by Amanda Carlson
Peer Advisors are a group of seniors and juniors that work with our Social Psychology classes to provide an opportunity for peers to talk to peers about topics that can be covered in the class or other important topics to sophomores. As one would guess, peers enjoy, and often prefer, feeling comfortable talking to their peers and asking questions that they may not otherwise ask an adult. Peer Advisors are trained in active listening, class presentation, small group facilitation. We often have speakers come in to augment our training or discussions on a certain topic. In recent years, the Peer Advisors have covered topics of stress, drugs & alcohol use, relationships with family, friends, romantic relationships. They also, at times, offer a chance at the end of their lesson to ask general questions of these peers. Peer Advisors also serve as mentors to these younger students and extend their understanding of the curriculum to influence peers and keep one another safe beyond the school day.
Youth Educators are junior students who are trained similarly to Peer Advisors to present lessons on peer pressure and transitioning to high school to our eighth graders in their second semester. Juniors learn about classroom management, listening skills, small group facilitation and prepare for discussions on peer pressure, ways to handle the pressure in situations, gain an older peers perspective on high school and what to expect. They not only talk about not just saying “No” to drugs and alcohol. But help eighth graders learn the skills to handle social and difficult situations. Often , our Youth Educators have made great connections with their eighth graders and often reconnect with them when they start high school and help lead our freshmen orientation. They become a friendly face to ask questions of and gain support. Being a Youth Educator involves commitment to model safe, non-drinking, non-drug use behavior.