While no one can know exactly what the next year will bring, we believe in the resiliency and power of our students and members. This blog series will highlight some of their personal accomplishments, new Vista opportunities and events that focus on Personal Development, one of Vista's core values.
Over the last year, we have been thrilled to see the Vista community grow and thrive despite the pandemic, while also having new students join our adult transition program, Discover. We are particularly proud of the important role that has been played by some existing Discover students - our Vista Student Ambassadors - in the welcoming of new students to the program.
Student Ambassadors are role models in the Discover Program, supporting new students with their transition at Vista and even assisting prospective students and families during the tour process. With the onset of COVID, Vista needed to adapt our campus tour process - designing and offering "virtual tours" rather than in-person meetings - a pivot that required our Student Ambassadors to also adapt their presentations and effort by learning to connect with prospective students and families over Zoom (to read more about this in our previous blog posts, click here or here).
Maya (left) and Catherine (right) are Vista Student Ambassadors who meet with prospective students and families in person and virtually
Recently, our Admissions team and Student Ambassadors worked with a prospective family who was eager to see our newly renovated space in Westbrook and take a peek inside a Discover dormitory bedroom. Two of our experienced Student Ambassadors, roommates Maya and Catherine, were greatly involved in assisting with this process.
With the help of Admissions Manager Suzanne Gregory, we first shared a recording of the two roommates giving a tour of their bedroom and its adjoined bathroom. Next, Maya and Suzanne toured with the family in person, showing them our newly-renovated Education and Training Center on our Westbrook campus while Catherine met virtually with the prospective student.
In a candid moment during the recorded bedroom tour, the roommates bumped elbows as they began talking about their friendship...demonstrating the sense of community and support that defines our program and our students
In each of these steps, Maya and Catherine did more than just answer questions...they shared their own stories and who they are. This simple but powerful concept, that you can change the lives of others around you by being yourself, is at the heart of Vista's philosophy. We love seeing how our Student Ambassadors inspire others...(including the many students applying to become new Ambassadors this year)!
Of note, since this particular tour experience, Maya and Catherine have both moved into Vista's training condominiums - which require more independence and offer less structured support - as their next step to further develop their independent living skills in preparation for moving into (and managing) their own households.
Many things will change, but the Vista community continues to grow and thrive.
Thank you for being on this journey with us!
More to come!
Valentine's Day is this weekend! Share the gift of love by shopping at Creations, Vista's retail social enterprise. Visit us in-store in Madison or shop online at creationsmadison.com.
Use the code LOVE for 10% off your order online or in-store!
All proceeds from Creations support the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Shop Well. Do Good.
Please note: The image of Connor, a Vista member and sales associate at Creations, was taken prior to the rise of COVID in the U.S.