For the past 42 years, Lakeside has sponsored a program that is designed around the needs of teenage girls. It began as a program for pregnant teens. It then became a pregnancy and parenting program that provided a nursery for newborns. As the needs emerged and grew, the program became a specialty program for a more complex set of needs for young women. Whether there was sexual abuse, social phobias or anxiety and depression, this program has been instrumental in meeting the demands of hundreds of female students who require a very unique environment suited to their emotional and personal needs.
This environment is supportive, nurturing and provides a high level of safety for these students. The staff are incredibly caring as they provide education, clinical care and practical support to help the students emerge into productive young women.
This past week we witnessed the graduation of the 2023 class of seniors. The staff of the Girls Academy and the parents and friends of the students all attended a wonderful luncheon that was sponsored by several of our vendors at Lakeside who donated funds to support this event.
It was very moving to see how students who were struggling to succeed in their school district environment found the relationships that sustained them, mentored them and worked diligently to make sure they achieved their academic goals at Lakeside Girls Academy. In addition, many personal obstacles were overcome through therapeutic support and care.
Watching the depth of relationship that the students clearly created with our staff and with each other was encouraging. It was obvious that this was not just a graduation but a culmination of so many impactful moments of relationships that shaped the environment where our students could become safe, cared for and eventually successful. They rose from incapacity to capacity and now are on their way to new goals and new opportunities for growth.
Creating this type of environment is difficult. It is full of conflict, challenges, growth, anxious moments and resolution. It can be painful and yet fulfilling as significant life obstacles become opportunities for change and growth. Sustaining that kind of momentum can be hard and sometimes confusing if you have not experienced any level of safety and potential.
We are incredibly proud of our graduates who have done exceptional work to overcome so many obstacles that can often lead to intense difficulties and frustration into their future. As we continue to provide these programs for students, these graduation moments are a huge motivator to continue our mission and see the impact that is possible with some of the most difficult life situations. I am always so proud and amazed by what our staff and students can achieve together.