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Lun’yea believed that she would be dead or in prison by the time she was 25, like her older brothers. She was in her brothers’ gang and quickly got into fights at school and repeatedly suspended. School was hard for her because she was several years below her expected reading and math levels. At Lydia she found remediation both academically and socially, and began to believe in herself. The fighting stopped; she got out of the gang. In 2008, Lun’yea became the first high school graduate of her family and is currently in vocational school with the future goal of becoming a radiology technician.

“I just wanted to write you this letter to express my gratitude towards what you provided me with as a young adult. I attended Lydia Urban Academy and at the time I was very unsure of my future path, and frankly I was a lost and troubled youth. I am sure today that without the support I received from you and the teachers there I would not be where I am today. I truly thank you for all of that! Today I work at the Janet Wattles Center; I also am a Volunteer firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician and going to school part time to become a Social Worker. Without your support I honestly believe none of this would be possible!

Thank you for everything!”

Lun'yea - Former Student

We do our best. Well, we do better than our best because the Lord is doing it!


My sophomore year is when I started a whole new me at my new school called LYDIA Urban Academy. My sophomore year is when I changed my life and ways around with the help of my new school and the teachers. It’s better than any other school because if I was not at LYDIA this might have been my fifth time back down there to juvenile (detention). I’m proud of myself. I have never done this good in school before and I’m getting my grades up. Everyone in LYDIA is like family no matter the skin color. And I always wanted to go to school in peace with all people that are not the same color of me.”

LYDIA Sophmore

Even in the midst of chaos and destruction, one can find peace and salvation