1. Peer Resources Publishes Next Issue of Compass
2. Review of Peer Helping Student WorkBook
3. Create and Develop High Quality Peer Assistance Programs
4. What's New from Peer Research
PEER RESOURCES PUBLISHES NEXT ISSUE OF COMPASS
Bucking the trend for information to be distributed exclusively on the Internet, Peer Resources announced the publication of the next issue of its print magazine, Compass: A Magazine for Peer Assistance, Mentorship and Coaching. According to senior editor, Rey Carr, this advertising-free, non-commercial publication brings together "the tools to navigate the heart, mind and soul" and has been designed to "recognize the close relationship between coaches, mentors and peer assistants."
This particular issue contains many articles that will be of value to peer program leaders and consultants. A feature article by Rey Carr, CEO of Peer Resources, describes the differences between school-based peer programs and peer programs designed for youth on the streets. And Barbara Varenhorst, the acknowledged founder of peer work with youth shares ideas about how to not only make training more meaningful but also how to combine skill and spirit to enable peers to put their caring into practice.
Additional articles focus on a new way that peer leaders can conduct training through the use of telecourses, and a review of bridge line services that make telecourse delivery possible. Brief reports are included on how to use peer mentoring for new employee or student orientation, an ice-breaker for peer training, a summary of the impact of peer assistance in schools, and first-hand stories illustrating the power of peer mentoring. Other articles on why peer assistants will be the leaders of the future, trends in coaching, and evaluating mentoring programs are also part of this issue of Compass.
A subscription to this print publication is included with membership in the Peer Resources Network. Copies are available to non-members for $15.00 each plus postage. Additional details are available at www.peer.ca/Compassinfo.html or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
REVIEW OF NEW PEER HELPING STUDENT WORKBOOK
The practice of students helping each other to achieve their goals and dreams has a long historical tradition. Tutoring, for example, has ancient origins and remains today one of the most powerful ways that students learn from each other. Student leadership has a more recent beginning but is equally as widespread in schools across North America. But the most profound example of students helping each other and one that has the most power for creating a safe and peaceful world is when students actively demonstrate their care for one another.
Typically called peer helping or peer assistance, this method of students helping other students is based on their natural willingness and desire to talk to someone who will listen and understand, be non-judgmental and accepting and in many cases has similar life experiences. What I discovered thirty years ago when I first started in this field is still true today: young people when experiencing a worry, frustration or problem are more likely to seek the council of another young person rather than discuss the issue with an adult.
Why not help young people to have better skills to help their friends? Why not provide them with the training and supervision to turn peer pressure into peer support? Through our research we learned many years ago that not only was this possible, but that young people could easily take responsibility for exceptional leadership in this field.
But youth cannot do this completely on their own. They need the support and assistance of highly skilled and caring professionals who can be role models. At the same time these adult professionals must know how to nurture the abilities of youth without taking over or "professionalizing" what young people can do for and with each other.
Long-time Peer Resources Network member and one of North America's top peer trainers, Diane Taub exemplifies the caring professional. With the assistance of some highly talented and skilled peer helpers, Ms. Taub, former Coordinator of Student Leadership Training at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, has authored a new workbook that provides exercises, activities, and information that will accomplish two major school-based peer program goals: (1) provide proven, high quality experiential training for students; and (2) serve as a credible and tested curriculum guide for peer programs that give student volunteers credit towards graduation requirements.
This student workbook, published by Scarecrow Press, was originally inspired by The Peer Helping Starter Kit, available from Peer Resources. However, the thoroughness of the workbook enables it to match up with many other training guides. Most importantly this workbook will benefit any student leadership program where students want to put their caring for each other into practice.
The book is called Student Leadership Training: A Workbook to Reinforce Effective Communication Skills by Diane Taub available from Scarecrow Press, Education Division. The cost is $US14.95 (ISBN 0-8108-4555-5).
LEARN TO CREATE OR STRENGTHEN HIGH QUALITY PEER PROGRAMS
Peer programs exist in virtually all areas of society and more and more organizations have become interested in how they can build on the power of peers to help bring about organizational service goals.
A few simple principles related to recruiting, screening, matching, training and supervising peers combined with designing a peer assistance strategy that increasingly involves peers in the maintenance and delivery of the peer program provide the basis for the content of Peer Leader and Program Development seminars conducted by Peer Resources. In 2003, Peer Resources will be offering three seminars: July 7-11 in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada), which will focus on programs for schools and communities; July 14-18 in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada), which will focus on schools, communities and universities; and a special seminar that will focus on peer programs for First Nations communities, July 14-18 in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada).
Persons who have more experience with peer programs or who have already taken the Peer Program Seminar can apply to take an Advanced Seminar for Experienced Peer Leaders. These seminars will be held in 2003: May 15-16, in Santa Fe, New Mexico; July 7-8, in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada); July 10-11 in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) exclusively for persons who have completed the First Nations Peer Leader course; and December 4-5 in Tiburon, California. For more information about these seminars, go to www.peer.ca/trng.html.
For information about peer seminars and workshops led by other organizations, go to www.peer.ca/peerevents.html.
WHAT'S NEW FROM THE PEER ASSISTANCE LITERATURE
Peer Resources continually scans the professional and popular published literature to find articles of interest to people involved in mentoring. Two of several hundred recent additions to the searchable, annotated bibliography at www.mentors.ca/SearchB.html are:
Dennison, S. (2000). A win-win peer mentoring and tutoring program: A collaborative model. Journal of Primary Prevention, 20, (3), 161-174.
Presents a peer mentoring and tutoring project, the Big Buddies' Program of Forsyth County, North Carolina. Goals of the program included preventing school dropout, increasing youths' interest in volunteerism, and expanding real-world learning experiences for undergraduate students in social work. Issues arising during the initial year of operation included program set-up, participant selection, schedule and location of buddy time, content of mentor-tutor training, program coordination, use of materials with plans, and program evaluation design. 25 3rd- and 4th-grade Little Buddies were paired with high-school 11th- and 12th-grade honors students. Results of a program evaluation show positive but not significant increases in self-esteem, attitudes toward school, and on-task classroom behaviors. Sixteen of the 25 children improved 1 grade level in the academic subject in which they received tutoring from their Big Buddies. Self-esteem and other-directedness increased with Big Buddies. (RAC)
Sheehan, K., DiCara, J.A., LeBailly, S. and Christoffel, K.K. (1999). Adapting the gang model: Peer mentoring for violence prevention. Pediatrics, 104, 1, 50-55.
Over an 18 month period an inner city peer mentoring program showed that 7-13 year old children who received lessons from 14-21 year-old trained peers decreased their attitudes toward violence and decreased aggressive behaviours. (RAC)
Klein, A.R. and Cnaan, R.A. (1998). Significance of peer social support with dual diagnosed clients: Findings from a pilot study. Research on Social Work, 8, 529-552.