Almost 100 students from Shelby County High School, Vincent High School, Calera High School, Helena High School, Montevallo High School, and Chelsea High School attended the first district-wide IMPACT Day – Peer Helpers Summit. Chelsea High School Peer Helpers led large and small group sessions aimed at creating awareness of student diversity, encouraging empathy, preventing bullying, and responding to various situations with their peers.
The small groups were comprised of students from each high school. CHHS Peer Helpers also led the advisers through the activities and helped facilitate discussions about the possibility of bringing an anti-bullying and drug prevention speaker to middle and high schools across the district.
Each school’s Peer Helper group will now take the IMPACT Day program back to their own schools and lead it with their student body.
“Chelsea has been conducting the program for many years, and because we have seen such a positive impact on students and school culture, we wanted to take it to the other high schools in the district,” said Peer Help advisor Jennifer Bailey.
Bailey said the students responded very positively to their experiences at IMPACT Day. Many of the students indicated on their evaluations they will be able to take the program to their home school and use it to prevent judgment and conflict among peer relationships. They also learned to be more accepting of others and to seek to understand them before making judgments.
“Everyone in our group seemed so different, but we really had a lot in common. I made great friends,” one student wrote.
“The judgments we make about people have more to do with us than the other person,” wrote another student.
Bailey said she is planning another district-wide training event—and possibly a service project—for the spring to further develop the leadership of these students and equip them to share what they have learned in their schools.