From the beginning, we have secured ourselves as an advocate for empowering young adults and teens. We plan to continue that tradition in our next phase as a youth organization. When LIFT began in 2017, we envisioned the youth of Leelanau County making up a vibrant collective of empowered leaders and engaged citizens who work together towards a brighter future for our community.
There is no doubt we have been successful in our pursuit of this mission.
Throughout the last four years, we have positively influenced over one hundred teens.
We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve learned along the way. We’ve learned that a teen’s perspective can change the way you think, dance parties can improve anyone’s mood, and even when it seems like all hope is lost, sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference and change a life.
We’ve also learned that it takes a village.
Collaborations with other non-profit organizations, churches, government programs, and Suttons Bay Public Schools have been a vital part of the exponential growth we’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish with LIFT.
We’ve shared a close partnership with Suttons Bay Public Schools (SBPS) since we began in 2017, and we could not be more excited to announce that we will be formalizing our partnership this year.
In light of the recent year, amid the pandemic and the adverse effects on today’s teens, we know this transition is in the best interest of our students, their families, and each person who has supported us for the last four years. To read about the pandemic’s effect on teen’s mental health, written by them, click here.
“Statistically and anecdotally, our children and teens are not all healthy and well, academically and professionally successful, or largely engaged with their peers and community… Many such trends are directly correlated to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some are long-standing. We humbly support the expansion of LIFT’s services to reach students throughout Leelanau County as a tenable solution to addressing negative trends in our youth’s social and emotional wellbeing resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.” - Casey Petz, superintendent of SBPS.
As we expand, our mission to empower Leelanau County’s youth to become kind leaders remains steadfast. Our commitment to genuineness, diversity, and vibrancy will remain unwavering as we navigate this collaboration.
LIFT will be expanding our after-school program at SBPS to Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays following school until 5:30 PM for students grades K- 8. As a result, we will no longer be using The Friendship Community Center for daily LIFT programming. Rather, the FCC will remain a place to host a variety of special activities and get-togethers for our students, as well as the central office for our staff.
We are asking parents to contribute $50/month, or whatever they can afford, to help support our extensive programming. Every contribution, no matter the size, makes a difference. In addition, we will be hosting bi-monthly events for our high schoolers and showing up to their sporting events and lunch hours to engage with our students more one-on-one. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, you’ve come to the right place.
We have an ambitious goal to repeat this partnership with Leelanau County’s four other community schools in the next five years; Northport, Glen Lake, Leland, and St. Mary’s Schools.
We have seen tangible success with our programming in Suttons Bay, and we are confident that our approach with teens is effective. We cannot contain our excitement, and we can’t wait to bring you along on our journey.
Thank you to Suttons Bay Public Schools, our staff members, parents, donors, and volunteers for the last four years, and thank you to every person that helps make our mission possible in the years ahead. Click here to be a part of that change.