#4 Change for Migrant Workers

When I watched the TEDTalk by Simon Sinek, something he said caught my attention. He said, “People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.” This idea is very interesting to me because I believe that it’s true. I think people care about the value of something, not always the value of money, but the emotional and social value of something. Something we can relate to or feel connected to. This is inspirational to me because I think this idea can make things that seem totally impossible become a realistic option. I think immigrant workers in Vermont could be helped if more politicians were notified of this issue. The way to get these immigrants into the open is through this theory, that what you do reflects on what you believe. Once this reaches the state government, this might make officials whose beliefs support this change, feel motivated to do something about it and make a difference.

Sinek also said, “And it’s those who start with why that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” This quote is very much like the first idea, except it includes a very important fact. Not everyone can inspire people right off the bat. It takes time and it takes something or someone to inspire them. I want to be able to be someone that may inspire someone else, but I’m okay with just being someone who was inspired and does the little things that make small differences. I want to be able to take the problem of undocumented immigrants, find someone who inspires me that has done something to help these people, and do something that could be huge or maybe something tiny, that raises awareness and inspires someone else. I think that is the true key to change.

While I was researching about what communities have done for immigrants, I discovered a program called the Vermont Migrant Education Program gives children of immigrant workers free education and tutoring. The staff is bilingual and teaches English as a second language for the students. The program helps children under 22 and  is available for all eligible migrant farm workers. I think that this program is a fantastic way of starting to help the children of immigrant farmers in our state get a sufficient education. One thing I think they could add on is an available program to educate adults. Many workers over 22 haven’t had an education either and I feel they would need one as well if they were to be offered the same opportunities as their children. I think this is a good way of starting change, but I believe that we need to give these immigrants more help like better housing and easier citizenship availability to those who deserve it.

Another program I discovered was the Bridges to Health project. It helped immigrant workers schedule doctors appointments, educate employers and workers about health services in the area, offer transportation and translation, help immigrant workers receive stable services and even suggest other programs to the immigrants and their families. I think this is an amazing idea and I hadn’t really thought about health care until I read about this program. I think that they cover all of the bases on what these immigrants need health wise and I was surprised to see that it also suggested other programs to these immigrants. I think that again this program does a lot, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of citizenship and how to make housing and treatment of these immigrants better.

I believe in treating everyone as an equal, no matter their race, gender, or religious beliefs. Through my research about migrant workers in Vermont, I discovered that they aren’t treated as equally as I believe they should be. They work on the dairy farms that sustain our economy and are one third of the work force. Some of these immigrants aren’t given proper housing, driving permits, have to provide their own food, work in almost any weather condition, have a small wage, and have to deal with abuse from some bosses based on dependency. This is because they are forced into these living conditions police forces understand the importance of these workers to keep our economy afloat and are doing their best to turn a blind eye.

 I believe that immigrant workers should be able to be independent of their bosses, but still be able to work on the farms like any other employee. They should be paid fairly and treated with respect like anyone else.

I think that by making it easier for migrant workers to get a federal recognition that allows them to work on the farms without citizenship and live as legal aliens, then that might make my dream of creating the healthy and happy environment for these migrant workers come true.

This problem affects all of us and the more people that support these immigrants and support the change that eventually needs to happen, the more likely the change will happen at the right time.





“How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek

“Rural Health Information Hub.” Rural Project Summary: Bridges to Health –. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

Vermont, University Of. “University of Vermont.” Vermont Migrant Education Project :. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

Werner, Garret. “Working Hands in Vermont’s Borderlands.” Working Hands in Vermonts Borderlands. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

Leavitt, Johnathan. “Dairy Work Has Soured for Vermont’s Migrant Workers – Working In These Times.” Dairy Work Has Soured for Vermont’s Migrant Workers – Working In These Times. N.p., 3 June 2014. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

Photo taken by: 20130920-OC-LSC-1444

Elsa Lindenmeyr

2 Responses to “#4 Change for Migrant Workers

  • Nate Archambault
    6 years ago


    I love that you capitalized on the statement, “People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.” This is truly at the root of all the work that we are doing for What’s The Story?. The Vermont Migrant Education Program is certainly a good one and has been at the forefront as a champion for migrant workers. There are multiple resources for you as you continue this valuable work. I think your best bet will be to find the stories of the individuals affected and how their lives are impacted by even the smallest decisions. You’re off to a great start!



    • Hi Nate,
      Thank you for that first praise. I really am excited to continue to dive into people’s stories and their experience with this issue and I look forward to researching.
      Thank you for your ideas and opinions.

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