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Chelsea’s Light Peer Corps is a well-structured, on-campus peer-to-peer program under the guidance of a staff professional from that school. The goal is to create trust and bonding between peers, where self-worth and strength of character are supported, where students embrace and teach acceptance and diversity, and where they are given permission and support to truly step into their full potential as role models and agents of change. Thanks to the generosity of SDG&E and Qualcomm, Peer Corps programs are currently in place at Poway High School and The Preuss School UCSD.
The Importance of a Peer-to-Peer Program:
The symbiotic nature of a peer program is what sets it apart. It has been shown that teens who help others have an increased level of self-worth and are less likely to make the poor decisions that lead to risky behaviors. The peer-to-peer volunteer gains lifelong skills and learns how to generate positivity in all he/she does.
In turn, the teens receiving the peer support are given positive personal attention and guidance from a specially trained fellow student, in the setting where they spend the majority of their time. They can problem-solve together, reinforcing each other on making wise decisions.
Although ideal, in actuality most teens don’t turn to their parent(s) for guidance in today’s world. When faced with crucial and impactful decisions, they are too often misguided or heavily influenced by pressure applied by “friends.”
The Kings Reflect on Chelsea’s Experience with Peer Counseling:
In 2007, we relocated our family from Chicago to San Diego midway through our daughter’s freshman year of high school. When our Chelsea arrived for her first day on her new campus she was immediately greeted by three students and was invited to join them for lunch. Who were these teenagers and why were they making such effort to welcome a new transplant to their campus? We soon learned they were volunteers in a Peer Program. They were putting into practice what they had been taught to unify, accept, support and encourage every individual, particularly those who might need extra support.
Chelsea’s experience with these students and subsequent exposure to this program inspired her to become an active peer-to-peer volunteer. Chelsea thrived in this role, evangelized the benefits of the program and became a positive mentor within her high school community.