Our Peer Group Connection kicked off the year October 18 with an activity day at Allen Pond Park in which 13 Peer Leaders--all IDEA seniors who have been training for this role for months--began getting to know IDEA’s 9th graders who they will be mentoring throughout the school year.
“I loved watching them lead,” said IDEA Director Student Support Services Melody Washington, one of the faculty sponsors for Peer Group Connection. “The peer leaders took on the challenge of working with a large group of energetic freshmen and they did an impressive job.”
Peer Leader Ceon Dubose Powell explained that her ninth-grade year would’ve gone better if the program had existed at IDEA then and she had worked with a peer mentor. “I think it will help the ninth graders to know they have someone around their age who they can talk to and who can guide them. A peer leader is on top of them, but not too strict like a teacher.” Ceon advised the freshmen in her group to pay attention to the schoolwork from the beginning of high school. “I let them know that you have to try hard all four years,” she said, because she didn’t really understand that herself until later in high school. “My experience can help someone else.”
“I was once in their shoes, and I didn’t have anybody supporting me,” explained Renikka Robinson, also a Peer Leader. “I was struggling in ninth grade and I had to teach myself. I couldn't go to my family because they didn’t have the experience and education to help me. I can help the ninth-graders through the same problems I struggled through myself.”
Serving as a peer leader has also been beneficial to Renikka. “PGC is boosting my confidence,” she said. “People are reminding me that I’m intelligent and a leader.”