Eastside Academy Seniors: Nick’s Story

Over the next few weeks, BelPres Missions will be sharing stories of the nine seniors scheduled to graduate from Eastside Academy this June. Here is Nick’s story.

Eastside Academy Senior: Nick


I was eight years old the first time I used drugs, that’s what started my addiction. I heard about Eastside Academy a few years later, and automatically thought I would never attend a school like that. My friends at the time were heavily into drugs, and I never felt they were really my friends unless I had access to drugs. I had a horrible relationship with my family. I disrespected them and was always running away.

During my third stint in treatment my parents enrolled me at Eastside Academy. I was resistant to EA at first and I eventually ended up back in treatment, but then I finally realized that this is the place I want to be. Being at Eastside Academy makes me want to stay sober. I’m always around other people who want to stay sober and we all work on that together. For the first time in my life, I’m excited to go to class every day. I have good relationships with my teachers and see them as my friends. Right now, I’m living in the boys Re:New home. I really like it because the people I live with help me talk out my problems and hold me accountable. I recently talked to a friend about our school, and told him we are like a family here. People around you help you a lot and we all share a common goal to stay sober. He is now enrolled and attending EA.

In the end, it’s entirely my decision whether or not I want to recover from addiction. I am very happy to be attending this school to help me do that.

Steadfast Senders, Rally the Troops!

“Social consciousness beckons each of us across the board, but the ways we could respond are as varied as our holy passions. We are called to tend to the poor, but adjust your lens and see what specific opportunities make your heart jump…or sink.” – Beth Moore

Seven BelPres Impact Teams of brave Jesus followers head out across the globe this summer to share the good news and serve alongside His brothers and sisters. Some have never been on a short term mission experience in their life and some are seasoned veterans. Some are 7 years old and some are 70 years old. But they all have one thing in common – the faith to step out and be used, however they can, by God to love His people and further His Kingdom.

Oftentimes we think, in order to change the world in a most significant way, we must have a unique or useful skill or be given a position of influence or fame…or travel across the world.

In actuality, mission trips wouldn’t be possible without Steadfast Senders. Those who may never board a plane, but give value to a little girl who received a handmade doll they created or hope to a boy who received a baseball mitt they collected. Steadfast Senders are also the ones who lift up team members by name in prayer each and every day they are on the field, serving as spiritual protectors and mighty encouragers.

So, how ’bout it? Are you ready to step out in faith and be used by God to love His people and further His Kingdom by being a Steadfast Sender?

Here are our seven BelPres teams going out into the world this summer. Be a part of their specific sending in a variety of ways by praying, gathering items to be donated or hosting a work party to raise funds.

Bolivia: Two teams, one from Senior High Ministry and one composed of BelPres Families, will be embarking on an incredible mission experience together in mid-July to Bolivia serving alongside those at Niños con Valor. To learn ways you could send this team off with overflowing suitcases and hearts, contact Laurel Fortin, fortinlh@hotmail.com, or Colin Robeson, crobeson@belpres.org.

Cambodia: An Impact Team will be returning to Cambodia August 17 – 28 to serve alongside the CUSP ministry and lead an English Camp in Kampong Thom for high school students. For specific ways to experience Cambodia without enduring 100+ degree Cambodian temperature, contact Ray Durr, reldurr@msn.com.

Costa Rica: Our Senior High Ministry will be taking a team again July 26 – August 2, as they do every year, to visit the Abraham Project in Costa Rica. They will participate in building projects and cultivate lasting relationships with the children and people served by the Abraham Project. For specific ways to send this highly motivated group of students and leaders, contact Daniel Triller, dtriller@belpres.org.

Guatemala: As they do multiple times a year, an Impact Team will visit our Nicolás Fund for Education scholars July 18 – 26 to build relationships, pray alongside and encourage our friends there. They also work in the village primary schools to provide educational enrichment projects, support village primary school teachers, and to foster relationships with the students. For specific ways to show love and care for this team and their mission, contact Becci Merritt, beccimerritt@comcast.net.

Guatemala: August 1 – 8 the BelPres Singles Ministry will be returning to Guatemala to serve alongside the Arms of Jesus ministry by building homes, installing Eco stoves, and building relationships with the sponsored students at Arms of Jesus. For specific ways to make a difference in a beautiful, Guatemalan community, contact Kat King, kking@belpres.org.

Nicaragua: A group of families will be returning to the community of Cedro Galan in Nicaragua July 16 – 28 to serve with Alongside Ministries. To ask about specific ways you could partner with this team without getting on a plane, contact Laurie Los, llos@crgevents.com.

Eastside Academy Seniors: Kylie’s Story

Over the next few weeks, BelPres Missions will be sharing stories of the nine seniors scheduled to graduate from Eastside Academy this June. Here is Kylie’s story.

Eastside Academy Senior: Kylie


My first experience with drugs happened with my older brother and his friends when I was in seventh grade. Getting high was the way my brother and I bonded. It wasn’t long before I was getting suspended from school for skipping class and fighting with other girls.

By the time I entered eighth grade, I had become self-destructive. My relationship with my parents was not good. I started sneaking out, going to parties, and using more drugs. My first year of high school I was in an unhealthy relationship, and when it ended, I stopped going to school all together. Things got worse, and I ran away from home. For the next few months I was mostly sleeping on the streets of Ballard.

When my parents finally found me, they took me to rehab down in Oregon. After completing rehab, a family friend suggested Eastside Academy. I was not looking forward to coming here at first, but I gave it a chance and found out just how good this school was for me.

At Eastside Academy, I don’t just feel like a number—I feel really cared for. This school gives me all the help I need. Before coming here, I always struggled with academics, but now I have one of the highest GPAs in the school! It feels like a family here, and I love how all the students encourage each other to take their sobriety seriously. I don’t think I would be sober right now if it weren’t for this school.

Eastside Academy Seniors: Ben’s Story

Over the next few weeks, BelPres Missions will be sharing stories of the nine seniors scheduled to graduate from Eastside Academy this June. Here is Ben’s story.

EA Ben
Eastside Academy Senior: Ben

I have been attending Eastside Academy Overlake since the school opened this past January.  Prior to attending EA, I struggled at my previous high school.  It was overwhelming, large, and didn’t feel like teachers cared about me.  I suffer from social anxiety and depression, and being at such a large high school made my anxiety even worse; eventually I attempted suicide.  I went to Fairfax Hospital for a while, and when I came back my teachers didn’t understand what I went through and I ended up failing some of my classes.  This drove me even deeper into depression.  Soon after my suicide attempt I heard through my Young Life leader about EA opening a new school at Overlake Church, so my mom and I decided to see what it was all about.

From my first admissions meeting, I knew from the bottom of my heart that this place was for me.  Since school started at EA, I’ve felt like the teachers care about me and for the first time I look forward to going to school.  I enjoy the smallness at EA, and how I can relate to others who are in the same boat as me: other students who want to change their lives.  Because EA is a small, closely knit school – I feel like everyone talks to each other and there aren’t cliques and there is commonality among us students.

If someone wants to attend this school, they have to invest in it – they have to want to change their unhealthy life habits.  My favorite subject is Astronomy, I like the big ideas that come along with the science.  After I graduate from high school, I want to attend college and study architecture or masonry.  I like this school, I am college bound.