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'Peer Helper' Program Helps Students
DAPHNE, Ala. (WPMI) Thursday, officials at Baldwin County schools held the first mass training for Peer Helpers. You could call them the anti-bullying, anti-drug, anti-drop out foot soldiers.
Peer Helpers are 7th and 8th graders at Daphne Middle School who have stepped up to help others.
"People are being bullied and I think it's bad that whenever somebody is bullying you that not a lot of people stand up. And we are here to stand up for them now," said Peer Helper Cairo Plauche.
The Peer Helper program now has an army of more than 200 middle and high school students. Those in the program aide professional counselors.
"Our philosophy is that you train as many kids as you can, to become liaisons between the student body and the small number of counselors and adults you have on campus," said Counselor Judy Champion.
The idea is to be proactive in stopping a problem before it gets worse. The program has been around since 1998, and is funded by the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation. It's named after Foley High School student Jennifer Claire Moore who committed suicide.
Mathew Stinson, a junior at Foley High, has been a Peer Helper since middle school. He said passing on the legacy to the younger kids only makes sense.
"I just got out of a group. We were doing some role playing situations and I had a girl every time give me the correct answer the way I would have given it. Consistently she said I would talk to the students and the bully to see what was wrong. So yeah, I see a lot of hope in this," said Stinson.
Students in the program go through a selection process some are recommended by teachers, others apply and go through an essay and interview process.