Peer Assistance

Helping students every day

Peer assistance is a class as well as a club here at Oak Hills High School. This year’s class is taught by Kristen McDaniel and is overseen by the counselors at our school. Starting out in beginning peer assistance, students will learn about various issues other students may encounter, how student cope with these issues, and how to help students who may be going through these things.

OHHS peer assistance teacher Ms. McDaniel further explains the duties carried out by beginning and advanced students. “They [beginning peer assistance] learn about important issues facing young people (such as bullying, drugs, sex, etc.), learn coping mechanisms, and practice counseling others. So, sometimes there are videos of scenarios or issues, sometimes there are discussions, group work, etc.”

After going through a full year of beginning Peer Assistance, you are eligible to request advanced Peer Assistance the following year. You must meet all of the requirements in order to be a peer counselor due to the important duties these students carry out on a daily basis. This type of work and involvement with students can be tough, which is why students need to have the first year of counseling training before actually working with students around campus.

Ms. McDaniel continued, “They [advanced peer assistance] work up in the counseling office and actually listen and talk to students that go to counseling to talk about an issue or problem. They work with those students to overcome and persevere through their problems and provide support for them.”

Providing support for students requires a specific amount of time training and gaining a better understanding of students and what they go through. Students in the class are encouraged to talk to students around campus and be social with classmates, getting to know personal details and helping fellow classmates get through issues in their own lives. Apart from the fellowship in the classroom, this attitude is expected to be carried out while on campus and with other students.

“Our peer students provide support for other students. Many times students think an adult may not understand or doesn’t know what they are going through. Peer students provide someone their own age to talk too. Many students are more comfortable talking to someone their own age who understands. Peer students are valuable on campus as they provide support, friendships, set examples, and act role models,” said Ms. McDaniel.

Peer Assistance is taken very seriously, and each student is trained in scenario-type situations for the future. Whether that be the following year in advanced Peer Assistance while counseling young high school students, or carrying that sense of compassion throughout their entire life. The skills learned in the class not only benefit yourself at school, but also at home and potentially in a person’s future life at a job, with family, or even with friends.

Ms. McDaniel continued, “Peer teaches students how to cope with difficult situations. These coping skills can be used throughout one’s life. It also teaches communication and listening skills which are beneficial to every relationship (family, friends, and romantic). Learning to listen to and be there for others may also save someone’s life.”

Getting involved in Peer Assistance is as easy as talking to your counselor or visiting Ms.McDaniel in room C-22.


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