Vermont Humanities

Vermont Reads Suggested Activities

Teenaged boy in blue jacket with black hair with a large brown dog by a fire in the woods
Vermont Reads

There are many ways to approach Gather as you explore activities to enrich your community experience. They range from book discussions, guest speakers, and film screenings, to art projects and more. We are happy to share ideas and help in any way; please contact us at community@vermonthumanities.org.

We urge you to share your events by submitting them via our online form so we can help spread the word!

Facilitated Book Discussions

Vermont Humanities will offer one free facilitated book discussion for organizations participating in Vermont Reads 2024. To schedule a facilitated discussion, first reach out to one of our trained Vermont Reads facilitators to find an agreeable time and date, then complete our request form.

More about Vermont Reads Book Discussions

Host a Related Book Series

Our Reading & Discussion program is an easy, inexpensive way for libraries and other nonprofit organizations to host high-quality, facilitated book discussions in Vermont communities. Vermont Humanities provides the books, and trained scholars lead each session. Visit our Reading and Discussion homepage for more information and how to book a series.

Related Reading & Discussion Series

Organize your own book series

We’ll post a list of related books and resources in June, 2024.

Story Hour

If you are seeking to include a story hour for younger kids with your Vermont Reads project, we will soon post a list of picture books that speak to resiliency.

Host a Guest Speaker or Panel Discussion

Speakers Bureau

Our Speakers Bureau provides informative and thought-provoking presentations by scholars and experts on diverse humanities topics. These rich experiences are accessible for Vermont non-profit organizations to present in their community for a small fee.

We are offering each Vermont Reads host organization up to three free Speakers Bureau talks related to the themes in Gather. Please note that the limit of three Speakers Bureau presentations per organization per year still remains.

More about Vermont Reads Speakers Bureau Bookings

Related Speakers Bureau Talks

Railroad bridge on stone pier across a snow Vermont road

A Bridge Across Our Two Vermonts

Vermont is not immune to issues like addiction, housing insecurity, and poverty. In recent years these overlapping problems have strained resources across the state, and can divide communities as they struggle to find solutions. Join Recovery Vermont Executive Director Will Eberle as he explores how to surmount the effect of bias and stigma so we can improve the health, happiness, and sense of belonging for all Vermonters.

Three people writing at a white table in a room with brown walls

Writers for Recovery Workshop

In this engaging participatory workshop, you’ll hear the powerful stories of people in recovery. You’ll learn how and why the writing techniques used in Writers for Recovery enable people to ease their emotional pain, reduce their feelings of shame, and move forward toward recovery. You’ll even develop new tools for managing stress and difficult situations in your own life. 

Organize your own speaker or panel presentation

Some topics you could consider exploring include:

  • Foraging, Hunting, and/or Fishing
  • Housing & Food Insecurity
  • Substance Use Disorder and Recovery

Other resources for potential speakers:

For funding support to cover honoraria, consider applying for a Vermont Humanities Rapid Response grant.

More about Vermont Reads Grant Opportunities

Black and white image of person walking on a railroad track with "Just Getting By" title in whiteFilm Screenings

Just Getting By

Just Getting By, a new documentary film by Bess O’Brien, is a sweeping and yet intimate look at the lives of Vermonters who are struggling with food and housing insecurity.

Apply for a Vermont Humanities Rapid Response grant to fund a screening of Just Getting By. If your grant application is approved, we’ll ask you to contact the filmmaker Bess O’Brien to schedule the screening and arrange for payment. Vermont Humanities will provide up to $500 for the screening, but your organization will be required to pay Bess directly.

You can email Bess at bobrien@pshift.com, or contact Kingdom Country Productions at: https://kingdomcounty.org/contact-us-index, to arrange the screening.

More about Vermont Reads Grant Opportunities

Underdog

Underdog: the curiously optimistic tale of Doug Butler—a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer who risks losing the only home he’s ever known to chase his dreams of dog mushing in Alaska. This film is available to schools, universities, monprofits and public libraries through GOOD DOCS.

For screenings or digital viewing opportunities contact kinsey@nicemarmotfilms.com.

Other Titles

These are available on Kanopy or other streaming services:

Host an Exhibit

Voices of Home

Voices of Home is an audio-visual storytelling project launched in 2015 by Corrine Yonce when she served as an Americorps VISTA volunteer with the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. This exhibit brings together work from two of Yonce’s collaborative efforts, Voices of South Burlington Community Housing and Voices of Decker Towers.

Yonce envisioned Voices of Home as a way to “erase the stigma surrounding affordable housing communities and educate our friends and neighbors about the importance of a stable, reasonably priced home in helping people lead fulfilling lives.”

Through the project she interviewed residents in a number of Vermont affordable housing communities, engaged with them through their stories, and learned how having affordable homes impacted their lives. She recorded those conversations and subsequently paired the recordings with painted portraits of each interviewee.

How to book Voices of Home

Museum Field Trips

Museum on Main Street

Vermont Humanities and New Hampshire Humanities are bringing the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street’s travelling exhibit, Crossroads: Change in Rural America, to small towns in New Hampshire and Vermont from August 2024 to September 2025.

Crossroads offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.

Each council will support three host sites in their respective states; each location will host the exhibit for six weeks. Vermont exhibit sites include:

Contact us at community@vermonthumanities.org for more information about the Crossroads exhibit.

Visit a Nature Museum

For funding support to cover field trips, consider applying for a Vermont Humanities Rapid Response grant.

More about Vermont Reads Grant Opportunities

Arts, Crafts & STEM Activities

  • Foraged Art: Collect twigs, pebbles, acorns, floral and fauna to create artistic displays. View an example from the Library of Congress’ Blog.
  • Host a community art exhibition or photo contest. It can center on one of the themes from Gather, such as rural life, addiction and recovery, our powerful connection to our pets, housing and food insecurity, or resiliency.
  • Mechanical Engineering Activities with Kids: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/stem-activities/subjects/mechanical-engineering
  • Pet portraits: paint, draw, or take photographs of your beloved companions.

Get Outside

  • Foraging: Forage and identify native flora and fauna. If you forage for edible vegetation or mushrooms, be sure to confirm identification with a professional before consuming, as many species are poisonous to humans! Please read Sustainable Harvesting of Wild Plants by Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife.
  • Organize a community dog walk
  • Organize a fishing day for youth and licensed adults.
  • Take a hike!
  • Visit a State Park or participate in a Nature Program: https://www.vtstateparks.com/events-programs.html

Community Action

  • Support a local food shelf by organizing a local food drive, donating, or volunteering. The Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization. Its website has a great locator to find local food banks.
  • Support local animals
    • Host an animal food and necessities drive for a local animal shelter or food shelf
    • Volunteer at a local animal shelter
    • Work to highlight local pets looking for their forever homes
  • Volunteer at a recovery organization. Recovery Partners of Vermont has opportunities at regional recovery organizations to volunteer. For more information visit: https://vtrecoverynetwork.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Vermont Humanities*** June 10, 2024