Each year Lakeside’s leadership joins with our Board of Directors to reflect on the past year of program and organizational activities. I think it’s the most meaningful of our board meetings. It is important to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing work of our staff as we finish one year and embark on a new school year.
Lakeside’s programs served over 8,000 students in the past year. These are students who are struggling to stay in school for a myriad of reasons. It could be family adversity, addictions, mental health issues, truancy, suicidal tendencies, or other related issues. Rather than letting these students drop out of school, Lakeside’s caring teachers, counselors, and behavior managers worked diligently to support their students’ capabilities and find levels of success so they could graduate or return to their home school successfully. As we reflect on what’s happening in our youth community nationally, imagine what would have happened to these students if there was no Lakeside staff member in their lives.
We also were able to acknowledge the huge resource Lakeside’s training has been to schools, organizations, professionals, and systems of care regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Literally tens of thousands of individuals have received some level of training in advancing their trauma knowledge, contextualizing that knowledge to those they work with in our field, and creating new trauma-informed skills. This training helps them be more sensitive and effective in how they deal with those who may be impacted by trauma, adversity, and intense levels of stress. We’ve been able to see whole systems change as we discover new ways to work with those who are struggling with various levels of destructive angst in their lives.
Another aspect of our organizational culture is the care we have been able to share with our staff members and their families. We have experienced our own life tragedies including some deaths, health struggles, family and relational struggles, and other crises. It’s compelling to hear how our staff rose to be empathetic, compassionate, and support each other even as they walked through their own journeys of stress.
We were able to share stories of students and families who have experienced the care of Lakeside staff personally. Multiple stories were shared where students labelled as failures, with little hope for success, overcame huge obstacles and were able to reach goals that most felt were unattainable with the help of our caring staff. Yet, their goals were achieved and they reached potentials that will be impacting the rest of their lives with great hope.
I think one board member said it best when he said, “Lakeside is a truly a community of care!” I can’t say it any better as we celebrate all that has happened with our students, our training participants, our staff, and all those we help in a year’s time. Lakeside has been such a resource to our community, our region, and our nation. I am very privileged and blessed to be a part of and lead this great movement of care for so many. That is truly something to celebrate!