On Sunday, September 17th, the Lakeside Board of Directors and our Program Directors held our Annual Board Meeting. For us, that means more than business. It means we look at how we have helped people.
For Lakeside, it is a time to pause and reflect on our stories, the proof that our efforts make a difference in the lives of those we serve.
So, we pause to consider all that has occurred in the past school year.
While it is always an encouraging meeting, there is no doubt we continue to be aware of impending and glaringly apparent challenges and struggles, because we encounter countless students and families in great need.
However, we are encouraged that last year, Lakeside truly burgeoned in its scope and outreach.
Schools, clinical and educational programs: Our clinical and/or educational programs touched the lives of more than 3200 students. Our four schools were extremely active in helping students reach successes they never dreamed possible.
Professional development and training: Likewise, our professional development programs reached more than 4,000 individuals. We trained them to become trauma-informed professionals, which means they are more capable to assist trauma-impacted individuals.
Growth and expansion: Our geographic range has broadened to other regions and states as we continue to expand toward a larger national presence.
Online training: We have utilized our new studios to broadcast our Neurologic training—even as remote as the schools in Norway. We now have the capability and capacity to stream training online.
But the emotional, joyful stories we heard were the most powerful part of the meeting.
…students who were told they would never graduate because of their obstacles, and yet they overcame them and did graduate.
…families who had been broken apart were restored.
…many students who graduated had returned to share how Lakeside staff had made the difference that turned their lives around.
…testimonials of how our training made a huge difference to teachers and professionals. And how because of what they now know—by using some learned techniques and principles within their classrooms—their lens had changed in how they could help their students find new ways to succeed.
We also heard emotional stories about some very hard circumstances.
The mental health crisis: In our country mental health issues have grown to epidemic proportions, and consequently, the stories of these individuals were life-gripping. These issues affect how we serve students with intense mental health struggles.
The opioid crisis: Tragically, we experienced incidents in which students overdosed. I can tell you it is so difficult to help students overcome many personal obstacles only to have them become victims to the shattering impact of addictions later in life. One mom wrote us after her son had committed suicide to say that her best memory was his graduation from Lakeside.
The highs and lows of these stories are impactful to both our students and staff.
However, I wonder what our community—even our world—would be like without Lakeside’s many programs?
Certainly, there would be further devastation and fewer success stories.
I recognize we are very blessed to have the privileges we do, to serve so many with our programs and training. I also realize that in numerous places in our country (and in the world) people have no one to turn to for help. This is an even greater tragedy.
But for those at Lakeside who work so diligently and compassionately, I wish to use this opportunity to express my gratitude. In this post, I want to say a huge thank you to our amazing staff who persevere with our students and all those we touch. Our work can be rewarding, frustrating–and sometimes even distressing—each and every day.
I am grateful for an exemplary collaborative network.
I am so appreciate of our staff, our network of support, our trainers, our systems of care, and the diverse and caring professionals we connect to each year.
We have formed a truly collaborative network of caregivers who strive to help those our sphere of influence. Especially during this annual meeting, I am reminded of the struggles, the concentrated effort, and the exceptional joys and sorrows of working on behalf of those in great need.
The rewards are tremendously satisfying, and I believe overseeing the scope of this organization is both a rare privilege and the best job I could ever have!
Please check us out on our Website at www.lakesidelink.com if you want to learn more. Thanks so much for reading our posts.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside