by BEN WESTCOTT
For many people, building a more inclusive and diverse Adirondack Park seems like a challenge.
For Nicole Hylton-Patterson, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative’s new director, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Born in Jamaica into abject poverty, she did not sleep on a mattress until she was 10 years old. Her father died when she was young because the family couldn’t afford the insulin he needed to live. Because of the difficulties she has already overcome, Hylton-Patterson is not daunted by the obstacles she will face in her new role as the ADI’s director.
“To be poor is a challenge,” Hylton-Patterson said. “To be destitute is a challenge. To not have food is a challenge.
“This isn’t a challenge.”
For the past two years, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative has run on a volunteer basis with people who also worked full-time jobs. “ADI is the birth child of a group of amazingly talented, connected people,” said Hylton-Patterson. “Pretty much any one of them could do this job.”
But after hiring Hylton-Patterson, who began working on Dec. 2 in the Adirondack North Country Association’s downtown office in Saranac Lake, the ADI has an expanded capacity to make change in the Adirondack region.
“What I’m able to do is mobilize and facilitate all of the programs that they had written down, because they didn’t have the staff to do it,” Hylton-Patterson said. “They didn’t have the staff to do the networking to organize the programs, to reach out to the community.”
Read the full article in the Adirondack Explorer.