As part of the Learning Center, the students meet with local business owners to discuss the secrets to their success. Business leaders who are meeting with the students range from executives and managers from successful companies such as Nike, Google, Microsoft, IBM, NBC, and Apple to local small business owners such as a coffee shop, organic farm, and a video production studio. The entrepreneurial theme will also be integrated into the daily academics and the girls will also visit the local businesses.
Academic Director for the Academy at Sisters, Rick Buening commented, “This program exposes girls to a whole variety of career options. We hope the girls use this as an inspiration to change their current path. We also link the discussions into the topics they are studying so their education becomes more authentic.”
Not only does this program support the strong academic objectives for the Academy, but this is also part of the therapeutic treatment the girls receive. Psychologist Dr. Julie Schneider commented: "Exposing girls to positive role models is a helpful adjunct to their therapy as well. It helps the girls see successful people not as special people who are somehow better than they are, but as regular people who have worked hard to overcome difficulties and achieve something important. The girls start to see themselves as people who can also achieve success, whereas before they may have believed success was outside of their reach because of their problems."
According to Stephanie Alvstad, the Executive Director for the Academy at Sister, the Central Oregon area is full of volunteers that are more than willing to donate their time. “There are amazing people in this community, highly successful businesspeople, who are thrilled to come and spend time with our girls.”
David Kottkamp, a retired Nike Vice President, was the first to kick off the program. David said, "I was very honored to be asked to meet with the students and staff. Through a huge amount of hard work and innovation inspiring things are happening at The Academy at Sisters. Central Oregon should be both proud and supportive."
Former Dateline NBC Senior Producer Sandy Cummings commented, "I am impressed by how sharp, enthusiastic and engaged the students at the Academy at Sisters are. Exposing them to a diverse group of business leaders is a wonderful way to broaden their ideas about their own potential. I have no doubt the education, skills and support they are getting from the Academy staff will help them to grow into successful, productive adults. "
The Academy at Sisters is a therapeutic boarding school for at-risk girls between the ages of 13-18. We are located in Bend, Oregon. For more information about our programs, visit us at www.academyatsisters.org.