Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship announces 2020 Fellows


The Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship announces this year’s Vision Fellows. These new Fellows impressed the Vision Fellowship Grants Committee with inspirational insight, talent, passion and/or expertise in fields that are vital to the Island’s social and environmental sustainability, a press release from the Fellowship says. The awardees show great promise for short- and long-term impact in high priority areas for the Vision Fellowship program, according to the release.

The Vision Fellowship program supports Island-based emerging leaders and change-makers. Its goal is to empower Islanders to pursue further education, professional development, and Island-based projects for their own benefit, the release says, and for the benefit of the Island community. The Fellowship encourages collaboration, community-building, mentoring, and knowledge-sharing across disciplines.

Three of this year’s awardees came before the Vision Fellowship Grants Committee through the work of the Advisory Council to the Grants Committee. The members of the Advisory Council are Kendra Buresch, Shelley Edmundson, Joshua Gothard, Luanne Johnson, April Knight, Antone Lima, and Luiza Mouzinho. Each of them is a former or current Vision Fellow. The Council first convened in September 2018, at the Grants Committee’s request, to research and conduct outreach regarding top underserved or unmet Island needs, and to propose ways that the Vision Fellowship, within its fellowship-based grant model, may advance progress on those issues.  

The 2020 Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellows are:

Sadie Dix, who will earn a master’s degree in nutrition interventions, communication and behavior change at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She will focus on the interventions track, which addresses the structures relevant to progressive, positive changes in the healthcare system. Her goal is to learn how to help communities ensure equal access to nutritious foods and factual nutrition education, the release states. During her Vision Fellowship, Dix will work with Island Grown Initiative and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to strengthen the food system in the Martha’s Vineyard health care sector. One objective is to enact a vegetable prescription program through Island Grown Initiative’s mobile market.

Karen Dowd will earn a Master of Social Work from Simmons University’s online program. Dowd is currently the regional case manager with Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands. She is pursuing the advanced degree to provide her with the education and credentials that will enable her to more effectively induce change to improve services for Island seniors. Dowd works closely with Victoria Haeselbarth, outreach coordinator for the Edgartown Council on Aging and 2017 Vision Fellow. During her Vision Fellowship and after, Dowd will work on several projects. She will develop a friendly visitor program that matches volunteers with an elderly individual who would like a regular visitor. She will also develop a program regarding advanced care planning through workshops at the Councils on Aging and, among other goals, she will work to create an on-demand transportation program for seniors. 

 Woody Filley will manage a project that focuses on the construction and demolition waste (C&D waste) portion of the Island’s waste stream. The goals are to quantify and categorize it, evaluate past and present practices of handling and disposal, and to work with stakeholders in developing pilot programs to redirect as much as possible to recycling, reuse and other innovative ways of reduction. The Oversight Committee for this project currently is comprised of: Greg Orcutt (Habitat for Humanity), Don Hatch (Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District), John Abrams (South Mountain Company (SMC)), Newell Isbell Shinn (SMC and Martha’s Vineyard Builders Association), with others to join. In addition to other work experience and community involvement, Filley served as the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s technology director for 20 years. His first job here in the early 1980s was running the newly created Martha’s Vineyard Recycling Committee. Thereafter, he went on to serve as the Edgartown Representative to the Refuse Committee (the precursor to the MVRD). His project was recommended by the Advisory Council.

 Kim Garrison will implement a project to establish a consistent multi-tiered system of support for social-emotional and behavioral wellbeing across the Martha’s Vineyard Public School system (MVPS), and the development of a model for a MVPS school-based health center. The framework on which this project is built stems primarily from an integration of specific evidence-based approaches to school-based mental health, social-emotional learning, and school climate transformation. This framework uses a community-partnered model and interdisciplinary teaming to provide systematic wrap-around support to students, with a focus on workforce development, student and family engagement, and data-driven decision making. Richie Smith, Ed.D., assistant superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, and Sara Dingledy, principal of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, nominated Garrison and will work with her to implement this project. The project came before the Vision Fellowship Grants Committee through the Vision Fellowship Advisory Council. 

 Patricia (Paddy) Moore will take steps toward a vision in which Island elders will be able to age in their own homes, with sure access to a newly re-organized, age-friendly system that has integrated behavioral health and social care supports into what we now know as health care. To do this, Paddy will map the Vineyard’s human, organizational, and economic assets currently in place to provide health and social services at home; identify the possible gaps between what is and what is needed; identify the possible public and private policies and investments that could fill those gaps; and organize a group of stakeholders and Island leaders, as well as organizations, willing to commit to the necessary actions. Moore plans collaborations with the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, which is her sponsoring organization, Healthy Aging MV, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), the Center for Living, the four Councils on Aging, the town’s health agents, EMTs, and planning boards.

Kayte Morris, the executive director of the Island Food Pantry, will create a “Support Hub” at the Pantry that will connect and direct an at-risk population to services available within the community; provide a revolving door of physical space for those services and resources to connect in-person at the Pantry; identify and report back to local organizations regarding unmet needs of this underserved population, and develop a model program that could be adopted by other organizations in the community. Morris is currently enrolled in the Institute for Nonprofit Practice Core Certificate Program on Martha’s Vineyard and is a board member of Friends of Family Planning here.

Jane Norton will earn a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling through Goddard College’s low residency program. Her vision is to offer Islanders competent, evidence-based professional counseling for depression, anxiety, trauma, and bereavement issues. Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard is Norton’s sponsoring organization, and Jill De La Hunt, LICSW and current Vision Fellow, will serve as Norton’s mentor and as her clinical supervisor for the practicum and internship requirements for her degree. Norton’s goals are to help expand the reach of Hospice of MV’s offerings in several areas, including co-facilitating support groups for bereaved individuals, conducting counseling sessions for people with life-limiting illnesses, their spouses, families and loved ones; assisting in the development and implementation of support groups for bereaved children and adolescents; and creating a support group for those experiencing the sudden death of a loved one due to overdose.

 Heather Quinn, director of early childhood programs for M.V. Community Services, and Kim D’Arcy, program coordinator for the MVCS Family Center, will create and oversee the position of family childcare network coordinator at MVCS. The Vineyard has a severe shortage of childcare options for infants and toddlers, the release says. With the establishment of this position, the new coordinator will provide crucial concrete support, emotional support and access to education opportunities and community resources for family child care providers. The support network created by this coordinator will allow current providers to maintain high-quality programs and entice new providers to enter the field. This project came before the Vision Fellowship Grants Committee through the Vision Fellowship Advisory Council.

 Julie Schmidt, J.P. Hitesman, and Beth Kramer will implement a project, the VIP Island Connections Project, sponsored by the Vineyard Independence Partnership. VIP was founded in 1983 by a group of parents advocating for their children and its members. VIP now includes individuals with disabilities and their families and friends, all working together to promote social activities, support independent living, encourage accessibility in the community and advocate for inclusivity. The mission of this project is to partner with Island adults with disabilities to help with access to individualized resources. These include, but are not limited to, disability services, employment, recreational programs, and health services, to ensure that a healthy and productive life is possible for all. They will collaborate with the Island Disability Coalition, MVCS’s Employment Services, and Seven Hills Foundation’s Vineyard Supports program.

Max Sherman will continue to work toward his master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in criminal justice from Northeastern University. Sherman has worked in a police department since he was 17 years old, starting as a traffic officer, and now as a sergeant with the Tisbury Police Department. He has been a volunteer with CONNECT to End Violence for almost 10 years. One of his goals, the release says, is to work toward cultural change in the mental health support of law enforcement officers as well as trauma-informed approaches to victims following an incident of domestic violence.

 The Vision Fellowship program also welcomes three undergraduates. These students impressed the Vision Fellowship Grants Committee with their passion and enthusiasm for their anticipated courses of study, their commitment to the Island, and their contributions to the community.

Dashiell L. Christy graduates from MVRHS this spring and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in agroecology at the University of Vermont. Christy wants to help improve farming methods to become more efficient in productivity and in the use of important natural resources. Christy is the state champion in the 55 meter hurdles and is a captain of the track team. He is an experienced sailor and has volunteered  as an assistant instructor with Sail MV. He speaks French and Turkish and is learning German, and he has a passion for Norse mythology.

Gregory Clark will graduate from MVRHS this spring. He plans to earn a Fisheries Management and Conservation Degree with a minor in environmental sciences. For the past year, under the mentorship of Bret Sterns at the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Resources Department, Greg has led a study focused on the formation of local wampum and why it is unique to this region. He also worked in the field, performing water quality analysis, predator control, water restoration and quahog seeding. His goal is to gain the knowledge and experience that will enable him to help protect, promote and sustain healthy environments, habitats and ecosystems, especially the Island’s fisheries. For the last two summers, Clark has worked as a fishing guide.

Jada Randolph will graduate from MVRHS this spring. She plans to attain a dual degree in history and secondary education at Lesley University. Her goal is to become a secondary history teacher so that she can help students develop a more accurate and inclusive understanding of history. Randolph has been a teaching assistant in history for all four years at MVRHS. Among many other things, she is founder and president of the high school’s Debate Club. She is also an enrolled member of the Tribe and has learned traditional arts and dance from a very young age. She participates in the Tribe’s annual powwow and also volunteers at the Wampanoag Women’s Center.

 Finally, the following undergraduate students who were awarded two-year Vision Fellowships upon their respective high school graduations, have been awarded second two-year Vision Fellowships for their junior and senior years:

 John Goncalves, who is studying fire science and paramedicine at Anna Maria College; and Matteus Scheffer, who is studying aquaculture and fishery science at the University of Rhode Island.

 For more information about the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship, visit