This year marked the 24th VISIONS Conference and Transition Institute, held at the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center in St. Pete. Many organizations, instructors, schools, and leaders came together to learn and be informed about transitioning outside of high school, strategies, and programs to support students with disabilities. This conference aimed to give students what they need to “survive” and thrive in college, their career, and their community.
The first day consisted of the opening session, vendor displays, an inclusive postsecondary update and the President’s Reception luncheon. HDS Foundation was one of the many that showcased their organization. They had great giveaways such as cell phone pocket, privacy camera protectors. Many of the attendees stopped by and learned more about the foundation and their mission. The HDS Foundation staff also went around and met different vendors and networked. It was very nice for the staff to build a connection and relate the information learned with others in community. The rest of the weekend consisted of a variety of sessions and keynote speakers. Many of the key speakers shared their story and struggles with their disabilities and what helped them be successful. Their story was very inspirational and gave insight to the audience of what can be done. The founder Cristina Miranda Gilson’s daughter, Kate had the opportunity to speak on behalf of UNF in a panel about college housing, and share her experience with others. This was such a great opportunity for everyone to get a testimonial of the UNF programs.
The HDS Foundation had an incredible time at the conference, and learned so much from everyone who was in attendance. The staff were very excited to share the information with the rest of the of the foundation. Thank you to the Division on Career Development and Transition’s Council for Exceptional Children and the Florida Department of Education for such a fun and informational conference, and we hope to be back next year!