The Windham Youth CORE
The Windham Youth CORE is GROW Windham's team of youth that grow food in our gardens, participate in community events, and learn about justice within their community. They are a big part of the GROW Windham family and the work that we do.
Vania Galicia-Bacilio is a 24-year-old UnDACAmented immigrant who has lived in Willimantic since she was three years old. She first began organizing when she was 16 years old through GROW Windham as part of the Windham Youth Core, which encouraged her to become more involved in the immigrants’ rights movement.
After graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2020, she transitioned into her current position as “Community Farmer” at Grow Windham. As a Community Farmer Vania works with Willimantic youth and community members, teaching them how to grow their own food and community, so they can advocate for and create a just food system.
Youth Development Facilitator
Malakai Poulin (He/They): Gym buff by day, and nature enthusiast year round, Malakai is our 23 year old Youth Development Facilitator with a passion for self-care. You can find Malakai kicking it with the Youth CORE during program time, talking to their office plants throughout the week, or maybe even in the local gym (if you get up early enough). Malakai began working with Grow Windham as a member of the Windham Youth CORE at the age of 13, and has come a long way from the quiet guy we used to know!
Malakai is also transgender and gender queer, and although this is just a small piece of their identity, it helps drive his passion for this work. Growing up as a queer person meant facing discrimination and bullying, in addition to a lack of support from family; because of this, Malakai hopes to be the type of person he needed when he was younger for today’s youth by supporting and uplifting youth voices in our community.
Outside of Grow Windham, Malakai is currently studying to be a personal trainer, and looks forward to helping others learn to love and be gentle with themselves.
Mackenzie Hill is a former member of the Windham Youth CORE that has lived in Willimantic her whole life. This will be her 9th summer at GROW Windham. After her graduation from Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts , Mackenzie began working at GROW Windham full time as the Youth and Community Engagement Coordinator and now works as the Media Coordinator. She uses her passion for art and creativity to further her work with the community.
Director of Program Sustainability
Sally Milius is a former high school teacher who decided that gardens were much more fun than classrooms and Willimantic the greatest community she could ever call home. In 2011, she co-founded GROW Windham with Alice Rubin, the general manager of the Willimantic Food Coop.