Together on the Path
One of the annual highlights of the academic year at Hillsides Education Center is the Science and Academic Fair. Last week classrooms were converted into exhibition spaces as each student took their place alongside their particular science or academic project. I never know exactly what to expect, but always leave the event edified and truly proud. Everyone is invited to come to the Science and Academic Fair. Along with staff and volunteers, friends and family, all descend upon the campus on this-mid day extravaganza.
Aside from the opportunity to actually learn something by some obscure fact–my favorite was the utility of worms–it gives me an occasion to meet family members and talk to them about their children. In the midst of the hubbub of the fair, a resident introduced me to his mom, as he went back to expounding upon the role of coyotes in the wild. I was able to ask her how things were going with her son. The challenges that this student faces are great, rooted in early childhood experiences that will mark him for the remainder of his life. Mom acknowledged that she is, in fact, his aunt and had assumed child rearing responsibility for her sister, who is unable to serve as parent because of severe addiction. She worries about his long-term ability to manage well in school or be successfully reintegrated into her home, but is grateful for the care he has received while at Hillsides and the progress he has been able to make in school. These accomplishments give her hope that, with some help, they will be alright once he returns home soon.
Encounters like this one reinforces for me what Hillsides is all about–serving as a resource and ally for families as they address the challenges that their children confront. With them, we move along an uncharted path with many crossroads. It can be daunting, but the support that is received along the way is what makes the journey worthwhile and hopefully successful.
This year the theme of our annual appeal that has just been launched is “Together on the Path.” It was chosen because it is an expression that captures what we do as we join with schools, communities and families to improve the lives of their most vulnerable children and youth. Whether it be through our residential programs, the educational services we offer or the community-based services and outreach that we provide from the Hollywood Hills to the far reaches of the San Gabriel Valley, our mission is the same–to be an exceptional resource that allows those we serve to be successful.
Support us on this journey as all our programs require some level of support from the community if we are to be truly successful. The needs and challenges are great, but the opportunity to touch a child’s life, protect an abandoned youth or to restore a family torn apart by hardship is too great for us to falter. With your help, much is accomplished. So please check out our annual appeal and make your contribution–together we are on a path that leads to a full and better life for all we serve.