The Addison County Parent/Child Center has done incredible work in our community for 40 years. To celebrate the anniversary, they are holding an online auction (through December 13) — and looking back at the families they got to know over the years.
This piece about a former PCC participant was contributed by Kathryn Torres.
It was Stacey’s big bright smile that first attracted me. I was looking through archives at the Parent Child Center, searching for inspiration to celebrate our 40th year. “Where are all these young people now?” This led to some investigative work.
I caught up with Stacey via telephone recently, and her joy and pride when discussing her children was immediately apparent. Her voice sparkled on the phone. “Chelsea is now 29 and living in New Hampshire, and is Mom to Buckley, and Talon is 23, and living in Burlington, finding his way, working towards his future. He graduated from UVM with a degree in Anthropology and Geology…”
Stacey was a participant at the ACPCC in 1990 with her first child, Chelsea, and later with her son Talon between 1995 and 1998. Her memories flowed as we chatted, remembering all she learnt from Becky Bertrand, Sue Bloomer, Jane Jackson, and Michael Ogden, ACPCC team members, some who are still part of the team today!
As we continue to chat, Stacey reflected on her naivety and lack of life experience at 19, and how much she values the care and practical support she was provided at the center. Stacey was very clear to point out all the very practical and useful ways she was supported, including being taught to drive by Michael, and being shown how to care and support her babies’ learning and emotional wellbeing throughout her time. Stacey emphasized the significance of being taught the importance of thinking about what to say before saying it, and credits Elizabeth, who worked in the kitchen, for sharing this critical life lesson!
The bonds she formed during this time run deep: she is still in touch with friends she met at the ACPCC, including her good friend Maria Burke, and reflects that the relationships she formed during this time in her life have shaped who she is today.
Stacey highlighted the major part that Becky played in supporting her and Talon during the early years, helping to ensure that Stacey could eventually work full-time. Whilst still a participant at the ACPCC, Stacey began working at UPS in Middlebury, and many of you may remember her, I am certain: Stacey worked there for 15 years! She credits the ACPCC team and Becky particularly in helping to make this a possibility, mentioning that Becky worked extra hours with Talon at the end of the day so Stacey could work the hours UPS required. That is the kind of support and dedication that the ACPCC provide- each participant has their own supportive learning path, tailormade to be flexible for each participant.
Speaking with great fondness of the team who advised her with her own children, Stacey reflects on how her time working in the childcare setting at ACPCC shaped her future choices. She recalled the kindness and wisdom that Chelsea’s teachers, Elizabeth Illick and Nancy Wood conveyed, and the fun memories she has of Linda Bouffard, Talon’s teacher. She remembers the patience, thoughtfulness and love in which they cared for Chelsea and Talon, patiently guiding her in her own parenting skills. Learning alongside the PCC team, Stacey began building her knowledge and confidence as a mother. The unconditional and practical support she was shown still echo with her today. Stacey credits her time at the ACPCC as the inspiration for her change of career direction in 2008. After doing a Fundamentals Course in Childcare through Northern Lights, Stacey was inspired and encouraged to start her own home-based childcare in Salisbury. Stacey’s first love, children, have become the personal and professional focus of her life.