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VICCC Fall 2023 Newsletter

VICCC gained local attention and made new friends when our garden was included as a Point of Interest on July's well-attended New River Valley Garden Tour. With the enthusiastic participation and hard work of members of the Southside Garden Club, our entryway was transformed into a welcoming committee of frogs, minions, mushrooms, flowers, and a dog named Max, all created from terracotta plant pots. The raised-bed garden and stepping stones that our VICCC kids have created (with help, and in memory of Cathy Jacobs), offered visitors a welcoming riot of petunias, lantanas, impatiens, hostas, and other summer delights. Added to the real flowers were "flowers"created from plastic soda bottles and mounted on green metal "stems". Added to the garden is our Little Library post, the inspiration of VICCC's Creative Director Elizabeth Foster. A brightly painted box, mounted on a post, holds books that our young scholars can take home and share with their parents. One of VICCC's most basic beliefs is that reading is fundamental to success in life, and, even better, is a real joy--especially when parents and children share the happiness of reading together."Oh, the places you'll go", when you can read a book!

We owe so many thanks to Southside members Felice Proctor, Necia Evans, Linda Monroe, Rosemary Hartmann, and especially to the creative team of Sue Brilliant and Anne Robinson, who worked tirelessly to create a delightful vision for everyone at VICCC. And thanks go to Christian Miller, who installed the library post; to John Brilliant for his skills (and for the use of his garage while the creativity took over), and to Dave Roper, who generously supported our purchases of plants and craft materials. It truly takes a village.

Now we look forward to our next big project, the restoring and upgrading of our playground. We are envisioning a trike track, the sanding and repainting of our storage shed, a music wall featuring instruments and sounds, and lots of gardening. Do you have some ideas about how we can turn our playground into a magical setting for our children? Don't hold back. The VICCC Board has approved the creation of a garden task force, and we would value your thoughts and suggestions. Please email Jeanne Roper ( with your ideas!

Today is your day! | A Bob Schulman Grant Update by Debby Hix

The first line of Dr. Seuss’ iconic book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, is “Congratulations! Today is your day.”Graduation Day at VICCC was certainly “your day”, not just for the graduates leaving VICCC for kindergarten, but for every child who has the privilege of attending VICCC. Judy Shelor graciously invited me to attend the graduation ceremony, to observe first-hand what a generous bequest to VICCC from my husband, Bob Schulman, is supporting. After receiving Bob’s bequest following his death in 2021,and after much thoughtful consideration, in the 2022-2023 school year VICCC initiated two new programs focusing on music and art as a means to deeply enhance the educational experience for its students.

These programs used a curriculum called Musikgarten, under the guidance of Sarah Gilmore, and an art curriculum custom-designed by Elizabeth Foster, one of the Founding Grandmothers of VICCC. The delightful graduation ceremony showcased all ages, from infants and toddlers, to preschoolers and summer students, performing music, using instruments such as drums, tambourines, and bells, funded from Bob’s bequest. Art work displayed around the walls showed the creative variety of media and art forms the children created, including how they learned about colors, geometry, and other vital concepts through their art. And in addition to art and music, from Bob’s bequest, VICCC students also were able to have yoga, robotics and a soccer program. A particularly gratifying moment for me was when, after the ceremony, the grandmother of a student told me her grandson wants to learn to playthe cello! Without this music program, he likely would not have had a hands-on introduction to this beautiful instrument, especially at such a young age.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go is about this journey of life we all are on. One of Bob’s life passions was young children; he was absolutely remarkable with them. For almost 20 years, Bob went regularly to pre-schools in our area and read stories to children, acting out the characters as he read. Students,teachers, and parents all loved him, and he became known as “Storyman Bob”. In the grocery store, at the movies, at a restaurant, children to whom he had read would often run up to him – sometimes years later – exclaiming “Storyman Bob, Storyman Bob!” Storyman Bob was, and still is, a legend in Blacksburg.

Yes, Graduation Day was certainly “your day” for every student, parent, grandparent, and familymember; every teacher, staff, and Board member; indeed, every person in any way associated withVICCC. This amazing place is doing amazing work with these very special children, and Bob would bethrilled with what has been accomplished through the creative and intentional use of his bequest.VICCC’s Graduation Day was, indeed, his day, too.

Notes From The Director

Here at VICCC we have had music and art and soccer and yoga going on. This newsletter is full of photos of the activities that we had this summer. The children have been kept busy.All of these activities were done at no charge to any of our parents. With the addition of the Bob Schulman music and art program, we have increased our efforts to expose the children to new mediums and educational experiences. We have continued to give books away to the children each month. The graduation and annual program was such a fun night for our families. They got to see their children show off their musical talents. We had a graduation with a photo booth included. Our children are leaving here better than they came. They are better equipped to start on a new adventure. We will miss them all, but oh the places they will go.

Judy Shelor

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