Corey Belleville, a junior at South Burlington High School (SBHS) and PACT Advisory Board member, sees the mission of PACT (Parents and Adults Celebrating Children and Teens) clearly: “This is what PACT is: Listening to what you have to say.” Senior Megan Henry, also a PACT Advisory Board member, agreed and added, “PACT is really about teens and adults getting real with each other, speaking the truth.”
Listening and speaking the truth were exactly what Mr. Belleville and Ms. Henry, fifteen of their SBHS peers, and thirteen adults did at the PACT Retreat, held this year on September 10 at the All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne. The three-year-old community-building organization used the retreat to develop communication strategies and activities for PACT in this upcoming year that will support its vision to build and sustain a community of respect, compassion, and equality.
Patrick Burke, principal at South Burlington High School, honored those gathered by offering the message of inspiration. He invited the PACTeens (the SBHS branch of PACT) to reflect on the following questions: “Who are you really? What excites you? What are you afraid of? Where do you want to go with your life? How can we help you get there? The answers to these questions are the youth voice we need in our community. Youth need to find their voice and talk about their fears and also their hopes and dreams, and adults need to really listen.”
SBHS sophomore Talia Solomon appreciated the chance to participate: “I found the space to be very beautiful,” she noted, “and the day to be very relaxing and inspiring.”
PACT Co-Chair Steve Loyer offered a message to the participants, read at the end of the retreat: “Each one of you is special, and I hope you never forget that. If, however, you do we will always be there with a smile, a kind word, and time to listen to what you have to say, and that will make a difference. It’s simply what people in a community do for each other.”
PACT is grateful for the support of the South Burlington School District Prevention Funding for this retreat. Please join us at our Welcome to PACT Community Dinner on Thursday, September 29, 5:30-7:00 p.m., at South Burlington High School. If you would like, please bring a dish to share as well as your ideas, suggestions, workshop/class ideas for our community and schools as we share a meal together and engage in dialogue led by our teenagers. All people who live, work, and go to school in South Burlington are members of PACT. Questions? Please call 660-3189.