All Kinds of News for January 06, 2016
Odyssey Program: Nicaragua
Greenbrier Academy (WV) recently took a trip with students and staff to evaluate a potential partnership between our school and Chosen Children Ministries working in Nicaragua. Chosen Children Ministries, a Christian based organization, works to help alleviate generational poverty and hunger through education and entrepreneurship.
In returning from the trip everyone felt overwhelmingly inspired, motivated and forever impacted by a greater sense of personal responsibility, purpose and desire to make a difference in the lives of others through service.
We were honored and proud to watch our students not only dive into the experience with enthusiasm but for each one to individually shine in her own inherent gifts. They were recognized for their ability to notice not only the obvious ways they could connect and help but to notice the small ways as well - stepping in to rock a baby napping in a hammock as we were welcomed to see the mother’s home, to make a sling to help a hurt child with an old t-shirt or to notice a quiet or timid child in need of a little encouragement and attention.
While we are not a religious based school we carefully considered partnering with a Christian organization. We questioned whether this would be respectful of both our students and families who may not be of the same faith as well as of the organization itself. In response to this question our students responded! The girls felt the experience of being respectful of others beliefs and working alongside someone who may be different or believe differently is an invaluable lesson and life skill. They strongly believed that with support our students would rise to the occasion. They suggested several ways that we could respect and support our students varying beliefs while attending the trip. We had our answer.
As we plan future trips, our treatment team staff including therapists, teachers and residential staff will carefully nominate students we feel may benefit from the opportunity and are appropriate to attend the trip. A student may be ready to handle a trip of this magnitude at one point yet it may be more powerful to have her wait for a later trip because we want to give her an experience that solidifies her sense of belonging and purpose as she gets closer to transitioning from Greenbrier.
Currently the girls on this recent trip are putting together a documentary/slide show to share their experience with the community.
With the success and sense of accomplishment, we plan to continue this partnership and are creating structured academic, therapeutic and community supports to emphasize its value and purpose.