Mi Vida, Mi Voz bridges the Vermont Migrant Education Program and the Middlebury Bread Loaf NextGeneration Leadership Network to provide a space for Vermont youth, specifically youth from the Vermont farming community, to connect, share their stories, and become a part of a long-lasting, international network.
Middlebury Bread Loaf NextGeneration Leadership Network
“Youth are resources to be tapped, not problems to be solved.” Dixie Goswami, co-founder of Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English’s Bread Loaf Teacher Network (BLTN), has for decades invited teachers to work collectively and collaboratively with youth in diverse settings, united by this vision. The BLTN Next Generation Leadership Network (BLTN NextGen), founded in 2017, brings Goswami’s vision to a new level. BLTN NextGen is a youth social action network linking seven sites across the nation. Launched by a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation to Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English (BLSE), BLTN NextGen mobilizes social justice teams to address issues identified by youth. Led by a Youth Advisory Board and by Bread Loaf-connected teachers, community mentors and young people from diverse, economically challenged communities and regions, BLTN NextGen work takes place in Lawrence, MA; Atlanta; rural South Carolina; Louisville, KY; Vermont; the Navajo Nation, and the Santa Fe Indian School.
Each of the BLTN NextGen sites is a place where BLTN’s teachers and their students have been leaders of wide-ranging activities, research, and advocacy, and where they have engaged as participant researchers in their own communities. BLTN NextGen youth bring to the table insightful perspectives on their worlds, knowledge, skills, talents, and an extensive repertoire of communicative and expressive practices. Together, they hone their talents as leaders, researchers, community members, and storytellers. As a cohort, they set a compelling framework for a more richly defined view of “American diversity.” Their presence and their roles change conversations about education inside and outside of BLTN, and help define what it means to be part of a greater community.
The Vermont Migrant Education Program
The Vermont Migrant Education Program provides educational support services to eligible children and youth who relocate independently or with their families in order to obtain seasonal or temporary employment in agriculture.These free services can include free books, tutoring, homework support, English as a Second Language (ESL) support, summer programs and/or referrals to local resources. A child/youth is eligible up until their 22nd birthday or until they obtain their high school diploma or its equivalent.All staff are bilingual and the program provides a bridge connecting farm workers to various educational, community and health services. Eligible farm workers or children of farm workers may receive educational resources.