Our Impact

At COTS, we are proud to work with our guests and support them in creating better futures for themselves. We have helped countless individuals and families over the years reach their goals every day. Their stories inspire us to keep going and remind us of why we do what we do each day. 

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a formerly homeless person now rebuilding their life? Read our amazing stories from former COTS guests and be inspired by how our support has made a big positive difference in their lives. It will encourage you to contribute your own talents towards bettering our local community, even if it's done one person at a time.

Stories from Guests, Volunteers and Staff

Former COTS Guest

Lori Giannuzzi

A former guest at COTS, Lori Giannuzzi, is a member of the COTS Speaker’s Bureau and gives audiences insight into the time her family experienced homeless.

"Each time I speak, I hope that it will change someone’s view about homelessness. I have found it also helps in healing. …

Ten years ago in September. That’s when the bottom fell out of our world. We went from our American dream of having a nice house—four bedrooms, a two-car garage, a fireplace. We left that house in South Burlington to go to a hotel, then to our temporary home with COTS."

Read Lori's Story

Former COTS Guest

Carrie Dyer Oliver

When Carrie Dyer Oliver and her family, including her five-year-old daughter, stayed with COTS, Carrie wrote a coloring book about being in a family shelter. Today, her words and drawings help children and parents communicate about this different and often emotional experience.

Read Carrie's Story

Listen to Carrie

See Carrie's Coloring Book

COTS Phonation Volunteer

Jill Diemer

For more than 20 years, Jill Diemer and her children have volunteered at the COTS Phonathon. And wow does she have memories and stories to share! Her empathy and sales skills come in handy on the phone, and she has advice for new volunteers: “We seasoned callers are always willing to team up and help newbies walk through the process. You will be a pro in no time!”

When asked what initially inspired her to volunteer, Jill says:

"We were not in the position to give a substantial amount of money, but we could give time, even if it was just a little. … I love that COTS does not simply put a Band-Aid on the issue of homelessness. They help by providing specific tools."

Read Jill's Fun Stories about Volunteering With Family

Longtime Volunteer

Bill Talentino

"To assist COTS in a small way in providing absolutely vital services to people, in a compassionate, empowering and effective manner, is a privilege that brings additional meaning and purpose to my life. In my career as a public librarian, and now as a volunteer at COTS, I focus on understanding the needs of our clients, matching them with appropriate resources and services at COTS, and doing so in a way that is welcoming and encouraging."

Read About Bill's Generous Heart & Bright Spirt


Listen to the voices of COTS Guests

It was all like a miracle
I had some decisions I had to make really quick
I had just done a twelve year prison bit
My daughter [will] have her own place to call home
I don't look like a disabled American Vietnam veteran
I expelled all the resources I had saved
I was a working person with means that all of a sudden had the bottom fall out
As a mom, I felt like I was failing my family
He suggested I go back to school
Lost my job and lost two gears in my car
As the winter rolled in
We were really grateful we had a place to go to
Everyone's got their stereotype of what a homeless person is
Give with your heart
My children were my first priority
Help somebody move forward
Becky interviews Marty (35 minutes long)