Lighthouse supports a number of in school programs with the funding it generates and then donates to Atascadero Unified School District. For the 2016-17 school year, Lighthouse has committed over $50,000 to students at Del Rio Continuation High School and West Mall Alternative. The majority of these funds are combined with AUSD funds to contract the services of a licensed therapist from County Drug & Alcohol Services. The therapist meets with students from both schools to address their needs in the areas of addiction as well as other mental health needs, such as anxiety and depression. Roughly 25 students access counseling services at West Mall Alternative, while all 50 students at Del Rio have access. Counseling services reach a complete cross section of our community, from students who struggle daily to attend school, to those who are already working, and to those whose goal is to attend a four year university directly out of high school.
This year, our focus (in addition to running individual and group therapy four days per week) is to engage youth in at least 6 healthy outings. What are healthy outings? These are activities that are readily available in our community, such as hiking, biking, climbing, and other outdoor activities that are lifelong practices that lend to a healthy lifestyle, and can directly combat the negative choices that are also available to the youth in our community.
Our second focus is to establish a cadre of local adults who are willing to serve as mentors to our youth. A mentor needs to complete a volunteer application through AUSD, then commit to contacting the student once per week and meeting once per month. Mentoring has a proven track record of changing adolescent behavior and providing a supportive balance during the challenge of adolescence.
Thirdly, Lighthouse supports our business class at Del Rio, Lighthouse Coffee. Funding for the class, including supplies and supporting business partnerships, aims to help students not only with developing the skills and experience to run a business, but also to engage youth in meaningful community participation.
In the community, Lighthouse will continue to raise awareness regarding the dangers of prescription and illegal drug abuse and addiction through the Reality Tour. The next tour will be in March, 2017.
Lighthouse's newest project this year will be to raise the funds to help AUSD establish a mentoring program between high school students and middle school students. The goal of the in-school mentoring program, like that of the community mentoring, is to empower students to maintain a Drug-Free Lifestyle. High School Mentors will develop skills and strategies with middle school students in the areas of:
2. Acting Responsibly
3. Showing Appreciation
4. Making Time for Family
5. Helping at Home
6. Having Friends that are Drug Free
This mentoring program will focus on bringing awareness to the issues and pressures of drugs and alcohol and will work to develop skills in our students to assist them in abstaining from drug and alcohol use. The program will also work to help students in grades 6, 7, & 8 that have been identified as in need of support from positive peers. High School students will receive rigorous training by Atascadero Unified School District, Candle Inc., and other professional outside resources. This year's community fundraising event, "Dancing With our Stars" aims to provide Lighthouse with the funds to make a large donation to the school district.