By Sarah Harr
What is a Peer Helper?
You see them in the halls every day; they are ordinary students, just like you and me, but they have been equipped with extraordinary abilities. According to the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, “Peer Helpers are students trained to recognize when their peers may have a problem, listen to fellow students confidentially and assist them with emotional, societal, or academic struggles.”
There are over 1,000 Peer Helpers across Baldwin County, and Foley High School is home to many of these exceptional students.
What is it like being a Peer Helper?
“To be a Peer Helper is to be constantly surrounded by a positive and loving environment,” stated Sherman McCarthy, “We take this atmosphere and put it in our regular lives so that others can feel positively influenced and accepted.”
What do you like most about being a Peer Helper?
“I want to be that shoulder for people to cry on. I want to help them feel less alone,” expressed Hannah Pratt, “Being a peer helper is fun and all, but it is also a lot of responsibility. It’s not just fun and games. There’s a lot of different people with a lot of different issues. You’re taking these problems from people to lessen their plate.”
Why did you become a Peer Helper? Would you recommend being a Peer Helper?
“I wanted a way to be involved with my peers, be a part of a support system, and have a program that guides me to help the people in my school. I recommend being a peer helper only if your heart is truly there to help others, lead by example, and put in work others are not willing to,” Kiaya Sherman answered.
What has been your favorite Peer Helper experience?
“My favorite experience has been when we went to the elementary school, J. Larry Newton, and we taught the kids and trained them about Peer Helpers,” claimed Hannah Pratt, “The kids were so passionate about peer helping, and that’s why I think that was my favorite experience.”
“My favorite part of the Peer Helper experience has been taking the skills that we’ve learned to help put a smile on someone’s face,” said Sherman McCarthy.
What is a common misconception about Peer Helpers?
According to Hannah Pratt, “People think that peer helpers have to be perfect. I think that they need to be held up to a higher standard, but they are people too. They want to help people get through things they’ve been through themselves.”
What have you learned from being a Peer Helper, both about yourself and others?
“Being a Peer Helper has taught me lot about myself, such as my strengths and weaknesses and how I can better help others,” stated Reagan Lewanski, “This experience has taught me how to help everyone around me!”