Vassar Quarterly - Spring 2018 - 43
The Time Out Grant
Take a year to pursue
"My whole life, I have sought work that
would enrich the lives of children
and young people. I wanted to do
something unique and important
for others." -Lisa Vihos '81
An anonymous alumna established The Time Out Grant
more than 25 years ago to help Vassar alumnae/i who
are 40 years or older make a career change or take time
out to pursue a long-held dream. The grant allowed Lisa
Vihos '81 to spend a year working on a project to support
literacy in Malawi.
She was inspired by a group of friends, Malawian
graduate students at Lakeland University in Sheboygan,
Wisconsin, who were specializing in early-grade reading
instruction. A visit to a local children's reading garden left
them with the desire to someday build a similar reading
garden in Malawi, where the literacy rate is very low.
Vihos saw the potential to support their dream. The
Time Out Grant allowed her to make three trips to Malawi
to plan the garden with colleagues at the Lilongwe
Teacher Training College and Demonstration School.
She has also collaborated with Malawian teachers, students, artists, musicians, engineers, and a plant nursery
to bring a range of stories to life.
Construction on the Lilongwe Reading Garden began
in September 2017 with a mosaic entryway and a giant
book sculpture. Reading pavilions that represent each
region of the country, an alphabet grove, several themed
gardens, and an outdoor theater space are planned. It's
a dream that Vihos says would not have been possible
without the assistance of the Time Out Grant.
What would you do if you could take a year off to try
and make a difference in the world?
Visit alums.vassar.edu/timeout for more information.