I am writing this letter to provide a recommendation for Mr. Ronnie N. Sidney, for public speaking engagements. I have three recent experiences where I have witnessed Mr. Sidney speaking to varied and large audiences listed below.
At our fall 2016 seminar, Mr. Sidney was featured as a keynote speaker for the Virginia Department of Education’s Aspiring Special Education Leaders Academy. He provided the student’s viewpoint to 30 mid-career administrators and teachers with information and perspective that resonated with them, as evidenced by their feedback afterwards.
In March 2016, Mr. Sidney and I shared a panel presentation at the Annual Virginia Council for Exceptional Children conference. This event included 150 participants, including public and private school teachers and administrators, university teacher education program faculty, and parents of children with disabilities. Evidence of Mr. Sidney’s cognitive and emotional connection with the audience was immediately noticeable by the questions that the participants asked and their appreciation for his advice.
Most recently, in April 2016, Mr. Sidney was the keynote speaker at Virginia’s I’m Determined Night. The audience included over 50 middle and high school students, parents, and educators. At this presentation, I noticed Mr. Sidney’s ability to connect with adult and youth -- emotionally, intellectually, and ethically.
In all the presentations that I witnessed, Mr. Sidney addressed adversity and vulnerability that we all can relate to, then magically turned it into acknowledgement, and then choosing to be determined to turn those experiences into positive actions which facilitate successful outcomes. He consistently recognizes the forces and people (including his parents and teachers) that helped him make wise choices, as evidenced by being a successful, contributing adult.
I highly recommend Mr. Ronnie N. Sidney for speaking engagements that would motivate people to understand how adversity can be overcome. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.
Patricia Abrams, Ed.D. Director,
Office of Special Education Instructional Services
Virginia Department of Education
dominican college social work program's community day event
“I thought yesterday’s event topped them all off. What I liked most about the event is that it was interactive and engaging. The speaker was young and filled with passion which was truly inspiring. It inspired me so much so to contact my old middle school teacher and thank her for helping me with my IEP the way she did. She was my version of Nelson’s Mrs.T. What I took away was that people with learning disability have a equal opportunity to do whatever they put their mind to. I have always and will also continue to be an advocate to people who "Stand Up".” (BSW Senior)
“Yesterday’s guest speaker made a huge impact on me. Knowing that one person can make such a huge impact nationwide and possibly worldwide is amazing. One thing I took from him was his determination to make a difference. Advocating for our vulnerable populations is what I want to do eventually as a social worker. The guest speaker made it very clear to me that that goal is reachable. He also helped me understand how I can go about pursuing my passion for helping others; by research, creating awareness, and not sitting back and thinking "someone else will do it. Thank you for that guest speaker.” (BSW Junior)
“I want to start off by saying that I was moved by Mr. Sidney. I related to him because I was diagnosed with dyslexia in high school. I remember being a "ninja" trying to get to my classes without any of my peers seeing me. I didn't need to be in another class room but I received extended time on my tests. It made me feel like I wasn't the only one who felt like they had to be a ninja in school.
I was amazed on how much he has accomplished. I liked how he added in teachers comments, I think it helped his audience to relate. I feel like his books will help child to realize that their not alone and to never give up. Mr. Sidney was down to earth and you could tell that he really care about our opinions. I'm happy I was a part of his audience.” (BSW Senior)
“Yesterday’s presentation was very informative. A lot of children are aware of their weaknesses and are eager to make changes, but their environment prohibits them from doing so. Teachers and staff should always be positive when working with this population, because they pick up on negative vibes and it affects their self-esteem, behavior and more… I asked a question about him using resources in college, which reminds me that I should take advantage of these free services on campus. The presentation has positively impacted me, and if I ever work with this population in the future I am able to use his tips and words of advice.” (BSW Junior) “I thought yesterday's event was great! Something that set this speaker apart from most is that he had the crowd participate and made it an interactive experience.
''The group session afterwards with the social work classes was also extremely helpful as a student graduating in May. It built my confidence hearing someone's story about their path to success and having them tell everyone how valuable we will be post-graduation.” (BSW Senior)
CARDS AND LETTERS THAT WE RECEIVED FROM TES STUDENTS
Have you attended one of our workshops or lectures? If so, we would love for you to share your experience below.
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"I had the pleasure of attending “How I Survived Special Ed” and “Dispelling the Myths About Black Fatherhood” presented by Ronnie Sidney II. The extensive research he did on both subject matters is displayed in his presentation by graphic charts, statistics and videos as well as reference guides. By sharing his own person experiences, he engages his audience into thought provoking dialect as well as allowing them to share their own perception or misperceptions of information discussed in the presentation.
Both presentations address culture misconceptions about African families especially males. Local Boys and Girls Clubs, group homes, schools, churches and civic groups would greatly benefit from these very informative and creative workshops."
"In the Office of Student Life at Reynolds Community College, we are always looking for guest speakers who will be able to handle the diverse audience and cater to the individual needs of our students. We look for guest speakers who are knowledgeable and prepared to enrich and enhance the students in which they encounter. And when we contracted, Ronnie Sidney II as a guest speaker during the Spring 2015 semester, we got all that we were looking for and more. Mr. Sidney was well prepared and held the students, faculty and staff that attending our events captive with his delivery and style. He was equal parts engaging and informed. He was able to stoke the fire to keep the students involved in conversation while adding critical discussion points that fostered learning. The Office of Student Life was pleased to have Ronnie Sidney II as a guest speaker and we plan to utilize him again in the future. He is an asset to any program. From leading a small discussion group in a recreational room to participating on a panel discussion in an auditorium, Ronnie seamlessly transitioned and provided the audience with a quality program."
Martina Allen Martina Allen, M.A.,
Student Life Specialist at Reynolds Community College
"Beating The Odds: How I Survived Special Education" Assembly for 3rd and 4th graders Tappahannock Elementary School 4/28/15
"On Tuesday, April 28 our 3rd and 4th grade students had the wonderful opportunity to attend and hear guest speaker Ronnie Sidney at TES! Mr. Sidney shared with the students how he overcame obstacles in his life and how each and everyone of them are able to do the same thing! He spoke with them about climbing the mountain of success and on the way of that mountain you will go through times when you might have to crawl, climb, jog, or run but with the strength and confidence they each have inside of them they will build their self-determination they need. He told them "if you believe it you can achieve it". It was a positive message to send to our students, especially this time of the year with SOL testing just around the corner!
Thank you Mr. Ronnie Sidney for coming and sharing this message with our students!!"
Tappahannock Elementary School
"Ronnie Sidney is an extraordinary activist, speaker, role model and intellectual. Ronnie was an incredible asset to my show, The Kiara Lee Show, a public access television program in Richmond, Virginia. He was a recurrent guest in a series of episodes surrounding the topic of black fatherhood. Ronnie spoke both as a down-to-earth black father and a well-informed and highly educated social worker and advocate for the betterment of the black family and the community at-large. As he demonstrated a wealth of knowledge from the textbooks, the scholarly articles and university research studies, he also validated his true passion for uplifting black fathers and underscoring the importance of black fatherhood in a society where it is indeed under attack. The episodes he was featured on were some of the most watched episodes to date.
In addition, Ronnie has implemented and led a plethora of community programs aimed at uplifting the community, surrounding topics like police brutality, education and ability, incarceration and more in addition to black fatherhood. Ronnie is a true blue advocate and activist, as he is not only well-informed, but also active in the community – he talks the talk and walks the walk. To boot, he lives out the very values he pushes in his work in the community in his personal life, as he has a family of his own, in which he serves as an exemplary black father.
When I think of positive black male role models, Ronnie is one of the first men that come to mind. I look forward to what he will accomplish in the days and years to come and I also look forward to working with him on future projects."
Kiara Shanay Lee,
Host of The Kiara Lee Show
"Over the past few months, I have been honored with the opportunity to speak to a gentleman who presented himself in a way that left a lasting impression on me and now on our community. I am referring to Mr. Ronnie Sidney. If I had to describe this gentleman, I would use words such as: determined, self-motivated, confident, and inspirational.
Mr. Sidney called my office a few months ago to find out how he could go about recognizing the teachers who played an important role in his life while in school. It was decided that he could make a presentation to these teachers at one of the school board meetings. On that night at the school board meeting, Mr. Sidney carried himself with such elegance and grace. His words were eloquently spoken, his commitment to his cause was evident, and his heart felt generously was apparent. There is no question about his sincere dedication and loyalty to whatever he decides to pursue.
Mr. Sidney has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages. His willingness to offer his assistance to help those around him is remarkable. He has a special talent inspiring and motivating people. You can hear it in his voice and see it in his presentation. His ability to connect with his audience is truly superior and was noticeable at the school board meeting. Ronnie has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, and reliable. Based on these factors, Mr. Sidney has been asked to serve as a guest speaker for several events in our community and school system.
It is for these reasons that I offer my recommendations for Ronnie without reservation. His drive and abilities will truly be an asset to your establishment. If you have any questions regarding this recommendation, please do not hesitate to contact me."
Director of Special Education and Student Services Essex County Public Schools
"Mr. Sidney is a valued member of this chapter and I strongly believe he would become an instant asset to your organization.
This past weekend, on Friday April 24th, Mr. Sidney played an integral part in the 2015 Education Symposium hosted by the Richmond Chapter of NABSW. Not only did he conduct two workshop sessions on the societal perceptions of black fatherhood during the morning sessions, he also presented as the Luncheon Speaker on Surviving Special Education.
Ronnie Sidney, II is a compelling speaker that cultivates critical thought in his audience. His presentations challenge the audience to think outside the box and explore the authentic meaning of his message through a social, political, and historical lens."
Kevin Holder, LCSW
President of the Richmond Chapter of NABSW
Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words Workshop
Black Male Development Symposium 5/9/2015
"Pleasant and informative"
"Very helpful to me with their words and how they helped us communicate with our own references in life"
"To be very useful to my creative thinking and writing process"
"Beating The Odds: How I Survived Special Education" RABSW Educational Symposium
Sixth Baptist Church 4/24/2015
"Entertaining & inspiring. Thank you for your willingness to share your personal story."
"Inspiring. So pleased he had a strong, supportive family. Made one realize that many black boys fall by the way because of bias + unwillingness to individualize."
"Especially exceptional, knew material + presented it well. Use of “self” as the client was a novel & inviting approach."
"Rewarding. Information presented helped me gain greater insight into Sp. ED + Public School Systems."
Dear Mr. Sidney,
Thanks for coming to our school. You made me feel really special for my SOL. Your story about your life was funny. You encouraged me by saying “If you believe it, you can achieve it!” When we did our little exercise it was totally fun. I hope we see you soon.
Dear Mr. Sidney,
How are you? I’m fine. Thank you for encouraging us. You helped me pass my reading and math SGA. Your speech was very inspiring. Our new class motto is, “If you believe it, you can achieve it”. You told us that everybody is special. You gave me confidence. You told about your life. I hope you can come visit again soon.
Dear Mr. Sidney,
Thank you for telling me that I can believe in myself. That speech encouraged me to do my best. I tried my best on my SGA and I “almost passed” my test. If I believe it, I can achieve it. How are you doing? Your speech about your life story was great. You are a brave man I know. Oh thank you for the beautiful speech. I hope that you come to visit us again soon. Oh last thing you ran from the animal. When I am mad I say that I can achieve my goals. You should be a teacher. You are smart too. Write back! Yes or No!