Lad Lake’s Spiritual Care Program seeks to meet youth on their level, in interesting and interactive ways, through group sessions and one-on-one mentoring.
After almost a year of planning and anticipation, in 2009 Lad Lake launched its Spiritual Care Program, a unique and holistic way of reaching out to its youth to help and heal their spirit, mind, and body.
With the support and vision of John Kasdorf, and under the leadership of Carol Jefferies, the program seeks to help youth and families access their spirituality and reconnect with or build a faith base to assist in their growth and healing. The program also serves as a resource to connect youth and families with pastoral support and spiritual formation. And, while the history is recent, the impact has been notable and extensive.
It is not our place to proselytize or persuade individuals as to how they should believe. We do, however, rely upon our own Christian faith backgrounds to ground and support our ministries.
– Carol Jefferies, Lad Lake
Lad Lake’s Spiritual Care Program is not the first faith-based initiative Jefferies and Kasdorf have undertaken. With Jefferies’ background as a psychiatric chaplain and Kasdorf’s background in business – and as founder of the Kaztex Foundation – they also developed the spiritual care program at Rogers Psychiatric Hospital in Oconomowoc and West Allis, Wisconsin and currently are developing spiritual care programs in other human service agencies in Waukesha County.
One unique aspect of the Spiritual Care Program is that the curriculum is not cookie-cutter. Jefferies and her three spiritual counselors have worked together with a therapist and Lad Lake residential unit supervisor to develop a very specific model of youth-focused programming. “Lad Lake has always tried to think ‘outside the box’ when it comes to programming for at-risk youth”, said Gary Erdmann, executive director of Lad Lake. “For us, the Spiritual Care Program represents more than just being innovative. We have done a good job over the years meeting the physical, emotional, social, and mental health needs of our youth, but struggled with finding the right approach that would focus on their spiritual and moral development. We believe we are on the right track with the Spiritual Care Program.”
Lad Lake’s Spiritual Care Program seeks to meet youth on their level, in interesting and interactive ways, through group sessions and one-on-one mentoring. Once a month they also hold Celebration Sunday, where they invite various faith-based speakers to share their testimonies or messages of inspiration, have live music, and invite the boys to join in singing.
We’re fortunate each of the spiritual counselors have musical abilities. We get the youth involved and engaged by letting them write songs, poems, and rap; all for the purpose of focusing on positive values and character from a faith-based perspective, and allowing them to find hope and healing in what may seem like hopeless situations.
– Carol Jefferies, Lad Lake