Employees gathered at Pine Island Community Farm for this year's Volunteer Day.
In the last three decades, our home state of Vermont has welcomed nearly 8,000 refugees and immigrants from countries all around the world, with the majority of that population resettling in nearby Burlington and Winooski. These New Americans are forcefully displaced or actively choose to leave their homelands because of violence, persecution, or natural disaster and turn to the United States to start new lives for themselves and their families.
At Twincraft, we recognize the difficulty of re-starting life in a new, foreign land, and have built an organizational structure that not only welcomes New Americans, but provides an environment that allows them to succeed and grow. We hold our New American workforce near and dear to our hearts, and have long credited them as a critical part of Twincraft’s continued growth. Beyond our workforce development and skills training, we look for opportunities to give back to this community to demonstrate our gratitude for their hard work and commitment.
For the second year in a row, Twincraft spent its annual Volunteer Day at Pine Island Community Farm. This initiative is a resource for the New American community and meets the demand for culturally significant foods such as meat and produce, complete with the cultural traditions that come along with them. A partnership between the Vermont Land Trust and The Association of Africans Living in Vermont, the collective farm is primarily focused on raising and selling goats for consumption, but also offers other livestock such as chickens and a 7 acre community garden for members to grow their own native produce.
Individuals from across the Twincraft organization participated in the day-long event and came together to lend a hand with tasks around the farm, from cleaning the facilities, tending the goat herds, and applying a fresh coat of paint where needed. Employees enjoyed a day outside in the crisp New England air and, more importantly, were able to connect with others who they may not work with on a regular basis.
Cultural Understanding & Celebration
We’ve always been committed to supporting our community, whether through event participation such as the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival or Spectrum Empty Bowl Dinner; partnerships with local businesses such as the Intervale Center, or offering work opportunities where others might not, such as those on the path to substance recovery. For us, our Community Volunteer Day is more than just a day of volunteering; it’s a chance for our New American workforce to give back to a valued resource, and other employees to learn more and experience cultural traditions and lifestyles that differ from their own.
Each of these opportunities allows our employees to give back while also taking a walk in someone else’s shoes. Cultivating this cultural and community awareness extends beyond understanding; it improves employee trust and relationships, builds on communication, and creates a deeper understanding of different cultures, lives, and perspectives across our organization and community at large.
We will continue to tear down employment barriers for our New Americans and other underserved groups seeking employment, and support our larger internal and external communities through our CARES and Thrives initiatives. Together, we can all create a stronger and more diverse workplace, community, and world.