The Ecumen Velocity 2017 class and mentors pictured above (left to right) at the Interact Center– Front Row: Carly Erichsrud, Kelly Maas, Kylie Johnson, Tina Nessman, Gail Guck, Mentor Janelle Meyers Back Row: Brett Anderson, Nicole Anderson, Gabbi Langan, Diane Erickson, Mentor Anne Diekmann, Judy Loecken, Shannon Leininger, Mentor Christy Johnson

The 2017 Velocity class recently visited the Interact Center in St. Paul to see empowerment in action.  The center empowers people with disabilities to develop their artistic skills.

The Interact Center’s tag line is “creating art that challenges perceptions of disability.” It is a hybrid adult day and professional arts center that provides professional training in performance and visual arts. 

The Velocity leaders listened to Jeanne Calvit, the founder of Interact, tell her story and then toured the visual arts area.  The highlight was the performance by the theater group and the discussion after.

The Velocity program, now in its eight year, focuses on building leadership skills with emphasis on encouraging broader thinking, exploring innovative approaches, and developing each individual’s authentic personal leadership style. To practically apply the course work, the class has an action-learning project that addresses real issues facing Ecumen and the aging services industry.  For inspiration, Velocity participants also go on site visits outside the organization to see Ecumen’s values in action.

The Interact site visit was part of Velocity’s workshop on April 18 and 19.  This is the fourth time a Velocity class has visited the Interact Center.