This is a top-notch organization with an incredible understanding of inclusion. Personally, I am a different person because of my exposure to the VCIC's programming and employees. I celebrate individuality, and I no longer overlook differences - I embrace them. I've seen this program figuratively and literally change lives of the students who participate and I strongly believe that this is the way to change the world.
Eight years ago, I had my first experience with VCIC as an elementary principal. The school division mandated that all instructional leaders attend a workshop on educational equity and inclusive practices. I was pleased that the county recognized the need for such training, but was pessimistic that a one day workshop would do justice to such a robust topic. To my surprise, VCIC superseded my expectations. The facilitators, content, materials and activities were highly useful and very engaging. I was so impressed that I took Jonathan Zur up on his offer to bring the training to my elementary school. The entire staff embraced the training and realized that we just did not know, what we did not know to really have an impact on ALL of our students. Throughout the workshop, teachers felt empowered in ways that reminded us all why we got into education. Jonathan and the team from VCIC provided ongoing training throughout the school year that motivated, educated and inspired the entire school community. Our school experienced increased student performance, decreased discipline, and a culture emerged that made our school a great place to learn and a rewarding place to teach.
Incredible support, organized and expert staff!
VCIC is a priceless resource for the Virginia community. Particular to my experience, their engagement with schools public and private means a consistent, professional and up-to-the-moment cultural competency message for youth around the region -- and (maybe more importantly) for faculty and administrators who MUST toe the mark on equity, empathy and inclusion in schools to give our students the 21st century skills we promise as educators. VCIC can make an educator's job easy in this respect. They are so willing to collaborate, meet groups where they are, invent paths in previously untrod areas of professional development, and be a real partner in education. I am so grateful for their work and look forward to years of partnership to come. THANK YOU.
VCIC changed my life! I went to connections when I was 15 and I completely found myself there. I discovered that I wasn't alone, and that I was valid. I don't know what my life would be like if I hadn't gone to connections.
Jonathan Zur is an excellent speaker and facilitator. He has led an Inclusive Community Session for freshmen at Virginia Wesleyan College for two years now and each time I marvel at how he commands the attention of 400 students and effectively communicates the principles of inclusivity! We are grateful for his leadership of this exercise. It sets the tone for respect and understanding all year long.
I participated in Connections when I was in high school, and it was an extremely eye opening experience! I have since attended a few VCIC events, and I have kept in touch with many of the people I met there. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity, and I would highly recommend VCIC programs to friends!
I went to this camp the summer of 2014 and I came back not someone different, but changed, a better version of myself.
I knew vaguely of what the camp was about but never would I have guessed everything it would come to mean to me. With a week long camp you expect to learn a few things, do camp-y things that a school would send you to, but this was life changing.
The minute you got off the vans you were no longer just some kids that were sent to camp you were delegates sent to change your school, your community, your world view. Treated with respect, every opinion was valued and even put on the "Wall of Learning", the mentors there were some of the most amazing people I have had the opportunity to meet and I wish I could do justice to all that was taught to me.
I use in my everyday life the tools and information learned at camp, taking time to educate others and stop myself from making the uneducated choices I would have made. Minds change and so do people and I have seen a difference in the people I have been able to talk to and learn from.
I made friends that I still talk to now and I feel are in it for the long haul.
I could never properly express for how much this camp did for me. I cried so much while I was there and just thinking of it makes me want to cry. It was reality, being broken out of your bubble, and I can never sing enough praises. I could never repay how much I have gained from what I was taught and how much it has impacted my life. Brilliant. And I hope I can help even one person the way this camp helped me.
I came to Connections with an inner moral conflict. I knew that I would consider the experience something new with a positive mentality, but I was conflicted with the possibility that it might just be a social experience reminding me of my "lack of a better word" strangeness. Through simple activities and mind-opening workshops, my perspective on life changed. Connections will always be considered one of the happiest moments of my life, and I consider Connections in high regard. I love what they did for me and my happiness.
I had an opportunity to participate in a program created for people at my college. I had doubts that I would learn anything new about diversity, but I was very surprised. I bonded with people that I would have typically assumed I shared nothing in common with me. Years after participating, those people are my closest friends.
VCIC is a valuable organization that is doing such important work related to respect and civility, particularly in an educational setting. The "Break the Cycle: Be the Change" program was very well-received by Sweet Briar students--it both promoted thinking and conversations and helped us to further develop programs and efforts to continue and deepen the conversation. We are in the process of exploring other program possibilities for student staff training and for faculty/staff development. Jonathan and Alison are also a delight to work with!
When I went to project I was lost as what I was going for. When I got there the teachers were full of excitement and ready to create a bond with us. During the time I was there I learned many problems that we face in everyday life. Some that I didn't notice. I met new people and built relationships with them. We had fun but at the same time we learned. We grew not obly as friends but as a family of all different kinds of shapes,races,colors and personalities . No one felt left alone or left behind. There were moments where we laugh but also cried together. Learning others backgrounds about what they have been through was amazing. Some people you can't even tell what they've been through until they said it. We learned about sexuality ,faces,bullying,suicide & understanding. Project inclusion was a very helpful and wonderful learning experience. Made me look at life,people and things different. I loves it