The Community Education Program was developed to facilitate open and productive communication between Vista and the community.
Vista encourages and assists students to integrate into the communities where they work and live. The goal of the Community Education Program is to increase the community’s understanding of Vista and acceptance of people with disabilities. Vista as an organization reaches out to connect with individuals, businesses and organizations that interact with the students on a regular basis. The Community Education Program is comprised of three major components: Diversity Awareness Program, Community Awareness Program and Community Relations Program.
Diversity Awareness Program
The Diversity Awareness Program was launched in 2004. The goal of the Diversity Awareness Program is to increase the knowledge regarding disabilities within the community in order to demystify this issue and promote greater general acceptance of individuals who have disabilities. As Vista is a community based training program, our students’ and members’ success is based on their full integration into the wider community. Promoting community acceptance is also extremely important to Vista’s mission.
Vista developed this program which consists of presentations by Vista students/members to promote tolerance, respect, and acceptance of individuals with disabilities among school children of middle and high school age. Each presentation involves 3-4 Vista students and members who present speeches which address what it is like to have disabilities and issues of bullying and harassment which are now of national concern. The Vista students/members also describe what they have achieved and what their lives are like now. This resonates with the middle and high school students from schools and youth organizations located along the shoreline who have similar interests and concerns.
Community Awareness Program
The Community Awareness Program proactively reaches out to organizations and groups located in Connecticut. The main focus is to educate people in the community about Vista as an organization. During these presentations Vista’s mission, philosophy and the scope what we do are described. In the Community Awareness Program, communication and education are the key components. Students and members are asked to participate by describing their experiences since they arrived at Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center.
Community Relations Program
Maintaining positive relationships with individuals and organizations with in our local community is extremely important. The goal is to ensure that whenever possible that community interactions conclude with community members and organizations having a positive impression of Vista and its students and members.