The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities’Harold M. Marsh, Sr. Connections Instituteis a five-day residential program during the summer that allows high school student participants (called “delegates”) to break barriers, deal with biased behavior, and develop an action plan to reduce prejudice in their schools. In addition, delegates gain insight into their own lives and values.  Many past participants call the program “transformative,” “powerful,” and “the most meaningful experience of their lives.”
In preparation for the 2014 Connections Institute, we asked past delegates to share their advice for new participants.  Here is what they had to say:

  • “I would say the sooner you trust and know that this is a very safe place where you can be yourself and learn, the sooner you will have the best experience ever.” – Reid
  • “Be open! And absorb as much knowledge as you can but most importantly have the best time of your life because it is something you will never forget!!” – Brendan
  • “Enjoy every second you have there because it will honestly be the best week of your life.” – Meg
  • “Don’t be afraid to dive in and participate! The more effort you put in to learn and grow, the more you’ll get out of the experience.” – Katie
  • “Speak up! If you’re shy or scared of people’s reactions, know that your opinion will matter to the closeness of the group, and the things you’ll learn.” – Mac
  • “Really take time to inhale the information and perspectives of everyone around you, be open minded and get to know the people.” – Brooke
  • “Keep an open mind, talk to everyone and enjoy the love and knowledge everyone has to offer!” – Michiyia
  • “Try to make the best out of it. You may be a little bit uncomfortable at times, but that just means you’re getting out of your comfort zone and growing as an individual.” – Eric
  • “Learn as much as you can but have fun, and also be willing to share your story too.” – Kay
  • “Step outside of your comfort zone as quickly as possible. Also make an effort to meet everyone or as many people as you can.” – Jack
  • “Don’t be afraid to express yourself because no one is going to judge you. Meet new people. Have fun!” – Kara
  • “Mix it up at meals! Step out of your comfort zone and sit with some people that you haven’t talked to yet.” – Alec
  • “Really get to know the adults!!! They have huge hearts and are some of the greatest people out there! You will never forget them!” – Michelle

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