Sherando grad thrives in human services program


Lidiya Bryant brought what she has learned while studying for her human services degree to her sexual and domestic violence prevention internship at the Laurel Center in Winchester this summer.

A 2019 graduate of Sherando High School, Bryant had taken Laurel Ridge courses while in high school through the dual-enrollment program. She graduates this winter from Laurel Ridge with her associate degree in human services.

Originally, Bryant planned to get her degree in psychology, but found she was really enjoying her human services classes and how the field puts her more in touch with those she is helping.

“I liked that the program was more applicable to human life,” she said.

As part of her internship, Bryant gave lessons on boundaries, consent and bullying to children at the Kids Clubs of Northern Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, Bryant worked on the Safe Church project, a faith-based movement working to end child sexual abuse.

With some programming options limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bryant had to get creative.

“What are people doing right now?” she asked. “They’re on social media. I wanted to think about how I could reach teenagers in middle school and high school to help them with some things they don’t teach you in school.”

This led Bryant to start the Shen Valley Youth Empowerment (@shenvalley_youth) Instagram page to share informative and empowering messages.

Bryant has “loved” her time at Laurel Ridge.

“If I could do another year, I would,” she said. “Getting my first year of college done while still in high school definitely saved me time and money. I love the atmosphere at Laurel Ridge and I loved my teachers.”

Sociology/Services Professor Larry Friedenberg was a favorite.

“He really treats his students like his kids almost, it’s like a big family, he really cares,” she said.

Bryant is still deciding on what university she would like to transfer, saying she would first like to spend some time working in the field.

“I really enjoy working in the realm of prevention because you feel like you’re making a difference,” she said.

Learn more about Laurel Ridge’s human services program at