After a pilot year last year, just in time for Term 3, the YHS Peer Listening program is formally launching as a means of offering more resources and one-to-one peer support to students, increasing intergrade connections, building further trust within the school community, and growing socio-emotional literacy.
Since September, a group of 12 students have been going through intensive training with Senior School counsellor, Ms. Kristen Drozda, to become Peer Listeners. Highlights of the training included a workshop with the Crisis Centre of British Columbia, learning about the resources available online and in the community that are easily accessible, but not as well-known, and discussing the power of listening presently over attempting to solve problems.
“As an experienced School Counsellor, I am proud of and grateful for our Peer Listener students who are learning how to care for both themselves and others. I truly believe in the value of the Peer Listening program as my co-counsellor, Ann Downie, and I are committed to supporting students in any way possible and want to promote that emotional wellbeing is as important as physical wellbeing. As a community, we all have a part to play,” said Ms. Drozda
Peer Listeners are available to provide students with the option of one-to-one peer support. The school has trained First Responders for physical health, and now, YHS is proud to have trained Peer Listeners who can help support our students’ mental health.
While working with the school counsellors, Peer Listeners learn the importance of confidentiality, empathic listening, self-care, and balance. They recognize that it’s not always easy for students to talk to an adult and are there to listen and let students know that no concern is too small to be acknowledged.
“Peer Listening is a program I am very proud to be a part of. As a Grade 11 Yorkie, I know that Yorkies have a lot to juggle – work, studying, exercise, family and friends, and everything important to us. It can be stressful to balance our full plates, all while taking care of ourselves. Peer Listening provides a safe place where students can talk anything that’s on their mind. By increasing the resources available in our community, I think we can create an even more interconnected environment for students to be heard,” shared Peer Listener, Isabel M (Gr 11).
This week, YHS Peer Listening will launch their website which will be available to all Senior School students. Students can contact Peer Listeners directly through email or in person during their shifts.
Want to get a sense of what Peer Listening is about? Watch this video!
To learn more about supporting yourself and others, watch this Ted Talk!