“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” – Hanoch McCarty
Education is tough. And sometimes the greatest challenge for kids is simply believing they have what it takes to succeed.
Enter Johanna Lapierre.
Johanna is an Educational Technician III at Spurwink’s Glickman Academy school – a fancy term that means she works to help remove barriers to learning for youth with mental health challenges. She works with a highly skilled team to help middle school students find alternative methods to learning and improve regulating and coping skills – by first inspiring belief in themselves.
“I love making learning easy. A lot of the kids that come to the school have had really poor experiences in education. They don’t like to learn because they’re scared of failure. Spurwink creates a safety net – we let them fall, but not fail. We set them up in situations where they can grow, do better, and learn.”
And the students do more than just learn – they learn to believe they can learn. After a year of working with Johanna, a student who once frequently swore, destroyed property, and had minimal patience is now thriving – in school and the community. In the student’s words, “I’ve learned that I am able to ask questions.”
Thanks to Johanna, this once-failing student is now able to look her education in the eyes and make the simple, self-sufficient statement:
“I think I can.”