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“Oh to be back to in-person training! What a great feeling!”

The Center recently hosted its first in-person training since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the training, one of our trainers, Candice Helton, wrote a reflection piece describing her experience. Her reflection embodies the love and passion we have for what we do, and what we mean by keeping families and communities at the Center. Please find her reflection piece below.

Candice Helton, wrote a reflection piece describing her experience.
The Center recently hosted its first in-person training.

I don’t know about you, but the past few years of learning, professional development, and training have held both challenges and joys for me, personally. Much of my work since my hire date in late 2020 consists of delivering online trainings monthly to child welfare professionals statewide. As satisfying as this work is, I’d be lying if I did not share how the isolation of working virtually as a facilitator of adult learning has left me feeling lacking at times, missing engagement, and missing the stimulation of an in-person learning environment.

Prior to working at the Center, I wanted to become a trainer and travel to different North Carolina counties and regions to facilitate and deliver in-person curricula. I enjoy meeting new people, connecting with them through the work they do, and assisting in providing information, resources, and new skills. Following post-pandemic safety protocols for safe work environments, I had not engaged in facilitating any in person-trainings… until last month!

During the second half of the year, an opportunity presented itself to our training team. We were to deliver a mini workshop presentation to a community partner agency–
IN PERSON, and I was thrilled! When asked about a community agency who could benefit from such a workshop, I knew exactly whom I wanted to recommend—the Rockingham County Partnership for Children. Before coming to work at the Center, I had the pleasure of working for this agency, and still kept in touch with several staff members. Being familiar with the work they do within their community, I felt confident this workshop would be something useful to support their community engagement. Upon my communication with them, they accepted the Center’s proposal immediately and set a date for the workshop.

A week before the event, my nerves started to kick in. While I knew I would be seeing familiar faces, I was also keenly aware of the expectation of the work they had received from me in the past, and I knew I had to do a good job. The day of the event was truly a full-circle moment for me. I walked into a room full of familiar and new faces and, with my training partner, we shared new information and tools with the same agency that had offered me my first look into what true professional partnership looks like.

I couldn’t have asked for a better first in-person experience. The half-day workshop flew by, and when it was over, we received an invitation for our team to come back and deliver the next workshop in this learning series and continue the work. It was a great day! With renewed passion and energy for learning, the learned importance of personal connections, and the gained value of meeting people where they are in the training room impressed itself on my mind. I will not forget this experience and I look forward to more in-person trainings and workshops this coming year!”

-Candice Helton