Alumna Hannah Schwartz (IBA ‘01) Constructs a Cultural Hub for the Northeast Kingdom
“Goddard is the reason I came to this area,” says Hannah, the executive director and co-founder of Heartbeet Lifesharing, a community that is home to 47 adults, including 16 individuals with special needs.
Heartbeet Lifesharing in Hardwick, Vermont is wrapping up a $2.2 million dollar campaign to build a community center in the Northeast Kingdom that is dedicated to inclusion and the arts.
This building’s mission is collaboration and inclusion; it will be a place for people to come together across abilities to celebrate community and the arts. Future plans for the Heartbeet Community Center include performances, classes, concerts, the exploration of interfaith conversation, and community meals.
Here, Hannah speaks in her own words about her Goddard experience and how she came to live, work, and build this intentional arts community:
“At a turning point in my life I went searching for a college that I could philosophically align with, and one that would allow me the flexibility to be a mother of two. I was living in Canada at the time working for a wonderful community-based organization as the head gardener and doing direct care for adults with developmental disabilities.
“With only two semesters left until graduation, I was excited to finish up my studies. As soon as I encountered the Health Arts program at Goddard I was certain that I had found my home for this next step. Every moment from that point forward was directive in connecting me to this area. The land, the people, the connections and the general mood of the area called to me.
“My family landed in Calais, a small, warm community that encircled us. Goddard learning, with its self-directed study approach and community building residency weeks, fit my learning style, with just enough freedom within a clear framework to get it all done! I can honestly say that I would not have found this area without Goddard and can’t imagine where I would be at this time.
“My Goddard experience definitely birthed my leadership skills and helped me form my adult vocational contribution. I have gratitude for a very a magical two years confirming that higher education can be woven in with life.”