Richie Benoit ’13 says that “Thomas College made me who I am.”
As a Thomas student, Richie and his then-girlfriend (now wife) had their first child. Richie suddenly was faced with the challenges of being a new parent and supporting a young family financially while finishing his Elementary Education degree.
Fortunately, he says, the College worked with him, allowing Richie to complete his courses online. He went on to earn a degree as a third- and fourth-grade teacher in Vermont, plus start a landscaping business that he runs during summers. Soon, he and his now-wife Tiffany welcomed a second child.
Then, Richie’s employer approached him, asking if he could help a young student who needed a place to stay for a weekend. A weekend became long-term, and months later, that student’s little brother joined them.
“It wasn’t always this way. Thomas helped position me to be successful. They never gave up on me or my education, even when it got hard. Thomas made it possible for me to contribute to my community, to change lives, and ultimately, to grow my family!”
In October 2018, Richie was approached by another teacher who told him that there was a student in a tough situation who needed a safe place to stay for the weekend. After speaking with his wife about it, Richie decided to welcome the student, age twelve, into their home for the weekend. “Our family of four just became a family of five,” Richie recalls. Just a few months later, Richie and Tiffany also welcomed the boy’s younger brother Kohl into their home as well. “They made us better people,” Richie notes about the two young men. “They made our family feel truly whole.”
This November, after a long legal process, Richie and Tiffany legally adopted both boys. When asked what inspired them to grow their family, he says, “Thomas College helped position us to be successful, and now that we’re in a position to do something like this, how could we not?”
Stories like Richie’s are possible thanks to the support of alumni who provide academic and student support programs, investments in IT, and critical scholarships. Please consider donating today to help the students following in Richie’s footsteps. Visit thomas.edu/give to contribute by December 31. Thank you!