Each semester Lamoille Restorative Center (LRC), based in Hyde Park, offers internship opportunities to college students interested in exploring careers and learning more about restorative justice and other justice-related fields. This past spring, two dynamic interns from Northern Vermont University, one from the Lyndon campus and one from Johnson, spent four months at LRC learning about the important and life-changing work of this small nonprofit. Depending on their talents, experiences, and learning goals, student interns are exposed to the full range of work done at LRC, and get to dive a bit deeper into a special area of emphasis.

One of last spring’s interns, Evan Slayton, is a Lamoille County native who graduated from Lamoille Union High School in 2016, and plans to complete his undergraduate coursework this fall. He is majoring in criminal justice with a concentration in restorative justice, and wants a career that involves helping people. He thought an internship at LRC would let him learn about the many ways restorative justice is practiced. Evan said this about his experience this past semester: “I have really noticed the compassion that is displayed at the Lamoille Restorative Center. It is a family type atmosphere and everybody is passionate about their work. Interning here has been one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Our second spring intern Fadhili Achinda, is a native of the Republic of Congo. Her parents ran from war to Tanzania, and then moved to U.S. ten years ago when she was 16 years old.  About six years after she arrived in the U.S. her father was diagnosed with brain cancer and soon died from the disease. Her mother was left as the single parent with eight children. As the oldest child, Fadhili left school to go to work and support her family. Eventually she was able to finish high school and start college. Her interest in criminal justice came from interacting with her uncle who is a policeman and her aunt who is a sheriff. Fadhili graduated in June from NVU with a triple major – anthropology, sociology, and criminology. Her experience learning about restorative justice changed her life. “When I think about restorative justice, it made me very curious. The first thing I learned when I came here was how they welcome people and value them, and treat them with kindness and see them as human beings. Another thing I learned about this place was to encourage accountability and help with understanding of healing and what we can do to prevent people from going to jail; to help people understand their mistakes.”

Both Evan and Fadhili, while coming from completely different backgrounds, have much in common. They are hard-working, with many talents and interests. Evan coaches 8th grade basketball at LUMS, and plays on the men’s basketball league in Morrisville. Fadhili worked for several years as a residential advisor in the NVU dormitories, sings, and has even produced a movie about her life. While taking a full course-load and enjoying their extra-curricular activities, they both carried paying jobs.

****Due to the current partial closing of LRC’s offices, LRC will  be accepting applications for internships in the fall semester, but hope to do so in the spring. To learn more about volunteer or internship opportunities at LRC, contact Bobby Blanchard-Lewis at bblanchard@lrcvt.org, or call LRC at 888-5871.

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