The Office of Volunteerism and Community Services (OVCS) AmeriCorps team, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education, hosted the first national service Education Summit event in March. This opportunity was possible through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Commission Investment Funds for training and technical assistance. The three all-day events were attended by more than 80 individuals in Chester (March 11), Danville (March 15), and Fredericksburg (March 16).
The summits were aimed primarily at AmeriCorps State/National and AmeriCorps VISTA members, program staff and their partners. Other invited attendees included Senior Corps volunteers. Each summit offered best practices in youth development, idea sharing among peers, and related training from subject matter experts. Virginia AmeriCorps programs who primarily serve in education and youth literacy programs serve children and youth in the classroom, afterschool, and out-of-school-time. Pre-assessments from participants revealed multiple challenges stemming in today’s classrooms or in youth-centered environments. Local subject matter experts presented training on trauma-informed care, behavioral challenges, youth development, parental engagement, and other topics that affect our youth.
Summit keynote speaker Monique Williams, M.A., Trainer, and Consultant, opened each summit with a plenary session on the widespread impact that trauma has on vulnerable youth populations. Her highly interactive session “Realizing, Recognizing & Responding to Avoid Re-Traumatization of Vulnerable Youth Populations” informed participants of how trauma-informed response in both the educational and community setting would help prevent re-traumatization. Overall, these summit events allowed each participant highly valuable tools and resources for themselves and the students and youth they serve in the community. A host of other powerful speakers included Rodney Nelson Sidney II, MSW., Dyverynce Lambert, Ronnie Gehring, MSW., Jenna L. Foster, and Calvin Nunnally, Sr.
AmeriCorps members reflect on the Danville Community College summit:
"As I reflect on the summit and consider what I took away from it; the best words that come to mind are patience and understanding. I believe that often we all are quick to make assumptions about our students based purely from their actions. While it is that we all live and work in a fast-paced society, we all need to stop and look at the bigger picture. Ms. Williams, at the summit, spoke about taking the time to mentor and establish connections that could make a lasting impression on the life of a child. We as educators, owe this to every child that we teach. I went to school on the day after the summit with an open mind and with a renewed spirit."
Carroll County Public Schools, Lift Up AmeriCorps Tutor
"I hope to use the information I received to make learning more fun for my students and to help them be excited about learning. I want to use the skills I learned to encourage them and instill in them the belief that they are able regardless of their circumstances. I want them to know they are safe with me."
Carroll County Public Schoools, Lift Up AmeriCorps Tutor