Each year in September the Lakeside Board of Directors and our Program Directors meet to review the results of the past year. This year has been a momentous year in that we managed the COVID-19 pandemic in full force. It created new challenges for our staff and students in how we taught, provided counseling, delivered our training and changed so much of how we typically operate as an organization. Yet as an entire leadership team Lakeside was able to reflect, review and rejoice in a job well done by our entire staff.
We were able to hear story after story of students – who were bound for failure and an unproductive life journey – to overcome significant obstacles and renew their commitment of a successful and purposeful life. So many of our students found new opportunities for change, growth and options for their future as they continue on to college, technical school and/or return to their school district to continue their high school education.
Our In-school Counselors Program worked with thousands of students in school districts throughout seven different counties and provided them with the ability to cope with a variety of issues such as anxiety and depression, with many of those symptoms coming from the impact of COVID-19. There were stories of students rising up with the help of their Lakeside counselor to find new opportunities for growth and eventual success.
Our four schools had many challenges and less students referred this year because many school districts were doing virtual education and their students who had significant needs were not identified for placement in Lakeside programs. This is extremely unfortunate since many of our regional students did not attend their virtual classes and fell behind personally and academically. It is our hope that these students will be identified and placed in our care so they too will have a better chance to find success with their life goals.
Our training programs were extremely busy providing schools, professionals and organizations a variety of trauma-informed training. Lakeside’s training reputation throughout the country has been stellar and has helped so many professionals and organizations be better equipped to help students and adults who have been impacted by trauma and other forms of adversity.
As I read the varied reports from our programs and training and summarized them for our Board of Directors, I identified that in spite of a pandemic, in 2020/21 we worked with 4,000 students directly and provided training to over 18,600 professionals who have worked with tens of thousands of individuals who have had to deal with many life adversities. Truly the impact of Lakeside has been widely acknowledged. The work we do is complex, stressful and sometimes traumatizing to our staff.
Lakeside’s Annual Meeting gave us a chance as a leadership team to reflect and celebrate a year of meaningful impact to thousands of lives. I am deeply indebted to our staff for all that they have achieved within Lakeside’s many programs. What a great blessing and opportunity for our students, staff and leadership!