Friday, October 2, 2015

In Their Own Voices

YES Institute's signature Communication Solutions™ course attracts people far and wide, and offers unique takeaways to each participant. Elijah, a Miami-Dade County Public School senior, and Susan, a former corporate communications consultant, who is now a mental health student, share their insights.
Martha Fugate, Co-founder of YES Institute (left), interacting with Elijah (center)
and Joseph Zolobczuk, Director of Education (right).

Elijah shares, "I once heard someone say that, 'the first thought that comes to mind is what you have been trained to think. The second thought shows who you really are.' 

I saw this idea in action when I participated in Communications Solutions™. So often as people, we are in 'default mode' – we see someone who is different, not 'like us', and our thoughts and reactions aren't always the nicest. I discovered that I have many  preconceived ideas of how people and the world 'should be'. There is no way of stopping myself from going to that place of judgement. 

And I also learned I can take responsibility for these thoughts and judgements. I can recognize them as automatic 'reactions', not necessarily what I truly or deeply feel for others. Genuine interaction and listening – especially when we disagree with one another – takes effort. But now I have a way to be fully engaged in a conversation. 

I learned my voice does matter. I never felt like it did. YES Institute has already invited me to speak at two courses and a community dialogue. When I did share my story, it felt liberating. There were actually others interested in what I have to say." 

Susan shares, "A few weeks ago I enrolled in Communications Solutions™ for the second time.It had been such a powerful, impactful experience when I participated in the course last year. I wondered what more I could I learn? 

What I discovered this time around was about my own self – and about the vulnerabilities I and others share, regardless of our personal backgrounds. One of the steps of the model requires, 'to be with another authentically'. Sounds simple enough, right? However, it was a deep lesson in knowing to truly be with another, I first need to be in touch with my own feelings and vulnerabilities – my own authentic self. When I can let myself 'be', I find it much easier to let others 'be'. It brought me a sense of peace with myself, and a sense of peace with others.  

Communications Solutions™ offered by YES Institute is something to be experienced. What makes this course so impactful is the courage of the participants to discover their humanity, find their passion, and open up their voices. I'm considering taking the course a third time!" 

If you would like more information about attending the next Communication Solutions™ contact our enrollment team at 305-663-7195 (weekdays 9am-5pm) or visit

Inspired? Many youth and families attend these courses on partial scholarships, which we are able to offer thanks to donors and investors in our work. Your tax-deductible contributions make a difference! Donate today.

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