Friday, September 28 was the final day for the University of Vermont Extension Rural and Agricultural VocRehab (RAVR) Program. After 43 years of providing educational and vocational rehabilitation counseling services to rural and agricultural folks of Vermont, this program ended. Citing financial constraints, the Vermont Division of VocRehab eliminated the funding for this program. Back in the early 1990s, this program provided the foundation which formed the basis for the development of the National AgrAbility program.
Some examples of the RAVR's efforts include funding for the fabrication of custom-built seats, steps, hand-holds, or lifts to make tractors accessible for individuals with substantial mobility problems. Hearing impairment can limit one's effectiveness at home and on the job; hearing aids and other adaptations have made it possible for individuals to maintain their job, their dignity, and their sense of self-worth. These folks continue to be a productive part of the work force, rather than becoming a burden to society. As audiences included a wide range of ages, their efforts have involved helping young adults find purpose in their lives, finish school, and find a job; it has meant assisting someone who was in a mid-life crisis and burdened with stress, it has meant working with a senior with failing eyesight who was unsure of their next step in life's journey.
It is with a great sense of loss and sadness that this program comes to a close. We wish them all well in their future endeavors.
Submitted by Janis Moore