Take all the bad news of the past year, roll it into a single package and what do you get? Ample cause for indigestion.
Want a tonic?
Take 15 minutes to read through the inspiring stories of Middlebury College students who were recently lauded for their volunteer work on campus and throughout Addison County. The stories can be found on Pages 6B-7B. You’ll read of members of the Middlebury College basketball team who have coached the Addison County Special Olympics basketball team — and the rewards they’ve learned along the way. You’ll read how a female student has worked with Womensafe, going through the 32-hour training program and being a Hotline volunteer in Middlebury and then carried her interest in social justice to Croatia while studying abroad there. Oh, and she teaches the Hebrew language and Jewish culture to area youngsters.
You’ll also read about volunteers reaching out to at-risk youth in rural schools, of get-out-the-vote campaigns, of a college-initiated group that addresses the needs of migrant workers and their families, of students helping the homeless through the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes, of international efforts to address climate change, and of a student from Burma whose interest is to address the human rights abuses of that government.
Watching the presentations of these awards last week, plus dozens of other students who were honored for their volunteer contributions, we were not just blown away by the magnitude of each student’s conviction to make the world around them a better place, we were also awed by their intelligence, their desire to give to others, and their eagerness to tackle the most pressing issues of the day.
Middlebury College is to be commended for inspiring the students to incorporate a culture of volunteerism during their four years on the hill, but there is no doubt that it is the students themselves who rise to the occasion and provide hope — even optimism — in the face of trying times.
What a relief that is.
Angelo S. Lynn