Lakeside administrator and alumna Jamie Asaka oversees the Upper and Middle school student support teams, which provide help to students and families in almost any kind of need, from social and emotional to financial and legal — sometimes just lending a sympathetic ear to those on overload from parenting teenagers. Reach Asaka at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-440-2901.
Q: Jamie, what's the goal of Lakeside's student and family support program?
A: Lakeside has so many things to offer, and we want to support students so they can get the most of their experience; that means partnering with parents and guardians. However, we can help students and their families navigate this experience of raising teenagers; we are ready and able to do it.
Q: Whom do you help?
A: The people on our support team work with families who, across the board, are feeling increased pressures. There are so many more demands on kids now — to have a passion, to be brilliant in one area. Colleges are more selective, sports are more selective. A lot of people were negatively impacted by the recession. And then being a teenager is so different today and even understanding that difference is challenging for parents and guardians. It's hard for every generation, but before there were no cellphones, no Instagram, no Internet. All these ways of being connected that really change the culture, and how to parent with that, is hard.
Q: What kinds of things can you and other members of the team help with?
A: Any type of need, including needing help on how to raise a teenager. Working with kids ages 10 to 18 – over time, it's really not realistic to expect to NOT have something come up!
We've helped families on issues around divorce, illness, and job loss. A family moving and their transportation system breaking down. Referrals for outside support such as therapists, doctors. A student is overwhelmed with homework. A family member goes to jail or dies. A parent or guardian wants to participate in school life but faces a barrier. It really runs the gamut.
Q: Why does Lakeside provide these services – aren't there other ways that families can get help?
A: The Seattle area has a lot of resources but they can be difficult to access. One of the strengths of our team is that we're experienced at navigating difficult situations. For example, a family is issued a court order; I can pick up the phone and get the information: What does this mean? What do we need to do? If a family can't make a mortgage payment, I can write a grant for families in housing crises. There are lots of nonprofits able to support families but it's hard for families to figure that out in the middle of a crisis.
Q: Is it unusual for an independent school to have a program like this?
A: It's not unusual to have a student support team, but the school is making a big statement about the importance of the student and family by giving me a voice at the director level. It's my goal to help keep the needs of students and families front and center as school decisions are made.
Q: How can families get in touch with you?
A: Anyone can call or email me at email@example.com or 206-440-2901. It's important to remember that everyone has issues; everyone will have trouble at some point. We're here to help you work it out.