‘Speak Up!’: Communication class for kids headed to SCHC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A pair of enthusiastic workshop leaders hopes to work their magic on a group of fourth-through-sixth graders during Vicksburg public schools’ next intercession week, leading a communication camp sponsored by the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation.

Vicksburg natives Sharonda Bristow Medina and Kim Martin Stribling of the firm Legacy will lead “Speak Up!,” a communication class for children, Jan. 6-8. Classes will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The workshop will be limited to 30 registrants, and reservations are required. Cost of the three-day camp is $135.

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“Speak Up!,” a communication class for children in fourth through sixth grade, will be Jan. 6-8, at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center. Cost is $135 and includes materials and snacks, but participants must bring lunch. Registration is limited to 30. For more information, call 631-2997 or by e-mail.

“Any student who signs up for this is going to walk away thrilled that they were there,” Medina said.

“And I think the parents will be grateful, too,” Stribling added. “We want them to walk away ready to make a difference in the home, at school and in the community.”

With so many youngsters “active in a virtual world,” as Medina put it, the goal of the workshop is to foster in-person, face-to-face speaking confidence and leadership skills. “We thought it would be a good partnership with the SCHF, and wanted to work with fourth-through-sixth graders, those tweens. That’s when those communication skills develop.”

Southern Cultural Heritage Center Director Annette Kirklin said, in planning the workshop, organizers hope to provide a resource for parents looking for activities for their children during intercession week, a time when students in the Vicksburg Warren School District either have a week off or a chance for remediation. 

“I know the importance for kids to have these types of abilities in life,” Kirklin said. “What better time than to do it early?”

Kids are expected to be polite and to be good listeners, Stribling said, but they aren’t born knowing how to do that. They must be taught.

The workshop will include hands-on demonstrations, role playing and other avenues for active learning. “Kids learn by modeling, then practice. This empowers them,” Medina said. “They’ll learn things they can do to make an impact on their world.”

Also, a time for students to think about what they’ve learned and put it into perspective in their own words is provided. “There is always a time set aside for reflection, where we ask a lot of open-ended questions,” she added. “When they come up with their own answers, the learning sticks.”

Stribling and Medina joined forces 2 1/2 years ago on a part-time basis. They worked so well together and were so “energized,” they said, by their work, they jumped in full time this year.

The duo handles events for groups large or small, planning, curriculum development, speaking and performing any tasks appropriate to the goals of their clients. They have arranged and led church retreats for a dozen staffers, and carried out a chapel service for a nearby college that drew 1,000 attendees, and handled events for more moderate-sized groups as well.

“Everything is customized to the group and based on their goals,” Medina said. “We’re given a theme, and we develop a curriculum around that.”

Registration for “Speak Up!” includes supplies, materials and snacks. Students will need to bring lunch each day, along with “their enthusiasm, an open mind and a readiness to have fun,” Medina added.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at phitchins@vicksburgpost.com