Kimberton Waldorf School alumni enrich the world around them. We are proud to shine a spotlight on some of our alumni to showcase their stories, career development, interests, accomplishments, and milestones.
This month’s featured alumni spotlight is Alicia Warner DeMont ‘93. Read her personal story below.
After graduating from Guilford College, I received a Fulbright scholarship to be a teacher’s assistant in a German high school for a year. This was not only a very exciting and fun-filled adventure, to be living and working on my own in a foreign country, but through this work, I began to realize that my passions and aptitudes lay more in the one-to-one contacts I had with tutoring students rather than teaching to a whole classroom. After I returned home, I pursued a job in the corporate world. I thought that as a Waldorf student, and a daughter of an Episcopal priest and a Waldorf teacher, I should just see what that would be like! I worked for two years at the Vanguard Group, talking to investors on the phone about mutual funds and various investment strategies. I am very grateful for this job for many reasons; it fostered my interest in business and it also allowed me to realize again that I really like one-to-one contact with people. But perhaps most importantly, it taught me that my heart lies in grassroots community life and working towards social justice, values instilled in me by my parents and my Waldorf education. After two years of corporate work, I was ready to move on. But what would I do? Amazingly, twelve years ago, the Midweek Messenger opened a door for me when I read about a job opening at Citizen Advocacy of Chester County. They were looking for somebody “for whom nobody is a stranger.” Well, this piqued my interest and I applied for the job. I am thrilled they accepted me; it changed my life!
Citizen Advocacy is a nonprofit organization in Phoenixville. Our mission is to initiate voluntary one-to-one relationships between a person with a disability (partner) and someone else from their community who has corresponding qualities and resources (advocate). These Citizen Advocacy relationships are initiated by my coworkers (one of whom is alum Ginger Murphy) and me, and we generally ask advocates to build long-term personal relationships with their partners, and also to take actions on their partners’ behalf. Citizen Advocacy is deeply grounded in the idea that people with disabilities are people, not with “special needs,” but simply people of shared common humanity, who may, like all of us, have problems particular to them. Their most pressing needs ‐ for, home, education, work, daily life with meaning, love, and relationship ‐ are universal truths. It is also based on the belief that ordinary unpaid citizens can and will work for and with people to meet these needs.
Through my work, I have had the privilege to witness extraordinary acts of courage by many of our community members. Citizen advocates affect real change in the lives of individuals and our community. For example, advocates have found their partners places to live, jobs, medical and financial representation, transportation to jobs and appointments, and community involvement. They have also helped with household tasks such as shopping, cleaning and balancing checkbooks. Advocates have intervened successfully with hospitals, landlords, employers, and teachers on behalf of their partners. Many advocates are or have been from the Kimberton Waldorf School community.
Not only do I get to do this always interesting, personal and inspiring one-to-one work with people in my own community, but, because there are only three employees, I also have hands-on experience with all areas of running a nonprofit. (In 2008 I received an MS in nonprofit management from Eastern University.) Sometimes I truly can’t believe that a job exists that integrates so many of my interests and passions. It is an honor to be a part of such an organization and I feel fortunate that I believe in and love what I do. It is also humbling to think about all of the wonderful individuals and local businesses who support this work, either financially, by being an advocate, volunteering at our special events (such as our annual Phoenixville Run), and/or involvement on our board. (Current board members include Kimberton Waldorf School parents Barbara Jones and Albert Wolfram and alumni parents Valarie Pearson and Sarah Thompson.) There are so many people who are working to make our community a better place for all of us and I am so grateful that my job gives me a unique view of this.
My husband, Chris DeMont (class of 1993), and I have spent the past 14 years building our own house. Well, Chris has done the lion's share of this work! In fact, through building our own home, he became so good at design and construction work that in 2004 he started his own very successful construction business, DeMont Construction & Design. We have two young sons, Rowan (2 ½) and Silas (6 months). Rowan will be attending parent/child circle in the fall and Chris and I are excited to become a part of the school community in a whole different way – as parents now!