Peer to Peer

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In the last month, high school students have taught me more about teaching, relationships, and helping others than my many years of life experience. Recently our school started a START Peer to Peer Links program . Students working with students on the Autism Spectrum to learn school and social skills. In essence, friendships created through the program can help identified students be a part of school and community through positive interactions.
In our programs few months, our student “link” volunteers are 40 and growing daily. Students see a genuine need to support the identified students. They extend themselves to working with these students during class, at lunch, and before school, not because they have to or are getting credit, but because they WANT to. Kids are stopping me in the hallway asking how they can sign up and be a peer or help the program.
Today a parent of a LINK stopped me to talk about the wonderful influence of the program. At night her son wants to tell her about the program, how he helped his student, and most importantly, how great he feels about being involved with the whole program. Another parent recently sent a message me with similar accolades. She was thankful that her son was finally involved in something at school and was beginning to feel a part of the school. Another time a student sent a message wanting to be a part of the program, not as a link, but identified in himself that he needed a friend.
The other Peer to Peer advisors and I are overwhelmed by the onslaught of volunteers, but in awe of the power of this program. These kids have grand plans for the program and we are along for the ride.
With no funding, fundraising is a priority to keep this, all volunteer program, afloat. The “LINKS” did a Pizza Hut fundraiser and ran a basketball game concessions. We want to purchase student Tiger Links shirts for the students so we can increase awareness about our program and reward the students for their dedication. Also on the agenda is an end of the year team building outing. Many of these kids come different walks of life and are just getting learning about each other. Hopefully getting the word out will help our funding efforts.
These students have fueled a a passionate fire that is burning bright. I am honored to be a part it. More to come as the goodness of this program spreads!

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