RECAP: Vision-Strengths-Arts Festival

9th Annual Vision-Strengths-Arts Festival

Can you imagine 1,500 K-12 students on the quad at UNCP? One might think about kids jumping around playing and laughing. Others might think about what it would take to maintain order and structure. Well some faculty, staff, and at least 40 UNCP student volunteers on campus got to experience both of these perspectives first-hand and more.

On Wednesday, October 5th 2011, UNCP hosted disabled students from the Public Schools of Robeson County. The day began with a Principals Breakfast in the Faculty Dining Room on campus. The children arrived in several buses and immediately began exploring activities such as dancing, crafts, playing instruments and even a gigantic parachute, just to name a few. A local high school ROTC Squad & Cheerleading Team assisted in keeping all the guest entertained and escorting groups across campus.

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The youth were also able to participate in a live performance given by National Theatre of the Deaf in GPAC. There were several large props on stage, actors, music, and sign language. Two UNCP students spoke about their journey through college in the face of their disabilities; it got emotional for many in attendance and their speeches were followed by thunderous applause.

Some of the youth from the public schools shared their stories about living in Pembroke and their dreams. Several planned to attend UNCP while others discussed joining the military.

This annual event has been going strong for 9 years. Our community expects to celebrate the 10th Anniversary next year with a bang!

Check out some of what UNCP student volunteers had to say about what they learned and how the event impacted the community:

  • I learned that I actually had a great time helping out with the festival. The kids/community were great.
  • I’ve learned that disability doesn’t matter. What matters is the support and love of the community.
  • When I came out here, I thought I was going to be bored. These kids are such an inspiration. They deserve this. They truly are a joy.
  • I learned that Pembroke is a tight and loving community. Everyone is nice and respectful. I learned a lot about my leadership skills.
  • I didn’t know that we had as many disabled children in the community. It is good to see the community doing good things for them.
  • I learned I can interact with kids in a very fun way. The community is very cheerful and has a lot of spirit.
  • I learned that it does not take much to make an impact on a small child.
  • I learned that our community shows that they care about the young kids that are growing up. I also learned that I find it very fun and enjoyable to work with the little kids.
  • After working with students today, I learned how important it is to have compassion and patience. It was a very rewarding feeling to walk with a community that reaches out to students.
  • I showed the kids how to always be positive.
  • I believe that I made a lot of kids smile today.
  • I have a greater respect for teachers.
  • My goal was to make a difference in a child’s life. I believe I did.
  • The kids will remember this day for weeks and we were a part of that experience.
  • The impact that I had today was watching a little boy in a wheel chair smiling and laughing at people dancing.
  • I talked to a lot of the children so I believed just being there and being patient showed them that I care about them.
  • They were a blast to watch have fun.
  • I had a great time!!!
  • These kids are the best!
  • They are the cutest kids I ever did see! Let’s do more with them!
  • These kids were very funny and had a great amount of energy.
  • The kids were really excited about the crafts. One little boy said it was awesome.
  • I helped a little boy stamp a picture. As we were stamping we talked about mixing colors to make a new color. We used red and blue to make purple.

We provide opportunities for college students to recognize their civic potential and take initiative to develop it. Students enrich and enhance their education experience through active, engaged service.

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