A Lakeside Affirmation: Our Annual Results

I have been writing extensively on brain-based issues in this series of posts. My passion for finding solutions to these issues comes from evidence-based research that I believe will transform many organizations that provide programs for populations of individuals who have special needs. I foresee that schools, human services organizations, residential facilities, hospitals, our public systems and even businesses will be significantly impacted by trauma-informed and brain-based changes.

Positive results when we at Lakeside practice what we teach and believe

Lakeside School, Horsham, PA
Lakeside School serves seven counties and 44 school districts.

This past weekend, all the Program Directors, Board of Directors and Leadership of Lakeside gathered to review the results of our 2013-14 school year. It was almost alarming to read each statistical report as we reflected on problems our students were dealing with. Drugs, homelessness, school failures, behavioral and mental health issues, and forms of trauma existed in the profiles of over 1500 students who participated in our various programs.

Lakeside is located in Southeastern Pennsylvania where the geographical scope of our programs includes seven counties, 44 school districts (urban, suburban and rural) and hundreds of children and families. Truly, we have touched a huge community with our programs.

We heard story after story of the power of relational intervention. 

Lakeside Greenhouse Program
Students participate in the Lakeside Greenhouse, one part of a program at Lakeside

We heard how the brain-based interventions genuinely changed lives of so many students. We also heard how the undying commitment of a dedicated and talented staff has persevered through so many issues presented to them by those we serve. Too, we heard how students who could not bear to go to school came to Lakeside’s schools with enthusiasm.

The stories inspired us, the impact was huge, and compassion was overwhelming. It was truly a pleasure to read the statistics and listen to so many validating testimonies of all of Lakeside’s efforts in this past year.

It could be so easy to give up on some of the students that we serve.

So many of our students have been told they could never succeed much less think of graduating from high school.

Yet with the help, encouragement, discipline, counseling and interventions provided to them by our caring staff, these students have been transformed from a place of defeat and loss to one of hope and a solid future.

A vision for change.

Lakeside began with the efforts of Bill Freeland, a very simple man with a vision. From his own resources he began a set of programs. Carrying his vision, a small group of caring people worked diligently to expand Lakeside’s scope, staff and programs to have the capability to deal with more and more students who needed help.

In addition to helping students work through challenging issues, we began to provide training to professionals, who, in turn helped others within their reach. Now the culmination of decades of work has established an organization with life-changing impact all throughout our region. But our vision doesn’t stop there.

Each of us has the ability to create this kind of positive impact.

I have watched this organization grow, and now can affirm that it has developed beyond anything we ever anticipated. Yet, there is still so much to do. Lakeside is and continues to be a story of help and hope. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to be a part of its history and journey forward.

We should never underestimate the impact we can make with dedication, commitment to care, vision, great people and persevering resilience.  As we celebrate another huge year for Lakeside, we also can testify that the journey has been worth every difficult moment.  For now we see thousands of individuals who have overcome many obstacles and turned them into opportunities.

I do thank those who have worked so diligently to make this all possible. It is truly an amazing group of caring professionals.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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