Unity Week

Join us for a week-long inclusive celebration and acceptance of others. The City of Virginia Beach presents Unity Week from Oct. 16-22 with various action-oriented initiatives.

Unity Week 2022_email300x200.pngWhy Unity Matters

Initiated by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation's (VBPR) Inclusion Services unit in 2018, Unity Week is a celebration of individual differences and a movement towards embracing the unique aspects that set individuals apart with positivity and acceptance. 

Today, Unity Week is an organization-wide initiative that also comprises of community partners including Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), and the Interfaith Alliance at the Beach (IAB).

Bow Creek Block Party
UNITY DAY | Wednesday, October 19​

WEAR and SHARE ORANGE to come together in one giant message uniting our nation for kindness, acceptance and inclusion, and even the world, to visibly show that we believe no child should ever experience bullying.


 Unity Week Programs

​Unity Week Programs

FAMFISHCLINIC.png Unity Week Community Art Project | Tuesday, October 18: 2-4pm | Wednesday October 19: 3:30-5:30pm
Join Virginia Beach community members from across the City in the creation of a largescale community art installation. Attendees will receive a paper quilt square to decorate in celebration of Unity Week 2022. The quilt's theme is "belonging," and all completed squares will be combined to hang at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library on Wednesday, October 19th. All Ages. No registration Required.

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Unity and Inclusivity Doodles | Monday, October 17 - October 22 | 3-5pm

It's Unity and Anti-Bullying Week! Come to the Oceanfront Area Library Teen Zone from 3-5PM every day to create Unity and Inclusivity Doodles! Check out the Teen Zone every day from October 17 through October 22 for a new craft or doodle prompt! Grades 6-12. No registration required.



FAMFISHCLINIC.png Belonging Storytime & Craft | Wednesday, October 19 | 11-11:45am

Join us during Unity Week for fun stories, songs, and a craft on friendships, feelings, and what it means to belong.
Ages 3-5 with caregiver. Registration is required.


FAMFISHCLINIC.png Unity Line Dance Party | Thursday, October 20 | 6:30-7:30pm

Join us for a celebration of UNITY as we dance the night away with pop and dance music that honors positive energy and fun vibes. We'll explore different dance styles taught in a line dancing style format.



 Resource Guide

Unity Week Resource Guide

We encourage you to creatively display efforts of inclusion. In this resource guide, you’ll find suggestions on how you can get involved in Unity Week 2022. This guide is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point for you to figure out what works best for your group or organization. Click here to download a printable version!

We’d love to see how you’re supporting Unity Week, so please send photos to FUN@VBGOV.COM!

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Orange
for Anti-Bullying

One of the primary reasons Unity Week is held in October is because October is National Bully Prevention Month. Further, the color orange has been chosen by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to symbolize all unity initiatives. 

By displaying orange, and providing education as to why we display orange, we can help set an expectation of Belonging for all people in our community!



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Words Matter

Simple signage can go a long way! 

By updating marquees or other forward-facing displays to include messages of belonging, our mission of inclusion can be conveyed through one of the most popular communication styles.





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CommUNITY Trees

Description: Trees can used to symbolize unity and Belonging in a variety of ways. As a craft, leaves can feature writings of what makes us all unique, what Belonging means to us, or how we plan to promote Belonging in our community.

CommUNITY Trees can be created internally and shared with the public, or as an opportunity to engage with the community by including the people we serve!


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Belonging Reading List

Please download our Belonging Reading List prepared by Virginia Beach Public Libraries and share it with friends, family, neighbors and/or co-workers.

There are many great stories of inclusion that can have an incredible impact on those who read them!




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You Belong! Wristbands

By offering the public our #VBUnity/You Belong! wristbands, we give them the opportunity to show their support for inclusion.

Wristbands can be given out at front desks or other high traffic areas alongside brief descriptions or blurbs about Unity Week and its mission.



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Unity Notes

Partners can provide our unity-themed notepads to the public and encourage people to share them in the community. They can be used to keep track of daily tasks, write affirmations, or even to create interactive experiences.

An example of an interactive activity may include a ‘Take what you need, give what you can’ board/wall as an avenue to facilitate the exchange of kind messages between community members.


 Belonging Book List

Picture Books (click here for a printable version)

“Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome” by Kat Zhang and Charlene Chua – Amy’s class has a new student from China and while she tries hard to welcome him, it takes a special event- a dumpling party- to help make deeper connections.

“The Boy Who Loved Everyone” by Jane Porter and Maisie Paradise Shearing – Dimitri is so excited to start preschool. He warms up instantly to his classmates and teacher and tells them all “I love you.” At the end of the day, he’s sad because no one has told him they love him, but he eventually learns through their actions that he is accepted.

“The Buddy Bench” by Patty Brozo and Mike Deas – Some children in Mis Mellon’s class are feeling separate from the rest of the ones who are enjoying their playtime, and the whole class gets involved in creating a solution to this problem.

“My Two Blankets” by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood – A young girl from Sudan who has just moved to a new country has a difficult time getting to know a new friend who has words that are different from hers. Each time they meet, the girl brings more words, which to her are like the weaving of a new blanket, feeling a warmth like the blanket she brought from her old home.

“We Are Together” by Britta Teckentrup – Children of many cultures playing together, exploring the world make this book with cut outs and beautiful illustrations an example of belonging and unity. The book starts by saying it can be fun to do things on your own, but better to be with others as you discover the world.

Youth

“Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year” by Nina Hamza – After Ahmed and his family move back to his dad’s hometown in Minnesota from Hawaii, Ahmed experiences the challenges and the joys of belonging to a new group of friends, the support of a loving teacher, and the enthusiasm of being part of a team of book savvy students.

“A Home for Goddesses and Dogs” by Leslie Connor – An uplifting middle grade novel about recovery featuring strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.

“Other Words for Home” by Jasmine Warga – Jude and her mother move to Cincinnati, Ohio from Syria, leaving her father and brother behind. This is a life-affirming story about the power of belonging in a new place, far from home.

“Ways to Grow Love” by Renee Watson – Ryan Hart is getting ready to attend her first sleep away camp and become a big sister. In the process, she must learn how to accept and get along with some new kids, share space and become part of a group. Once the new baby arrives, Ryan figures out how to belong in a larger family.

“You are Not Alone” by Kaitlin McGaw, Tommy Soulati Shepherd and Ashley Evans – The musical duo named Alphabet Rockers from Oakland, California joined forces with artist Ashley Evans to bring one of their songs to life. In a picture book format for older readers, the song features children of many backgrounds, and a refrain that lets each person know they are seen and welcomed and honored for their unique selves.

Teen

“Scout's Honor” by Lily Anderson – Prue is training a group of teens to become Lady Bird Scouts and—unlike her Lady Bird Scout leader—Prue is focusing her scouts' training on teamwork rather than competition.

“Lakelore” by Anna-Marie McLemore – Two nonbinary teens bond over their neurodivergence, nonbinary identities, and the fact that they're the only two in town who have noticed that the lake is magical.

“A Spark of White Fire” by Sangu Mandanna – In a space opera laced with Indian mythology, a girl sets off a chain of events complicated by the presence of gods when she reveals her identity to a royal family who did not know of her existence in hopes of taking her place with them.

“The Wednesday Wars” by Gary D. Schmidt – A year of Wednesday afternoons in 7th grader Holling’s life is spent being tortured by his teacher, Mrs. Baker, who hates his guts. So how in the world does cleaning erasers, wrangling rats, and slogging through Shakespeare end up helping Holling feel grounded in his tumultuous 1960s life?

“Almost American Girl: an illustrated memoir” by Robin Ha – When Robin and her mother move to small town Alabama from Seoul Korea, she feels like an outcast. Art opens the door for her to find her own supportive community.

“You Should See Me in a Crown” by Leah Johnson – Abandoned by her best friend when high school begins, Liz—who always felt embarrassed at her differences—decides to just try to blend in. When it comes to senior year and future challenges, she discovers that belonging is not about being like everyone else; it is about being herself.

Adult

“The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters” by Priya Parker – The author proposes a human-centered approach to gatherings to help people create meaningful, memorable experiences.

“The Bookshop on the Shore” by Jenny Colgan – With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Set in Scotland.

“Win Me Something” by Kyle Lucia Wu – Willa Chen has never quite fit in. Growing up as a biracial Chinese American girl in New Jersey. A coming-of-age story about a young woman who asks what it means to belong and how to define her own life.

“The People We Keep” by Allison Larkin – After leaving her hometown where she never felt accepted, April stops to rest in Ithaca, New York and finds a sense of belonging at Café Decadence, a local coffee shop. Throughout this novel she struggles to accept that she does not have to be defined by where she came from.

“It’s Not All Downhill from Here” by Terry McMillan – At 68, Loretha Curry is on top of the world with a successful business, happy marriage and a group of lifelong friends. When she encounters a loss that changes her life, she leans on her friends to find a way forward.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Why We Celebrate

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Kid-friendly Video Resources

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Creating Conversation

 ‭(Hidden)‬ #VBUnity Videos