When I made the transition from Administrative Assistant to Research and Alumni Coordinator last fall, I was curious what it would be like to spend more time connecting with True North families after graduation. One of the aspects of my work at True North over the past five years that has been the most rewarding is being able to offer support to parents and family members during the intake process and throughout their stay. Celebrating graduation was always the icing on the cake. But as the months passed, I would often wonder about each family and wished I had more opportunities to reach out and hear about the ups and downs they might be experiencing after the wilderness.
Over the last year, it has really been a joy to be in a position to reconnect alumni with True North and brainstorm new ways to strengthen the bonds that are inherently made among the students and staff. Regional events and adventure trips are a wonderful way to do just that, and a great time was had by all in Boston at our recent Alumni Gathering.
Families and True North staff got together for a time of connection and celebration at the Flatbread Brighton Restaurant. The vintage candlepin bowling and delicious flatbread buffet were a highlight and it was rewarding and inspiring to see and hear about how our alumni students have been doing since their graduations from True North, as far back as 2014. Students reminisced and shared their favorite anecdotes while parents proudly talked about the progress their families have made. My favorite part about the luncheon was a surprise visit from one of the first families I had met at the beginning of my time at True North, and they came all the way from New Jersey to Boston!
True North is passionate about giving back to our local community here in central Vermont and service is an important aspect of both our adolescent and young adult program. It is important to us to extend that service to the local communities where our alumni families live. So naturally, our gathering in Boston included a service project! We spent several hours volunteering at the Giving Factory in Brighton, sorting donations for kids in the greater Boston area. What an amazing place!
We learned that 268,185 children under the age of 12 in Massachusetts live in low-income or homeless situations. The friendly knowledgable staff at Cradles to Crayons helped us impact hundreds of families in a matter of just two hours. For more information or to support Cradles to Crayons in Boston, Chicago, or Philadelphia check out their website:
Thank you to all our staff who traveled to Boston and to the families who made the trip to join us. You are an awesome reminder of how important our work in the wilderness is. It is an honor to be part of your stories and we are already looking forward to the next gathering. Please contact me, Alison McHugh at [email protected] if you would like to know more about opportunities for alumni connection at True North. We hope to see you in a city near you very soon!