Eagles Pride honors youth at Eagle Village

HERSEY – Eagle Village recently recognized residents at Eagles Pride, a bi-annual event that honors the accomplishments of youth making positive strides in their programs.

“It gives our residents a chance to feel good about themselves and be pampered,” said Lisa Spaugh, Eagle Village marketing coordinator.

Volunteers and Eagle Village staff did residents’ makeup, hair and nails and helped the boys choose ties and jackets. The youth then took turns visiting LightHouse Chapel on campus, where they had their pictures taken next to the Christmas tree, beside the grand piano and outside near the pond.

“Many of the kids who come through our programs don’t always get to have that prom experience or have senior pictures taken,” Spaugh said. “It’s a treat to be able to provide that for them, and they get to take the photos when they leave.”

The culminating event of Eagles Pride, a formal dinner, featured keynote speakers Jason Vander Laan and Jake Lampman, Ferris State University quarterback and wide receiver.

Vander Laan spoke to Eagle Village residents about setting goals for their lives and knowing when to say “no” to friends and temptations.

“Once you get a goal, everything you do in life will revolve around that,” Vander Laan said. “There are so many obstacles that come across your path, but if you have a relationship with God, no matter what is going on, He will be there for you.”

Vander Laan also shared his goal with residents.

“In my freshman year of high school I told myself, ‘I want to go to the NFL,’” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of people just laugh at me when I tell them that’s my goal.”

Lampman spoke about the importance of acting selflessly and taking pride in one's accomplishments.

“There are two different types of pride,” Lampman said. “There’s selfish pride, pride in doing something selfish for yourself, and there’s selfless pride. A lot of you are here because you or someone else had selfish pride. But you coming to Eagle Village and having success in your program, that’s you having selfless pride, because you want to make yourselves and the people around you happy for the things you are doing in your life.

“I want you guys to take a step back and think to yourselves that you are blessed to be in the situation you are in right now. No matter where you came from or what you’ve been through, where you are right now is a fresh start.”

Residents enjoyed hearing from Vander Laan and Lampman, Spaugh said.

“They are so close in age that it really gave the kids someone to look up to,” Spaugh said. “They really seemed to appreciate having someone around their age speak to them.”

Eagle Village is a non-profit family treatment center providing intervention services and camps, residential treatment, foster care and adoption services for all counties in Michigan. If you know of a family in crisis that may benefit from these programs, or are interested in volunteering to do hair, makeup or take photos at Eagles Pride, contact Eagle Village at (231) 832-2234 or visit eaglevillage.org.