We spend a great deal of time talking about how complex the problems are in our youth community. We have been constantly reminded of the mental health crisis, the drug use, the bullying, the depression, etc. What is inspiring is to watch students work so diligently to overcome some of their issues and find success personally and in other spheres of their life.
We immediately can realize that all is not lost!
Such is the case every year at Lakeside when we celebrate our student’s achievements at the end of the year. The same students that many have given up on or have no answers for are the very students that we have watched grow, develop, mature and become ready for a new world of opportunity. It is exciting to see that potential and celebrate the work of not only the students, but the staff who work with them and their parents too. All this has resulted in students’ high school graduation or program completion at one of our schools. It is so inspiring!
Such was the case as we concluded our last graduation of the year at Lakeside School last week.
We were able to watch 20 graduates walk in their robes with their families in attendance. We listened to 4 compelling speeches by students as they spoke of their journey and appreciation for their peers, their parents and the Lakeside School staff who supported them every step of the way.
This is what should be happening in the lives of students who are struggling. At this young age where they are dependent on school staff to get through their educational requirements, we have the opportunity to have impact before they enter the adult world with all its own struggles. It is a great opportunity to mentor them into adulthood while they are handling adversity, trauma and what has resulted in the ongoing residual damage of COVID isolation.
What we all should realize is that it is possible to help our youth community. We need to seriously restructure our relationships with them so that there is more personal attention, more therapeutic interventions and a trust process over time where they can build safe relationships, receive accountability, gain confidence and personal power and experience the unconditional care of adults who will partner with them.
There is nothing better than listening to their stories as they experience the fulfillment of the goals that they never thought they could achieve. The gratification of our mutual achievements leaves us all feeling purposeful and encouraged. Leaving legacies in the lives of our youth means we are preparing them to be our future. It is why we provide the programs and services we do and can witness how so many of our youth problems can be resolved with the right support.