Courtney Gabaree

Class of 2010

Major: Anthropology/Sociology, Certificate in Non-profit Management

Hometown: Fletcher, VT

When Courtney was named the 2009 recipient of Vermont Campus Compact's Madeleine M. Kunin Award for Public Service, no one was surprised.

The anthropology/sociology major has been an active part of the Bonner Leader Program, has helped found and been an integral part of the growth of the campus chapter of A Global Partnership: Students for Children’s Rights (SFCR), and, most recently, started her own not-for-profit organization, Global Grace, which is Vermont’s first organization dedicated to tracking and ending human sex trafficking. 

She began her participation in the Bonner Leader Program as a community liaison at the Laraway School in Johnson, VT. There, she developed a database that matches Laraway students with volunteer projects in the community.  After her time at Laraway, she moved to the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, which provides assistance to women and children affected by domestic and sexual violence.  She has begun her second 900-hour AmeriCorps/Bonner Program commitment at the Nichols Center, where she is serving as Volunteer Night Manager, providing hotline support, and court and shelter advocacy for the center’s clients.

In addition to working in the local community, Courtney spent the summer of 2008 as a Client Services Fellow at the Washington, DC headquarters of the Polaris Project, one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the United States.

After her internship, Courtney returned to Vermont inspired to create a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending human sex trafficking.  The organization’s top priorities will be to encourage the Vermont legislature to pass anti-human-trafficking legislation and to help train law enforcement to recognize and eliminate human trafficking.

It is this kind of commitment to her work that garnered her the Kunin award. Named for former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, this award “distinguishes one remarkable student from a VCC member institution for his/her outstanding public service and leadership, demonstrated through a spectrum of efforts. Through their sustained involvement, the recipient establishes a linkage of their service to a larger social context and a commitment to community impact. The recipient of this award models deeply ingrained civic responsibility and leadership, evidenced by initiative, innovative approaches to community issues, and effective community building.”

Courtney graduated from JSC in 2010, and worked at the Polaris Project in Washington, D.C., before joining H.O.P.E. Works, an anti-sexual violence organization in Chittenden County. As a youth advocate, she helps survivors of prostitution and has most recently worked with the State Attorney General's Office to update Vermont's sex trafficking law. Vermont Public Television has featured her work in a video on its Vermont Makers Web site. VPT has produced seven profiles of trailblazing Vermont women who have made a difference in their communities.