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Vermont Works for Women celebrates 25 years with anniversary bash and debut of Labor of Love exhibit

Vermont Works for Women's 25th anniversary will be celebrated on Nov. 9 with the debut of Labor of Love, an exhibit of photos and interview excerpts that recognizes and honors women who are passionate about their work, who are an inspiration to others, and who exemplify excellence in their field. They come from all parts of Vermont; they are farmers, doctors, tattoo artists, college presidents, and electricians. The celebration and exhibit debut takes from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael's College.

"Through Labor of Love, we not only pay tribute to our honorees, but to work itself," commented Tiffany Bluemle, Executive Director of VWW. "At its best, work not only pays the bills but is a vehicle for self expression. It can expose us to mentors who encourage us and challenge us to stretch. And it can connect us to a broader community, whose needs and opportunities can influence our opinions and the choices we make over time." 

Two local women, will be honored at the event: Tara Kelly, executive director for Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, and Kim Furlong and Carolyn Dicicco, owners/managers of the Barnard General Store.

Vermont Works for Women describes their accomplishments as follows:

TARA KELLY

Tara Kelly is the Executive Director of the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), a community development nonprofit working to revitalize the Rutland region through local farm and food initiatives. Kelly is an advocate for sustainable local agriculture and healthy, thriving food systems on the local, statewide, and regional levels. She is a founding member of RAFFL and the organization's first executive director.

Kelly has enthusiastically led and championed the local food movement in the Rutland area. While Kelly is focused on agriculture, she views her work as multidisciplinary and never isolated. Thus, she works toward "big picture" goals that connect farming with health and nutrition initiatives, sustainability movements, and economic development efforts. She actively forges new partnerships between different community organizations and stakeholders to build a stronger, more dynamic movement that fixes root problems-not with band aid solutions-but with real transformation.

Through her grassroots work, Kelly has also become a resource for other nonprofit and local food organizations throughout the state.

Tara Kelly regularly presents at conferences, workshops, and classes on topics ranging from local food distribution to nonprofit board management. She is actively involved with the Vermont's Farm to Plate ten-year strategic plan for local agriculture and served on the allocations committee for the Vermont Community Foundation's Farm Disaster Relief Fund following Tropical Storm Irene. Thanks to Kelly's enthusiasm and thoughtfulness, Rutland and Vermont's food systems are stronger because of her leadership.

KIM FURLONG AND CAROLYN DICICCO

Furlong and Dicicco have owned and operated the Barnard General Store in Barnard, Vt. for "many years", in fact it is one of the oldest running store in Vermont. Their title is not "just one" but one of "many", they just do it all. Friends and neighbors say they are some of the hardest working people they've known. They live and work this store 24/7. There genuine love for each human person is just admirable, they somehow hold a very special place in their heart for each and every person in the Barnard community as well as for those who walk through the doors of the Barnard General Store where as you as a individual feel there warmth and their love and happen to make one feel very special. This is a very unique quality of both of them.

Labor of Love moves to the Welcome Center in Winooski (on the traffic circle) on Nov. 10, with an open house scheduled from 2-5 p.m. The exhibit stays in Winooski through December.
Vermont Works for Women helps women and girls recognize their potential and explore, pursue and excel in work that leads to economic independence.  For more information, call (802) 655-8900 or visit www.vtworksforwomen.org