Skip to content

Community of Practice

Operating as Strengths-based Practices and Practitioners in Pre-ETS.

Take a moment and fill in these blanks

I wish I had more _____ in my life.

I wish youth with disabilities had more ____ in their life.

What were your answers? Confidence? Happiness? Strong relationships? Meaning and purpose?

Looking for ways to have these be a reality? If so, join us in using character strengths as a catalyst for all of these and more!

When you notice and appreciate character strengths in youth you are helping them explore and cultivate the positive qualities that come most naturally to them. They are encouraged and motivated to use their top strengths because those are the strengths that make them feel energized and authentic.

Interested in becoming a strengths-based practitioner?

A character strengths-based practice is empowering, energizing, and connecting for both practitioner and client. The practitioners embody and exhibit their own character strengths as they educate and support clients in cultivating their character strengths for boosting well-being and handling adversity as well as opportunities (Niemiec & Pearce, 2021).

Join us in our Operating as a Strengths-based Pre-ETS Practitioner training program. We gather in the virtual world (AKA Zoom) for the Introduction to Character Strengths workshop. It will kick off a 6-week, 5-session opportunity for you to explore and create a whole new way of interacting with youth with disabilities – as well as with yourself and others in the workplace.

What strengths are we talking about?

Character strengths are the positive parts of a person’s personality that make them feel authentic and engaged. We possess all 24-character strengths in different degrees, giving one a unique character strengths profile. They have been studied across industries, professions, application areas (e.g., youth, disability), areas of well-being, valued outcomes, and domains of life (Niemiec & Pearce, 2021).

Research shows that understanding and applying these strengths can help:

  • Boost confidence
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase happiness
  • Manage problems
  • Accomplish goals
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Build meaning and purpose
  • Improve work performance

How do we learn more about character strengths?

You can start by taking the VIA Survey to discover your unique character strengths profile. The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is a free self-assessment that takes less than 15 minutes.

Hold on, there’s more.

We provide access to the Top 5 Character Strengths Report that comes from your survey responses. It includes your unique profile of strengths in rank order from 1-24, plus a deep dive into the five core strengths that best capture your uniqueness and essence.

It is also a tool you can use with youth with disabilities in Pre-ETS. Using the VIA Survey for Youth, you can start a whole new conversation about possibility and inspire youth to celebrate their unique gifts. They also have a Guide to Using the Youth Survey to support Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

If you join the Community of Practice, we will also provide access to the Top 5 Report for the youth as well!

Throughout you will work with the experts!

This work is built on the concepts of positive psychology and the VIA Institute on Character is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the science of character strengths to the world. They do so by creating and validating surveys of character, supporting researchers, and developing practical strengths-based tools for individuals and professionals such as therapists, managers, and educators.

Ruth Pearce will be your instructor. You will find her to be engaging and knowledgeable (one of her top character strengths is a sense of humor). How do I know? We just finished a series, and we all came out of it invigorated and ready to operate out of our strengths. And to bring it to Pre-ETS!

Ruth Pearce, JD, PMP, ACC is VIA's Ambassador and Facilitator. She is president of ALLE LLC and co-founder of In It Together Coaching, which offers group coaching based on VIA Character Strengths. She presents regularly at conferences nationally and internationally on how to use character strengths for project management and building engaged, empowered teams. In 2018, her book Be A Project Motivator: Unlock the Secrets of Strengths-Based Project Management was published by Berrett-Koehler. In August 2021, she launched her first LinkedIn Learning course based on the book and leveraging VIA Character Strengths.

sHer motto is Be Hopeful; Be Strong; Be Brave; Be Curious.

More details about the training

Participants will

  • Increase self-knowledge of the VIA Classification of 24-character strengths using the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.*
  • Define their Top 5-character strengths,** those that are essential or best reflect who they are at their core; energizing in that expressing the strength is uplifting and elicits an increase in energy levels; and effortless in that the expression is easy and natural.
  • Have a research-based perspective of the science of character strengths in the workplace and education domains.
  • Identify the seven elements employed in a strengths-based approach in practice
  • Operationalize the definition of strengths-based practices through a framework of six core principles.
  • Apply strengths spotting with themselves and others.
  • Develop a solid grounding in character strengths science when introducing character strengths to youth with disabilities in Pre-ETS.

Training Schedule

The series will be delivered in real-time via Zoom using the following steps:

  1. Preparation: Complete VIA Survey & review Top 5 Strengths Report
  2. Online Workshop: Getting Started with Character Strengths
  3. Coaching Session: Use of profiles and how to leverage their strengths to improve well-being
  4. Online Workshop: Exploring and Applying Character Strengths in Pre-ETS Practice
  5. Coaching Session: Celebrating what’s strong and unique in youth

This training effort is designed to kick off a new Community of Practice focused on using strengths-based practices in Pre-ETS.

What is a Community of Practice (CoP)?

It's a group of people who share common concerns and challenges regarding a specific topic who come together to identify and share creative solutions.

The AIR4VR team has developed this opportunity for those of you who are interested in becoming Strengths-based Practitioners in the delivery of Pre-ETS. Once you register for the Community of Practice, you will

  1. Receive access to Youth Surveys, Top 5 Reports, and Manuals
  2. Engage with Coaches: Monthly sessions with experts to advance strengths-based Pre-ETS practices

Contact for scheduled training

Margaret Glenn, EdD, CRC

AIR4VR Project Principal Investigator, and West Virginia University Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Enis Fox-Schauffner, MS, NCC Program Manager

© 2024 - Accessible Innovative & Relevant Training for VR Counselors.

This project is funded through a grant award from the US Rehabilitation Services Administration in Innovative Training (H263C190013). It was awarded to the WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY RESEARCH CORPORATION, the faculty of the West Virginia University Department of Counseling and Learning Sciences, Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program; Reed College of Media; the University of West Georgia; and UWGLive. All materials are products of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the US Department of Education and no official endorsement should be inferred.