The retreat was held at the Falls Creek Retreat Center in Frances with the Raymond, Willapa Valley, South Bend, and Naselle school districts participating this year. The Peer Helpers program is based on the notion that teens are likely to go to their peers when faced with problems. Peer Helpers are identified via a survey of students at each school as youth other students would feel comfortable going to for advice or help with an issue.
Peer Helpers received training at the retreat on a variety of basic helping topics such as active listening and how to identify when an adult should get involved, as well as receiving information on specific topics faced by youth today, like substance use or depression. The groups each have plans to meet throughout the school year to plan activities, events, and programs that build capacity within their schools so that youth can be more effectively heard and helped (and referred when appropriate) by their peers.
This retreat planning led by the north county Teen Advocacy Coalition (TAC) and with support from facilitators and volunteers from each school, was made possible through a Millage mini grant received from the Pacific County Health Department.
Thanks go to the following volunteers, chaperones, and session facilitators for making this program possible including Brad Donovan, Justin Laine, Alyssa Caudill, Kristin Clouse, Amy Nelson, Jason Nelson, Erin Popovich, Gracie Manlow, Abby Turner, Joel Bale, Debbie Elmore, Melissa Sexton, Monica Younger, Jessica Verboomen, Lyndsey Owen, Jen Gillies-Alvarez, Brian Shook, Shelley Carter, Sharon Block, Meredith Peyton, and Erin Frasier.