Submitted by San Juan Island Prevention Coalition
We have some good news to share from the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition. In these times of being “Zoomed Out” and still physically distancing, we have some local teens staying engaged in helping promote a healthier community. We thought we’d share a little backstory on our Peer 2 Peer progress.
Our San Juan Island Prevention Coalition’s youth team, Rock Solid, has been invited to help teach some of the wellness workshop material for this year’s Peer 2 Peer training! Feb. 26, was the pilot for the Peer 2 Peer program, a regional youth leadership training created by Danika Troupe and Hailey Wright in Sedro-Woolley with United General. The state provided grants to cover the program. Rock Solid went last February for an all-day in-person training on the mainland; this was just before the fallout of COVID-19 hitting our communities hard. Our team included Luke Fincher, Ramona Flierl, and Clarence Harold. They were able to pivot and provide an interactive and engaging series of wellness workshops via Zoom for our 7th and eighth-grade health and career classes last April and May. These critical topics, Media Literacy, Social Norms, Coping Skills, and the science of marijuana and the developing brain, carry more weight when delivered by their peers.
Luke Fincher decided to make his “Community Project Class” project out of this model this school year, as he’s a junior. Luke continued to mentor two 8th grade students involved in the H.O.T.S. Jr. (Helping Out Teens Society) prevention club. Interestingly, years ago, the HOTS Jr. club was created by a Community Project’s Class member with a mentor, our Executive Coordinator, Cynthia Stark-Wickman. Luke completed his Community Project Class at the end of October, and it went well. Cynthia was Luke’s mentor, too. Luke is hoping to build sustainability by teaching the next generation this Peer 2 Peer material. In prevention, building sustainability is always a goal.
Luke, Madison, and Shelby taught two different workshops to the seveth-grade health class this school year. As the new Peer 2 Peer training was approaching this February, with Luke being the only returning Rock Solid leader from last year’s Peer 2 Peer training, Luke was recruited by Danika and Hailey to help teach some of this year’s P2P content. Luke was able to pull Madison in quickly, as she was one of his mentee’s and he reached out to other students, too. Ultimately, we could get four more students willing to commit to the six-week long training and the additional time necessary to learn the material to present to the P2P group and the sixth-grade health class this March! We recognize it’s a big time commitment for these students to give, especially when doing this all virtually still. We applaud them!
We are excited to see this Peer 2 Peer model continue as we know Youth Empowerment effectively builds young people’s skills and helps youth be the change they want to see. The S.J.I.P.C. has invested in youth empowerment training opportunities over the years and asks the teens to give back to their community by doing a project like this one! It’s always exciting to see our young leaders’ growth and how they want to help promote a healthier community, too! Thanks for sharing our happy news; we are Rock Solid!