SUNY Morrisville Liberty Partnerships Program Alumni
My name is Dakota Hall, I graduated high school in 2017 from Bainbridge-Guilford High School.
I am currently in the process of moving out of New York and applying for Columbia College in Missouri to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Human Services.
I originally joined liberty during middle school because my older sister was apart of the program and she always had fun stories about Liberty, not fully understanding at the time how important it would actually become in my life.
Throughout high school, I was very active in the program. I enjoyed being a peer leader for the elementary liberty students; I attended trips with them, stayed after school once a week to help my schools advocate with them, and i feel like it helped some of the kids open up to me knowing that I was just a student myself. I also attended the Albany Youth Summit my Sophomore year and was able to meet students from all over New York, I learned how to open up better and not be so afraid to let people know who I was as a person.
Liberty helped shape my life tremendously, but most importantly the staff had a huge impact on my life as well. At one point in High School, I had 3 pairs of clothes. The LPP director at the time had taken time out of her schedule to take me shopping for clothes and shoes so that I had a decent amount of clothes to wear to school. My junior and senior years were combined so that I could graduate early because I was set on dropping out of high school. If it weren’t for my advocate, Pat Yaddow, I definitely would have. She was my biggest support system throughout high school, and even still today. She saw how much potential I had to overcome all the obstacles thrown at me, and pushed me to succeed. I am forever grateful for all the opportunities that this program has given me.
I am most proud of graduating from high school, especially because I did it a year early. I had junior and senior classes combined, which was challenging but being able to have the liberty room to go to and work not only during school but also after school quite often, gave me a relaxing space to go and focus to get my work done.
I advise current students to really take full advantage of the program and all that it has to offer. Open up to your advocates, if you need help with anything they can find a way to assist you or at least point you in the direction towards help. Utilize the spaces provided by the program to not only get your work done but to feel safe and completely welcomed. Liberty will open so many doors for you, as long as you allow it to.
Community, to me, means people coming together to form a whole in times that it may be needed. Opening up to one another, willingness to be supportive in times that someone needs just a little more help, is what being a community is all about.