationships between volunteers and the community.
C.O.O.K N’ FOOD meets regularly at Dismas House, Canal Street Veteran’s Home, and Ronald McDonald House to prepare meals for residents and families living at each location. At Dismas House and Canal Street we also have the opportunity to spend time with the residents in their homes during and after dinner. C.O.O.K N’ FOOD is a wonderful example of service of presence and our partnership with each non profit is very much appreciated. Sign up once or participate regularly.
Student Leader Contact: Rob Dittus ’19