Oakland, CA, Nov. 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National nonprofit Peer Health Exchange (PHE) is expanding an incentivized peer-to-peer education program in high schools. College-aged Peer Mentors, who formerly taught PHE health curriculum in the classroom, train high schoolers to teach their peers. High School Peer Facilitators undergo comprehensive training that covers the curriculum, professional development, public speaking skills, as well as knowledge of general public health and local health resources. The curriculum consists of topics of mental health, and/or sexual health, and/or substance use.
The Peer-to-Peer model capitalizes on developmental changes in the brain, as people in their teens are more vulnerable to the persuasion of their peers, influencing their health attitudes, habits, and behaviors. In a survey, ninth grade students reported learning from their peers as “less awkward.” This approach is also empowering for the Peer Facilitators. Ja’Niyah Flakes, a Peer Facilitator in 12th grade said, “The experience of teaching my peers was amazing. It not only influenced my goals and aspirations but also allowed me to build a strong community within the school and step out of my shell.” 11th grader Darrialmond Sankey, a Peer Facilitator in Chicago, said the program “helped me get one step closer to my educator goals.”
“The most important thing I learned was the practice of empathy. Talking to peers about sensitive topics was intense. We’ve all been through different things but feel the same way, little did we know.” said London Strong, a 12th grade Peer Facilitator.
Participants regularly meet with their Peer Mentors and are compensated in the form of a monthly stipend or course credit towards high school graduation. “This experience also helped me with time management. If I said I’d have the worksheet ready by next session, I had to prioritize my after-school schedule and really use my time wisely,” added Strong.
“For years, students have expressed their readiness to teach PHE curricula, and we have listened to them,” said Dr. Angela Glymph, CEO of Peer Health Exchange. “Our peer-to-peer program empowers students to make a positive impact on their peers’ lives by sharing valuable health knowledge and fostering a sense of community.”
If you are interested in piloting the Peer-to-Peer program or would like more information, please contact Miriam Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about PHE and its youth engagement work, visit www.peerhealthexchange.org.
About Peer Health Exchange:
Peer Health Exchange’s (PHE) mission is to build healthier communities with young people. Together, we create education opportunities for peers to share the tools and resources young people need to make healthy decisions. With our partners, we advance health equity and improve health outcomes for young people in under-resourced communities.