Christian Boarding School for Girls Who are Struggling
Lakeland Grace Academy is a fifteen-month, forty-bed residential christian boarding school specifically designed for girls who are struggling with life controlling issues. LGA student residences, kitchen/dining and school are located in a 10,000 square foot home-like facility on acreage nestled in a middle class community. There are ample areas for physical activities on the property, an inter-campus athletic department, and a screened-in pool. Lakeland employs fifteen female team members and counselors, each with the appropriate education and experience suited for their roles.
Teen Challenge provides a safe haven for adolescents who have sought to fill the void in their hearts, only to reap destructive consequences in its place. Our program provides an opportunity for each student to refocus and assess her life decisions and allows her the opportunity to choose the abundant life Christ has to offer. In the process, the student is taught indispensable lessons of strong work ethics, team work, patience, diligence, determination, communication, submission and motivation, to name a few.
Some of the issues our residents come to us with include:
- Low self-esteem
- Loss a academic status, skipping school or dropping grades
- Depression/Suicidal thoughts
- Manipulation/Blame shifting
- Gender confusion
- Minor drug experimentation
- Eating disorders
- Alcohol or Prescription drug abuse
Lakeland Grace Academy also provides focused and individualized academic attention for the girls in its care. LGA is an accredited, private school registered with the State of Florida and a member of the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies (FACCCA). The focus is on improved study skills and performance, which gives a competitive advantage in college. Though education is not the main purpose of a girl attending the Lakeland program, parents have peace of mind knowing that they have provided their girl with the best educational foundation for life and for future advanced education.
Mentoring is ongoing – all day, every day – at Lakeland, with numerous opportunities for learning and growth. Individual counseling sessions encourage transparency and self-acceptance. Group counseling helps students develop problem solving skills that will last a lifetime. Personal responsibility and respect for others is taught through our Christian Character Qualities training. As each student learns these qualities they start to develop a genuine concern and respect for others. Obedience, respect for those in authority, and Christ-like compassion are the core values we instill in all students.Individual and Group Counseling
Participation in Activities
Students have opportunities to participate in activities they may never have chosen at home. New passions are discovered as students become more well-rounded through participation. Participation in sports improves self-discipline, self-confidence and self-esteem. Healthier lifestyle choices become habits that will produce lasting benefits. Many activities encourage teamwork and improve the relational skills necessary for success. Group activities prepare students to consider and respect on other’s needs.
When a student comes to Lakeland Grace Academy it is typical for there to be blame-shifting, avoidance of responsibility, and sometimes complete denial of wrong doing. Soon after enrollment the student begins to experience some regret for the consequences of her prior behavior. Essentially, she is “sorry” for being caught in her behavior but has yet to experience a turning away from her old sinful desires. This may be very similar to the ups and downs that parents have experienced at home, promises to change, periods of peace, that cycle back to crisis. Regret does not change individuals, repentance does.
Many times, teens have been spared the heartache of the full-blown consequences for their negative decisions. This is because at this age they are only beginning to experiment with behaviors that would later in life render them completely hopeless and unfulfilled in every area of their life; emotionally, academically, physically, and spiritually. In some cases teens have been protected from the full consequences of their decisions by well intending adults. For these reasons, teens are not always entirely certain of the need for change in their lives. However, the parent is convinced of this need for life changing intervention. At Lakeland Grace Academy we consider ourselves an early intervention program, intervening in adolescents’ lives before they become an adult trapped in a dysfunctional lifestyle.
Here at LGA we have cultivated a positive peer culture. Students are encouraged to be responsible for their own actions and to hold others accountable for their actions. This positive peer element is a part of the Teen Challenge dynamic. Students influence other students positively as opposed to the negative peer pressure that so many of our students face before coming to Teen Challenge. As a student comes into our program and demonstrates obedience, she begins to recognize and reap the benefits that come with obedience.
Great Campus Environment
A small and personal escape…far from the struggles and distractions of the “outside” world. Lakeland is a relational safe-haven for self-discovery and growth, but it is not a resort; girls are taught to take responsibility for themselves and for others through regular chores and a structured schedule.
Qualified and Dedicated Staff Members
Residents receive perpetual care from a staff that is on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They provide ongoing positive role models with a high degree personal discipline and accountability. Lakeland’s staff and directors are living examples of a passionate, purpose-driven, Spirit-filled life. For each, it is not just a job, it is a calling.
Positive Peer Culture
Influences your child to develop problem solving skills with peers while taking a “Principle” stand. It requires the girls to exemplify personal accountability as a leader. It encourages loving “confrontation” by peers versus policing and correction by adults. While most kids get off track by the negative influences of peers back home, our atmosphere encourages the opposite.
Lakeland’s Leadership Training Program provides our residents with “graduate level” life skills training, improving the chance of long-term success. Our leadership program encourages girls to become a respected leader, versus a follower of others’ lead. It improves the girl’s understanding of the difficulties associated with authority and leadership.
Our goal is to form a partnership for transformation, improving the level of mutual trust and respect as parent and child both accept their contribution and take responsibility. It creates a healthier environment for communication and lasting success. We teach how to deal with emotions and respond to others more appropriately.
Grad House Aftercare
Students who complete the therapeutic aspect of Lakeland’s program may continue to reside in our Graduate House while completing high school. This solves a crucial need for parents to minimize the potential for old problems to resurface if a child is required to return to an unfavorable high school environment.