People matter more
April 2012 I got a call from my father. With over $100,000 of student debt already, he told me he could no longer afford my education.
I would not be able to start my senior year at UVM in September. I reassured him that we would make things work; I knew this hurt him as a parent almost as much as it hurt me. Not being able to continue my own education, in September I began as a full time early educator. Education is one of the most fundamental services that Vermont provides, and now I was involved in the shortcomings of the system both in higher and early education. With my job not providing me the hours I needed, and making only $9.50 an hour in such a vital occupation, I then had to make a hard decision. I needed to go on benefits.
Even with my benefits I still had to take on a second job to afford the high costs of living in Burlington, and with the colder months coming I fear increasing costs. My story is not unique. I know countless people who have had to leave school and work multiple jobs just to survive in Burlington. Our community struggles are united in the need for our government to fulfill our human rights. Too many Vermonters struggle daily in the fight for a quality education, proper food security, and decent jobs. I know we can do better. We need to put people first.
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