A series introducing the individuals who promote and lead the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities’ work.
Retiring after 21 years in the U.S. Army, SFC(R) Rita K. Raphael participated in the Troops to Teachers program, leading her to a second career as an educator. She is now incredibly successful and popular at Hampton High School, where she serves as a career and technology teacher and sponsor of the Step Team, Diversity Club, and Family, Career and Consumer Leaders of America (FCCLA) club.  Rita has also twice been a facilitator for the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities’ Project Inclusion program.
Recently honored by Troops to Teachers and profiled for her efforts in the Daily Press, Rita shares her view that “every moment is a teaching moment, young or old it doesn’t matter. I believe in living a life that treats everyone with dignity and respect. I can only live my life and pray that I can be an example and model for those that I come in contact with.”
She has modeled that approach at VCIC’s programming, facilitating conversations for high school students with passion and care.  With a keen ability to connect with students from a variety of backgrounds, Rita adds that “An inclusive community to me means unwrapping that gift inside and sharing it with the world we live in. Without organizations such as VCIC, it is easy to lose sight of how different and beautifully and wonderfully made we all are!”  


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