Peer Helpers Program
Peer Helpers is a comprehensive, peer-to-peer prevention and support program. Our mission is to empower students to be academically, socially, and emotionally successful; to recognize and resolve conflict; to value diversity; and to be advocates for positive change and healthy choices.
Peer Helpers is an evidence-based program that takes a comprehensive, two-tiered approach to promoting the mental health of our youth, as well as reducing youth violence and suicide.
Tier 1 includes detailed prevention education for all students. Tier 2 teaches a diverse group of students (grades K-12) a core set of skills to help them identify, communicate with, and support their at-risk classmates.
The program covers many of the issues that affect our youth today, such as: bullying, divorce, family illness, body image, grief and coping, mental health and depression.
Download our Peer Helpers brochure for more information.
When a young person is seeking help, validation, or guidance, they will likely reach out to their peers for support long before turning to an adult. The Peer Helpers program uses its 2 components, prevention and support, to prepare and empower our youth to advocate for one another, so they can continue to make a positive impact on each other.
Peer Helpers offer their fellow students encouragement and assistance with the emotional, societal, behavioral, and educational challenges that they face in day-to-day life.
They serve as tutors, mentors, mediators, and advocates for their peers. They also assist new students in transitioning between schools and communities.
The Peer Helpers program has helped students to stay in school and graduate, avoid risky behaviors, and decide against suicide. It has helped administrators become aware of students' home situations that required intervention from social services. This program has helped students continue in school while they were homeless, thrive after drug overdoses, overcome bullying, improve their grades, and get connected to other students for the first time in their lives.
Peer Helpers provides role models and assistance to children who may not have either at home. Peer Helpers can fill the void for students who need time and attention to help guide them through their education.
The Peer Helpers program consists of three components which address Prevention & SEL (Tier 1) and Student Support (Tier 2) of the School-Based Mental Health Model, as well as The Peer Helpers Portal for data driven decision making.
Click the image to view a larger version.
Tier 1 is the school-wide, comprehensive prevention and SEL curricula, addressed through P.A.T.H:
Prevention & Awareness for Total Health
P.A.T.H. is K-12 grade level curricula that addresses the prevention topics:
bullying, abuse, suicide, and drugs and alcohol
Lessons are scripted with handouts and activities.
They include an educator overview, and letters for the parent.
Lessons are 20-30 minutes long.
They are designed to be taught by all educators across campus. Having lessons presented across campus to all students has been proven to improve school climate, as all teachers are engaged and use the same vocabulary when addressing topics outside of academic curriculum.
The P.A.T.H. curriculum is updated annually
to ensure information is current and relatable to youth.
The charts below show the number of times each individual prevention topic is addressed within each grade level curriculum or unit. Click one of the images to view a larger version.
Tier 2 seeks to identify and support at-risk students through our peer-to-peer support component, Peer Helpers.
Peer Support - Peer Helpers:
A diverse group of students, pulled together in a club or an accredited, elective class to be trained in communication, problem solving, coping, conflict resolution, and referral skills. These students are led by two coordinators, usually teachers or counselors.
Peer Helpers use their training to offer their fellow students support and assistance to handle the emotional, societal, behavioral, and educational challenges they face in day-to-day life.
Their skills also help them to identify the warning signs of at-risk students, and to recognize when a classmate needs help and connect with them. Addressing these risk factors is a key component in reducing youth violence and suicide.
Peer Helpers can serve the school in a customized plan. However, roles typically include attendance support, mentoring, tutoring, and life event support.
Why is Peer Support important?
The concept of Peer Helping is based on the fact that when a young person is seeking help, validation or guidance, they turn to a peer first, and reach out to their parents much later, if at all. Therefore, we will continue to empower our youth to support one another, because they make the greatest positive impact.
Peer Helpers are an efficient and effective way to address youth mental health in our schools today.
Start Your Own Program
The Peer Helpers Program can be implemented as an extra-curricular club or an elective course. Instituting this program not only helps schools meet state mandates, but does so in an effective and efficient manner that truly touches the lives of our youth.
Select an item from the list below to learn more about our implementation standards. Follow the link to learn more about bringing our Peer Helpers program into your own school system.Learn more
The District Planning Meeting is designed for instrumental district level staff to gather and explore the 3 components of the Peer Helpers Program, understand the program alignments with requirements, and develop a customized district plan. This district plan will guide the School Leadership Teams when establishing focused goals, selecting Program Coordinators, and laying out the program delivery methods. Peer Helpers is a multi-tiered prevention and support program for K-12 that we look forward to introducing to your district.
Recommended attendees: any key district level staff in areas of prevention, intervention, counseling, mental health, support services
This is a half-day training
Maximum of 4 seats per LEA
Bring computer to meeting
The School Leadership Workshop is designed to share the district planning meeting large goals and develop tailored plans for each school. Attendees will establish focused goals, select Program Coordinators, and lay out program delivery methods for their schools. Peer Helpers is truly a program which can enhance school climate and culture while meeting many requirements and support the needs of individual students.
Recommended attendees: Principal/ Assistant Principal, Lead Counselor, Intervention Specialist, Classroom Educator(s).
This is a half-day training
Maximum of 4 seats per school
Bring computer to meeting
Minimum of three coordinators per school must attend all 3 parts of the Coordinator Training (2 Peer Helpers support coordinators and 1 P.A.T.H. coordinator). Attendees must complete all 3 parts to receive completion certificate as a Certified Peer Helpers Coordinator.
Part 1: Coordinators Webinar “Introducing the Program” This 1-hour self-paced webinar provides general understanding of the program components with clear explanation of a P.A.T.H. Coordinator & Peer Helpers Coordinators role. Questions are integrated in the webinar to ensure participants comprehend the program’s purpose and methodology.
Part 2: Coordinators In-Person “Launching the Program”
This day of training explores the relationship of the P.A.T.H. implementation and student Peer Helpers support roles. This training dives deep in P.A.T.H. planning as well as the Peer Helper selection process and the core skills training. Lastly, Coordinators will be granted Portal access to obtain the P.A.T.H. curriculum and the Peer Helpers implementation and training materials. This is a full day training in which attendees must bring a computer. There is a maximum of 4 seats per school.
Part 3: Coordinators In-Person “Working the Program”
Attendees will discover the various roles of student Peer Helpers and specific ways to utilize Peer Helpers to support students. Peer Helper led school-wide campaigns to boost the P.A.T.H. curricula will be explored. Portal training lessons and logging activities with scenarios will also be covered. Each school will customize their program plan to meet the desired goals of their District Planning Team as well as the focused goals of the School Leadership. This is a full day training in which attendees must bring a computer. There is a maximum of 4 seats per school.
The Peer Helpers program subscription includes:
Peer Helpers Portal access for district, school, coordinator, and Peer Helper level users, with no limit to the number of users per school
P.A.T.H. prevention curriculum, for school grade levels of the school
The multipart Peer Helpers student support materials at the appropriate level of Primary or Secondary, including:
Core Skill Training Curriculum (Secondary Level also receives Course Curriculum)
Role Development Training and Tools
Activity log tracking capabilities
Data reporting on all users, activities, assessments, and surveys
Unlimited support from a designated Program Coach
Annual Peer Helpers Portal refresh with new curriculum uploaded
Peer Helpers Portal
The Peer Helpers Portal is our secure, cloud-based support tool that houses the program Curriculum, Resources and Activity Logs. The Portal is FERPA and COPPA compliant.
Coordinators and Peer Helpers use the Portal to log their support activities, and generate valuable reports to assess the impact of the program, and the mental health needs of the students on each campus.
Click the image to view/download the full example of the Peer Helpers Portal dashboard and data collection available for Program Coordinators and School Administrators.
THE 12TH ANNUAL
National Peer Program Conference
The ThriveWay team is excited to be co-hosting the conference with JCMF on March 6th-10th, 2023 in Orange Beach, AL.
Check Back for More Information and Registration
The successful impact of the Peer Helpers program is backed by evidence. View our collection of case studies, articles, and references to learn more about how our program improves school climate, and the effectiveness of implementing Peer Helpers in your own school system.