Michael LoGuidice brings a strong background in social work, a deep understanding of the emotional and social needs of youth, and a driving passion to see young people thrive to his role as Senior Social Worker at the Liberty LEADS program in Morningside Heights. A role model for youth and staff alike, Michael works relentlessly to ensure that the young people in his program have the skills and personal strength they need to reach their full potential.
Michael’s Adventure-Based Counseling (ABC) program helps boys access and develop the social and emotional skills that they will require to succeed in their teen years as they transition from middle school to high school, and to college and beyond. Through a diverse range of outdoor team-building and personal development exercises, the program encourages students to step outside their comfort zones, simulating in a safe and caring environment the stressful experiences that face developing adolescents.
Before Michael’s arrival at Liberty LEADS, 60% of the boys in the program between 8th and 9th grades were dropping out. The program now retains 85% of these youth. Through his adventure-based programming, Michael breaks through the boys’ resistance to traditional counseling and involves them in emotionally therapeutic experiences that meet their developmental needs while simultaneously appealing to their interests. Michael keeps the boys engaged by forging close individual bonds with each, providing them with a sense of comfort and belonging.
Michael’s reach extends beyond the youth in his program, connecting with families through counseling sessions that help parents and guardians develop a better understanding of their relationships with their children. He is also dedicated to helping his colleagues at Liberty LEADS and at other agencies replicate his success, eagerly sharing his strategies and knowledge with others.
Michael’s incredible energy, emotional sensitivity, and good humor have allowed him to connect with an especially difficult population at a critical juncture in their education and development. His hard work helps the boys at Liberty LEADS to see the promise in themselves and challenges them to strive for personal growth.