“I went to China with the program in 2008. At the time I was in 9th grade and fifteen years old, it was the first time I'd been out of the country beside Canada. Journey East provided a unique opportunity for a group of young teens from southern Vermont to explore a much vaster world around them. It brought together culture and art into a comprehensive and rich program. I was able to learn and experience a culture much different than my own and unique to each city and village we spent time in. From one of the most advanced and populous cities in the world, to sequestered villages that had never seen Americans before.
It allowed me a life larger than the one I was living, and provided me motivation to see more of the world. I was lucky enough to visit England and France while still at Leland and Gray and since then have been given opportunities to travel to Peru and Mexico to work on a short film and documentary. My goals are to further expand my reach and bring together stories from all over the world.
Since leaving Leland and Gray, I haven't spent much time in Vermont. But whenever I go back, I am reminded of the opportunities it provided me and as I reflect back, it has allowed me to greater value and respect its culture. I am forever grateful for the program, Tom Connor, and those at the Freeman Foundation who made these trips possible. For many who have gone through the program, it provided a spark to their own personal journeys and allowed them to realize their potential beyond the confines of a small and singular world.”