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VICCC Spring 2023 Newsletter

Board Spotlight | Judy Shelor

Our Champion Becomes a NRV Champion

Anyone who knows VICCC understands that Judy Shelor has been VICCC’s champion for the last 11 years. As

Executive Director, she values and advocates for the children, the staff, the board, the donors, and the wider

world of professional childcare. Last fall, 2022, the New River Valley recognized her leadership as the

Community Foundation of the New River Valley selected her as an Early Childhood Champion, an honor so well deserved. We at VICCC said “We knew it all along!” Judy grew up in Montgomery County, the youngest of six, in a family where her mother was the stable influence. Judy married her high school sweetheart, David, moved to Northern Virginia, and had two daughters, Heather and Sarah. She also is raising another chosen daughter, her great niece, Ava. After her divorce, she returned to NRV and eight years ago married Mike Shelor, a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy, adored by Judy and her children.

Judy’s professionalism and knowledge has been developing in childcare since 2001 where she began eight years as an assistant teacher in the Growing Tree, Christiansburg. She was Assistant Director at Learning Ladder for a year and then spent time at Cooper House in the morning and supervisor at VICCC in the afternoon. Fortunately for VICCC, she moved from being VICCC’s Administrative Assistant to become Director of VICCC in 2012. Circumstances in Judy’s background contribute to her excellent management style and empathy for students and families. Going to Head Start where her mother was a teacher enabled her to grow up with a diverse group of children who became her friends. Further, she spent 19 years as a single mother beginning with a time living in low-income housing and having no car. She credits her daughter Heather with helping her develop her internal drive since Judy had to stand up for her daughter as a disabled child in the school system. This drive resulted in her acquiring her degree while working two jobs and raising children and in taking advantage of every training and educational program for childcare administration and grant supervision that came her way.

Judy loves VICCC’s mission as a non-profit dedicated to making caring, superior childcare available to children who might not otherwise have this opportunity in the New River Valley. She believes this mission enables her and the staff to truly have careers–she sees it as a calling, rather than just jobs. Among the qualities that make Judy proud at VICCC are the high quality of the staff and the educational experience they offer, the joy the children and parents express, the exemplary safety record, the high marks VICCC receives for transparent and accountable business practices, the solid enactment of a business plan, the growth of income from funding from the community and from grants that have been obtained, the good relationships among board members and Judy and staff, the development of a highly successful summer program for children 5 to 11 years old, the resilience of VICCC during the COVID period when VICCC lost half of its staff and half of the children, and the overall growth of VICCC into a very professional, solid childcare center. Although she is too modest to claim credit, Judy was instrumental in making all of this happen.

Noting that parents are so busy with trying to make ends meet today, she feels one important lesson they learn at VICCC is “cause and effect.” She recalls the many times children are told “We don’t do this (hitting, biting, being mean) at school because it hurts others. We take turns and share at school so that everyone gets a chance. “ She is also proud of the program where all classes focus on a book for a month and, every month, every child takes home a book of their own. Also she noted how VICCC responds to needs. For example, one important part of the summer school program is soccer. Finding

out that the reason the children didn’t practice soccer between one summer and the next was because they didn’t have soccer balls, all children left that summer with a ball and a tee shirt. Additionally, she is thrilled that the Shulman grant is making possible excellence in a program integrating music and art with science, reading, and other learning.

A vision for the future in Judy’s thoughts is enlarging the footprint of VICCC in the New River Valley. This may take place through growth in the number of children and staff in one center or, perhaps, in two centers. No matter where VICCC goes in the future, the excellence it has achieved will be ensured by the leadership of our champion and NRV’s champion, Judy Shelor. We are so lucky to have her!

Bob Schulman | Music and Art Project

We've been busy introducing new songs & games focused on music & art,

the kiddos are loving every second of it

Notes From The Director

I am excited for spring. It gets busy here at that time of year. We are gearing up for our summer school program and our annual graduation. In addition to our year-round music and art program, we will add Robotics, soccer, and yoga for the children. We will welcome 15 school-aged children back to our center. Most of these are siblings of our currently enrolled children or students who have graduated to the elementary school and return to us in the summer. It is amazing to see the growth in the children after being gone for a school year. This summer we are beginning to plan for some gardening spaces that will be possible in the next year or so. We are intentional about the choices that we are making to engage the children at all levels. We are so thankful that the Renaissance Music Academy agreed to come in and engage our children in listening and making music. These experiences are so important because they allow the children to experience new things in a

hands-on way. We know that young children learn through their experiences and we are always looking to expand those experiences. I want to thank you all for your support of these programs. Because of your giving, we can continue the good work of VICCC. This has always been the vision, to offer children a place that they can learn, and love, and grow. That happens everyday here at VICCC.

Judy Shelor

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