Representative Payee (Financial Manager)

Brattleboro, Windham County

Were you born in Vermont? If not, when did you become a Vermonter?

No, I became a Vermonter in August, 2013, and intermittently have lived in Vermont between an internship in Geneva, Switzerland.

What attracted you to Vermont? What attracted you to your current town?

SIT Graduate Institute (my current graduate school), the Green Mountains, the openness, a change of scenery from Oklahoma, liberalism, and the fact that it's in New England.

Have you found community here in Vermont?

Yes and no. A majority of my closest friends are the people I met at my school. So, in a way, I gained a community through my school, but it's lacking as far as those who are either from Brattleboro/Vermont or transplants from other places. However, I am slowly starting to develop a very small community of people that are in the latter.

How have Vermonters welcomed you?

Some with kindness and openness, and some without. A majority of people have been incredibly nice, and it's quite refreshing that I've met humble & honest folks just like back home. Some people simply ignore my presence, but most greet me with a smile.

How well are the cultures with which you identify visibly represented in your community, your region, or in Vermont as a whole?

Unfortunately, Vermont is a very white state. I didn't quite realize to what degree until I moved here. My cultures and identities are not very well represented in my community or Vermont as a whole. However, more recently I have seen more interracial or multiracial folks appear in my community and that gives me some relief.

What do you like best about living in Vermont, and in your specific region?

The fact that I can find anything outdoorsy to do anytime, especially in the spring, summer, and fall. Even when I was living in downtown Brattleboro, there were hiking trails in the woods only 10 minutes from my house. The Connecticut River is amazing in the summer; there have been lots of swimming and floating adventures with friends on that river. The fact that mountains surround me is exactly what I wanted. It's very peaceful and relaxing. Vermont will always hold a special place in my heart just simply for its beauty alone.

What challenges do you face living in Vermont?

Diversity. Diversity is number one for me. I would love to see more of it in Vermont as a whole. Please visit and consider living here!

How has your quality of life improved while living in Vermont?

I focus more on self-care, eating well, and simply being in nature as much as possible. It's easy to get lost in the woods, or climb a mountain, or take a walk by the river. My quality of life has greatly improved with my time in Vermont. I also have built very strong friendships that will forever be apart of my life. Discussion, conversation, and empathy exist more in my life than ever before.

What advice would you give to people who share you identities who are considering becoming Vermonters?

Vermont is a very interesting place and you should give it a chance. It's extremely beautiful. The fall foliage is unlike anything you've ever seen. Everything turns immensely green in the summer. Yes, there is a lack of diversity, but without folks like us living here in these communities, then there will always be a lack of diversity. I find it very important for folks like me to show our presence in Vermont. It will certainly make it even more awesome and beautiful.

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