Migrant workers and their families often live in geographic, linguistic and cultural isolation which can create barriers to education, wellness and other public services. UVM Extension provides assistance with a focus on improving access to healthcare and education, food access and security, and overall social wellbeing.

    Vermont Migrant Education Program

    student with educator

    VMEP provides free 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. More Info >>

    Bridges to Health

    tomatoes in hand

    Bridges to Health is a health outreach program for migrant farmworkers in Vermont. Utilizing a care coordination model carried out by regional Migrant Health Promoters, the program empowers farmworkers to make timely health decisions. In addition to offering care coordination to migrant farmworkers in need of health care services, Bridges to Health creates capacity building opportunities for local health entities to implement linguistically and culturally appropriate services.

    Contact: Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, Migrant Health Coordinator
    nwolcott@uvm.edu | (802) 524-6501 ext. 447

    Farming Across Cultures

    Farm worker at milking machine

    For producers, managers, and Latino Employees in the areas of work, health and the home. More Info >>

    New England High School Equivalency Program (HEP)

    HEP logo

    HEP helps eligible migrant and seasonal farm workers and members of their immediate family obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma, and subsequently gain employment or pursue postsecondary education.  HEP offers program participants a free tablet and access to online curriculum available in both English and Spanish, thus enabling program participants to complete an individualized and self-paced course of study in preparation for passing the GED exam.  This program is offered in partnership with other New England states of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

    Contact: Claire Bove, Vermont HEP Coordinator
    Office: 802-388-4969 x 338   Cell: 802-249-4611  claire.bove@uvm.edu

    The Huertas Project

    peas in hand

    Huertas is a community-based food security project that enables Latino/a migrant farmworkers and families living on Vermont’s dairies to access culturally familiar and local foods through cultivating kitchen gardens. More Info >>

    Staff Profiles

    Mimi Arnstein, MEP Virtual English Instructor:

    Mimi Arnstein is the virtual English instructor for the Migrant Education Program. Before coming to MEP, she farmed commercial organic vegetables for 15 years in Vermont and still provides business consulting to farmers. Since receiving her ESL teaching certificate, she has provided language instruction to recent immigrants and refugees. She is excited to combine her background in farming and more recent ESL teaching pursuits in her new position with MEP.
    Email: Mimi.Arnstein@uvm.edu
    Cell phone: 802-505-9011

    Claire Bove, High School Equivalency Program Coordinator:

    As the VT High School Equivalency Program (HEP) Coordinator, Claire oversees a caseload of roughly 30 students around the state who are working towards obtaining their GED. Prior to her role with HEP, she worked with the Vermont MEP and Bridges to Health Programs as a Recruiter/Health Promotor in Central Western Vermont. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Educational Leadership. Please reach out to Claire with any questions about the HEP program.
    Email: Claire.Bove@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-388-4969 x338
    Cell phone: 802-249-4611

    Sarah Braun Hamilton, Migrant Education Program Out of School Youth Coordinator:

    Braun Hamilton develops and coordinates educational opportunities for Out-of-School Youth farmworkers. Braun Hamilton has a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and has worked broadly in adult education with a focus on student-centered, goal-oriented, practical learning. Please contact them for with questions about English language instruction, academic and life skills instruction in Spanish, and career development for farmworkers.
    Email: Sara.Braunhamilton@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-476-2003 x211
    Cell phone: 802-503-2009

    Kelly Dolan, Migrant Education Program Coordinator: 

    As MEP’s Program Coordinator, Dolan oversees program development, daily operations, and staff supervision. Dolan has a master’s degree from UVM in Community Development and Applied Economics and is currently pursuing a second master's in Educational Leadership. She worked as the UVM's Peace Corps recruiter and served as a volunteer in Guatemala and Panama. Please reach out to Dolan with any questions regarding programmatic or research-based opportunities.
    Email: Kelly.Dolan@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-651-8343 x504
    Cell phone:802-503-2312

    Rebecca Heine, Central West Regional Coordinator:

    As the Central West Regional Coordinator, Heine works in the field with families of school students as well out of school students, providing supplemental educational support and social service access when necessary. She also works for the Bridges to Health Program, helping to connect migrant workers and their families to health care services. Heine graduated from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
    Email: Rebecca.Heine@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-476-2003 x507
    Cell phone: 802-503-2375

    Sarah Kleinman, Director of 4-H, Family and Farmworker Education Programs: 

    Sarah Kleinman, Director of 4-H, Family and Farmworker Education Programs with UVM Extension, serves as the Project Director for the Migrant Education Program. Working in a variety of non-profit settings for the past twenty + years, her experience includes grant writing and resource development, budget, volunteer and personnel management, curriculum development, evaluation, strategic directions and program development, as well as building community collaborations. Kleinman has a master’s degree in public administration and is currently pursuing a course sequence in trauma-informed practices.
    Email: Sarah.Kleinman@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-651-8343 x521

    Jeffrey Maier, MEP/BTH Northwest Regional Coordinator:

    As the Northwest Regional Coordinator, Maier works in the field with families of school students as well out of school students, providing supplemental educational support and social service access when necessary. He also works for the Bridges to Health Program, helping to connect migrant workers and their families to health care services. Maier previously served in the Peace Corps in Panama supporting local conservation projects. He has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Denison University.
    Email: Jeffrey.Maier@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-476-2272 x508
    Cell phone: 802-503-2003

    Katherine “Julissa” Vesely, Bridges to Health Care Coordinator:

    Vesely coordinates health care services for immigrant farmworkers and their families as part of the Bridges to Health team. She also takes on special projects related to access to services.  She graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
    Email: Katherine.Vesely@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-524-6501 x438
    Cell phone: 802-503-2301

    Monica Pineda, MEP/BTH Northeast Kingdom Coordinator:

    As the Northeast Kingdom Regional Coordinator, Pineda works in the field with families of school students as well out of school students, providing supplemental educational support and social service access when necessary. She also works for the Bridges to Health Program, helping to connect migrant workers and their families to health care services. Pineda graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University Benemerita in Puebla, Mexico.
    Email: Monica.Pineda@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-751-8307 x355
    Cell phone: 802-503-2202

    Sara Stowell, Program Identification and Recruitment Coordinator: 

    Stowell grew up in Proctorsville, Vermont. She coordinates the identification, recruitment and enrollment of migratory students and families into MEP. She and her team annually visit hundreds of farm and forestry employers and schools to enroll eligible children and engage them with available educational and enrichment services. Prior to returning to Vermont, Stowell worked in human rights and rural development in El Salvador. She holds a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Bates College.
    Email: Sara.Stowell@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-585-8386
    Cell phone: 802-503-2114

    Danielle Sussmann Turo, Migrant Education Program In-School Youth Coordinator: 

    Turo coordinates the implementation of supplemental education and support services of migrant students attending school. She has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY in Cultural Studies with concentration in communication, and an associate degree in Liberal Studies from CCV. Her background is in Human Resources, and Administration. Please reach out to her with any questions regarding in-school youth or with educational opportunities.
    Email: Danielle.Turo@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-751-8307 x363
    Cell phone: 802-503-2022

    Karen Taylor, HEP Services Coordinator:

    Taylor supports students of the HEP program in the Northeast Kingdom who are working towards obtaining their GED. She has a bachelor’s degree from Lewis & Clark College and has traveled in South and Central America. She has spent several years working on Vermont dairy and vegetable farms. Taylor has worked with students in many alternative learning environments.
    Email: Karen.Taylor@uvm.edu

    Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, Bridges to Health Program Coordinator: 

    Naomi, Coordinator of UVM Extension’s Bridges to Health project, designed, implemented and manages the statewide health outreach program for immigrant farmworkers. She also co-directs Huertas, a community-based food security project working to increase access to culturally familiar foods with farmworker households. She holds an MS in Community Development and Applied Economics from UVM.  Naomi speaks Spanish fluently after living for four years in Central America including two years with the Peace Corps in El Salvador.
    Email: nwolcott@uvm.edu
    Office phone: 802-524-6501 x447
    Cell phone: 802-503-2078

    Interested in Volunteering with Vermont Farmworkers?

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