How PHlight Club Transforms Youth

Rachel from Seeley Lake, Montana

Rachel from Seeley Lake, Montana

As a youth worker in Seeley Lake, Montana, I see children every day who need our help and support. Kids like 14-year-old Kelsey, who felt so hopeless last April that she attempted suicide. And, 12-year-old Sam, who comes from a home where he is abused and underweight due to severe neglect.

I’m also a mother of six. I try to help as many kids as I can but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Last summer, something incredible happened. I was invited to attend Brightways Learning’s 2-day PHlight Club event at our local school with my adopted teenage daughter, Liz. It was a life-changer for us and the other 30 students and adults who attended.  

PHlight Club brought together teens and adults from our community for non-stop learning, connecting and growing. Through activities, lessons, discussions, and surveys, PHlight Club equipped the students with the skills, attitudes, and values they need to thrive amidst life’s challenges.  

Within a safe and supportive environment, the kids developed confidence and resiliency. Most importantly, they learned how to thicken their “webs of support” by increasing the caring and connected adults in their lives. 

The transformations were incredible. Kelsey began to realize and truly believe that her life has value. That she matters. By the end of PHlight Club, she had gained enough confidence and courage to stand up at a community gathering to share what she had learned. She has since strengthened her web of support and made lifelong connections that will help her succeed in school and life. 

Sam participated in trust-building activities where he felt safe and accepted. Seeing his big smile during the “flying” exercise was priceless. He learned that there is no shame or condemnation in asking for help.  

Another wonderful outcome is that my relationship with my daughter, Liz, blossomed after PHlight Club. She joined our family as a shy, timid 7-year-old whose troubled mother had died. The PHlight Club experience was invaluable to both of us. Liz’s confidence has soared and we are now able to communicate in ways we never would have imagined.  

Kids need us. Too many youth fall through the cracks. I have experienced first-hand the powerful impact PHlight Club makes on children. I truly believe we need to offer PHlight Clubs in every school, church, and community so we can help more teens like Kelsey and Sam become healthy, happy, and productive students and community members.