Trinity’s Peer to Peer program addresses the challenges faced by a younger student transitioning into high school, strengthening their learning capacity, and ability to balance academic and social/emotional demands.
A team of senior student Peer Leaders is trained to mentor younger students throughout their crucial first year high school. The Peer Leaders adopt a classroom and carry out a series of monthly prevention interventions, using a variety of art and drama-based activities and talking circles to address a variety of school issues like bullying, substance abuse, gender violence, equity, racism, stress and mental health. Peer to Peer workshops provide Peer Leaders with the opportunity to check in with the younger students’ day-by-day experience in high school and develop a mentoring relationship, share opinions, anecdotes, stories of life experiences. The Peer Leaders acquire leadership, facilitation and mentoring skills while contributing directly to the development of social emotional competency and resiliency in the younger students transitioning into high school.
In these exchanges, all participants feel they have been positively valued by another person. Nurturing innate resilience makes both Peer Leaders and the younger students feel enabled to handle both personal and academic challenges.
Become a Coach/Mentor
Trinity has developed a certification course for seniors interested to becoming an intergenerational coach and mentor, training Peer Leaders to deliver the Peer to Peer program. Handling life transitions is as real a process for older adults as it is for emerging adults navigating the education system. Becoming a coach/mentor gives retired educators and others interested in continuing their vocation an opportunity to use their skills in new ways.
The primary task is to first, act as an intergenerational mentor to the senior Peer Leaders on the topics of the workshops, preparing them to deliver the talking circles on these topics with the younger students: and second, to coach the leaders to feel competent in their facilitation of the exercises in each workshop that provide a base for the talking circles. In the act of talking from their own insight and wisdom, the older adults model the mentoring behaviour the Peer Leaders will attempt with the younger students.
Providing access to older persons with extensive education and life experiences increases students’ resiliency, self-esteem and appreciation of the aging process. Older adults enjoy better health, satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment from feeling connected and productive.
“I have known and respected this organization for more than 16 years and can readily attest to their professionalism, commitment to youth and incredible ability to work with our very diverse student population. Suspension rates have fallen, fewer students have been expelled, and Trinity has helped to create a positive and caring school climate in many of our schools.”
– Bill Byrd, Safe and Caring Schools Administrator, TDSB
“I wish I’d had someone to talk to when I was that age. I’m glad the group of students we mentored had us to talk to.”
– K. Kennedy, Peer Leader, Hillcrest High School
“The Trinity students trained last year continue to positively influence their peers as peer mentors, as members of the student council and as members of other leadership groups within the school. Student competency and confidence has increased and student achievement has improved.”
– Cindy Zwicker Reston, Principal, Vaughan Road Academy
“I love what the program offers and the way it engages kids. I love the strength that I see emanate from them as the year goes along. I love how the program pushes the creative edges to ensure that it is both fresh and stable. But, above all, I love how much Trinity cares about each school and each student.”
– Roberta Belfry, Dramatic Arts, George S. Henry Academy