Jared had always struggled with school, and as a result, he simply didn’t attend. His home was filled with so much dysfunction that he was never taught the most basic of life-skills. He arrived at Eastside Academy scared and unsure of his desire to stay. A small Christian school seemed daunting: there might be no place to hide. And then, almost as soon as he started, he found out that Eastside Academy hosts a two-day fall retreat for all of their students, he was really unsure of what lay ahead. However, he quickly learned that this retreat provided him with opportunities he had never dreamed of.
They were going to let him ride a motorcycle for the first time? The staff were willing to jump in and get shot up playing paintball alongside the students? (Guess who won?) Each person got hoisted into a crazy ropes course and cheered each other along. Students formed teams and performed ski
ts by a fire pit late at night. And then, a “chaplain” talked about Jesus in a different way. Jesus…present in Jared’s suffering. Jesus…a steady voice in the darkness. Jared began to realize for the first time that he was surrounded by people who deeply value him and want him to succeed. He found a place where he could be himself.
Eastside Academy serves teens that other programs cannot or will not serve and serves them in a unique way. They provide youth with an education, addiction recovery, mental health counseling, housing, mentors, and alumni support. Twice a year, all students are taken on retreats in order for them to build relationships, have new experiences, get to know one another, and hear about Jesus. Eastside Academy partners with the community to serve at-risk youth, through events such as their upcoming Dinner and Live Auction being held October 17, at the Meydenbauer Center. Additionally, they are looking for volunteers serve as mentors to these students, providing youth with healthy relationships that can be life-changing. For students like Jared, being paired with a mentor can make the all the difference.
If you feel called to mentor an Eastside Academy student, please contact Get Connected.
For more information on Eastside Academy events or programs, please contact Elyse Nicholson, director of Development for Eastside Academy.