This article was written by Ken Knickerbocker. It was originally published on June 6, 2020 by MontcoToday.
The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth (TLC) – an education and human services organization that provides alternative education, coaching, and counseling services to school students and their families – is about to embark on a banner year.
The Audubon-based nonprofit kicked off its 50th anniversary on Thursday by honoring TLC Leadership Academy’s Class of 2020 with a virtual graduation ceremony via Zoom.
TLC Leadership Academy serves as an opportunity and a refuge for students who struggle in traditional school settings. Its therapeutic, trauma-informed team of teachers, counselors, and coaches help students regain a sense of belonging in their community and inspire a curiosity of the world around them.
During the virtual graduation ceremony, April Thomas, TLC’s Chief of Schools Officer, lauded students and staff about their ability to succeed in the face of adversity.
“During this pandemic, you have all shown tremendous courage, flexibility, and resilience as you adapted to an online approach to learn, grow, and overcome,” she said.
At the heart of TLC’s teaching model are its four core values: (1) authentic engagement, (2) meaning making, (3) personalized support, and (4) stimulated curiosity:
1. TLC values each client and student enough to connect with genuine care and without judgment and models healthy interaction in a safe space.
2. TLC believes each life is significant and seeks to help each client and student find meaning in their choices, appreciate their progress, and become intentional in their identified purpose.
3. TLC adjusts its approach to the needs, goals, and strengths of each human being it serves, so every client and student feels safe and able to grow, learn, and heal.
4. TLC strives to empower clients and students to become more connected to the world around them, challenging them to think about and solve problems in new ways and encouraging curiosity about themselves and others.
“I’ve seen firsthand the difference that a talented and dedicated team can make as they passionately live out TLC’s vision to equip individuals and families with the will and skill to reach their full potential,” said Dr. GT Freeman, TLC’s President and CEO.
As a testament to TLC’s commitment to transform lives well past graduation, the students were surprised during the ceremony with the organization’s pledge of up to $8,000 in scholarship money for those furthering their education. Each individual can receive $1,000 per semester for up to eight semesters.
“TLC is honored to have served these students and invest in their future,” said Dr. Freeman.
About TLC: Founded in 1970, TLC has worked with thousands of individuals and families to close the gap in traditional education and behavioral health services. Recognizing the need for additional socioemotional support services for students in local school districts, TLC began its school-based staffing services in 1973 and launched TLC Leadership Academy in 1975.