It was with great pleasure that the staff and students at the Betty K. Marler Youth Services Center (BMYSC) recently welcomed back twenty alumnae youth, who had successfully transitioned into to the community, to the Betty K. Marler Alumna function earlier this month.
These ambitious young ladies arrived from all over the metro area to take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with their peers and staff in a pro-social environment hosted by the same local restaurant for the past eight years. Alumnae students expressed genuine happiness through smiles as they recognized and greeted each other and staff by exchanging handshakes, hugs and heartfelt stories. Some students brought family members to share in their reunion with peers and staff. This was especially validating as many had worked hard to repair relationships with family, and the positive result showed.
Over the course of the evening, alumnae students shared their current success in multiple areas of their lives, giving details related to current employment, college coursework and successful re-unification with family members. Graduates shared how their experiences in the program prepared them for real life success in the community through ongoing education, engaging in treatment, and learning and practicing the skills necessary to be successful. Many of the young women reflected upon their past challenges and how their time at BMYSC helped them to mature, grow, improve self-esteem, and support them towards their chosen future. It was especially rewarding to overhear one former student explain how she wanted to pursue a career working with troubled youth and obtain her degree in Social Work. As the evening came to a close, alumnae students gathered together for a group picture to mark the occasion. Plans to attend the next Alumna Dinner already were being made before students left for the evening.