ACE MV continues to enrich the Island community

Some favorite courses remain, with new offerings like social justice and cultural competency.

ACE MV Instructor Elsbeth Todd helps a student in one of the many personal development courses offered. — Gabrielle Mannino

ACE MV has always striven to provide opportunities for Islanders, both to further their careers and enrich their lives through instruction.

Now the nonprofit continues that mission, but with a few new offerings that focus on some of the major issues confronting society today.

There will be many opportunities for people to learn valuable skills through paid courses taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors, with additional resources that provide us with a better understanding of the world around us.

Upcoming ACE MV courses will be offered online to anyone interested, including business and computer skills such as introductory business management and online marketing. According to the ACE MV website, for those trying to land that new job, there is a résumé and cover letter workshop to help fine-tune your applications. That course goes for four weeks online, every Monday from Oct. 5 to 26, from 4 to 5 pm. The instructor of the course is Dr. Lisa Foster, who is also a certified business coach specializing in leadership development and emotional intelligence. She spent 10 years inspiring students to love literature and write clearly and persuasively, then started a company to sell and promote reusable bags, and became one of the top suppliers of reusable bags in the U.S.

There is also a new introductory offering centered around nonprofit management. That course will be a four-week course, every Monday from Nov. 23 to Dec. 14, 5 to 6 pm. Course instructor Professor Aline Wolff has coached numerous startups and entrepreneurs, and taught for more than 20 years at the NYU Stern School of Business. She has worked and consulted for organizations like Goldman Sachs and IBM.

An exciting new course also teaches agricultural finances, and focuses on budgeting and planning for local farmers. That course is on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 pm, Oct. 29 through Nov. 19.

In these difficult social and emotional times, ACE MV is offering social and emotional learning for Island educators. Local teachers can receive three graduate credits, or professional development points (PDPs), for taking the course, which will be every Wednesday Oct. 14 to Dec. 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

Cultural competency courses for teachers will also be offered, on dates to be determined. There are also valuable resources that teach skills for personal enrichment, such as photography and memoir writing, and practical Brazilian Portuguese to improve communication skills and bridge language barriers.

One brand-new element to ACE MV courses is the social justice courses, which delve into issues of racism, diversity, and oppression, and will focus on local grassroots activism on the Island and the Black Lives Matter movement. Dates for these courses are yet to be finalized. Executive director for ACE MV Holly Bellebuono said she is excited for the new offerings, and happy that the nonprofit organization can continue to offer resources to the community.

“We have been working really hard to put all this together,” Bellebuono said. “We are offering a lot of our normal classes we would offer to community members and businesses, with a bunch of really exciting new content as well.”

She highlighted the new farm finances course, which supports local farmers and improves food security on-Island, along with the leadership and management class for nonprofits.

“We are also offering a number of classes from Fitchburg State for educators and teaching professionals. They are semester-long, credit-granting courses, some especially focused on cultural competency and diversity,” Bellebuono said.

She added that with so many local and national initiatives surrounding racial inequity and racism, ACE MV is taking on an “entirely new track” with social justice courses.

“We really want to be a platform for Islanders to hold constructive dialogue about these really timely issues,” Bellebuono said. “We have local folks such as Dukes County Commissioner Keith Chatinover teaching some of these courses, as well as people from all over the U.S.”

Areas of interest in these courses will be civil rights, implicit bias, and how to be active in your community in order to participate thoughtfully and effectively as a member of the public. And you don’t have to take a whole semester-long course to learn about these important topics — Bellebuono said some classes take just one day.

“We want people to be aware of current events, and be able to discuss these things and maybe come up with some legitimate solutions,” Bellebuono said. “We are really proud to be continuing despite the pandemic. We have a wealth of instructors who are sharing their knowledge, and we continue to keep it Island-focused.”

For more information about ACE MV, visit