I was in a casual meeting today speaking to someone for the first time about all the varied aspects of Lakeside. We discussed the thousands of students to whom we provide academic and clinical services. We talked about our training to 5,800 professionals. We referenced the hundreds of staff that have come together to help students and families who have struggled to get through the teenage years and all the infrastructure that it takes to sustain such an amazing mission that impacts thousands.
This individual began to cite all the needs of our youth in our country. She raised the tragedies of in-school shootings, the drug issues, suicide, and mental health struggles. She cited some of her own family struggles and the consequences of those struggles in her life and her community. She then asked, “Why aren’t there Lakeside’s all over the country?”
I’m sure there are many organizations that are working with students in many parts of our country. However, there are a lot of struggles that prohibit those organizations from growing and becoming a regional source of trauma responsive care for students. Many communities do not have the resources that are available to Lakeside. I have seen a number of great organizations that have diminished in their capacity due to limited funding, lack of staffing, and lack of community support.
Lakeside has been extremely fortunate to have the support of our regional school districts. The laws of our state mandate that schools must provide programming for their special education students regardless of their needs. Therefore, we have developed relationships with 35 regional school districts to make sure the needs of their students are met. These relationships have been key to contracting for educational, clinical, and transportation services for these students. It has been the very core of our support and ability to grow our 4 schools and in-school counseling program.
This support shaped the core of Lakeside’s mission. From there we recognized the opportunity to change schools and our systems of care with trauma training and certification. Gradually we grew to provide training regionally and nationally, and have trained in some international schools and organizations. Today that program has grown to provide training to approximately 6,000 professionals who now can develop programs and support for trauma-impacted children and families in many different regions.
So, it is very possible that Lakeside can be replicated but it does take a community of schools, organizations, professionals, and parents to support our students. More so, it takes leadership and staff who would be steadfast in the care of students. They would need to be willing to create programs that are adaptable and then be able to manage an organization that would advocate for the needs of students and their families. It would take that kind of energy and motivation. At Lakeside, our consulting division would be willing to help create those environments via our seasoned and visionary leadership. Students all over would be greatly served if there were programs like ours replicated throughout America!