“It really was exciting that I got to meet students from other grade schools, who will also be Peer Helpers,
and we could end up going to the same high school!”
On Thursday, October 18, 2018, CORA hosted its annual Peer Helper Conference titled, “Be an Upstander: Peer Helpers Lead the Way”, which took place during Bullying Prevention Month. Christa Tinari, MA, a passionate and inspiring professional speaker, educator and trainer, brought her expertise in Bullying Prevention and Social-Emotional Learning to train our students to be caring leaders. Christa taught practical skills that students can use to be upstanders among their peers at their respective schools. Many of these lessons can also be found in her recently published book, Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School: 48 Character-Building Lessons to Foster Respect and Prevent Bullying, by Christa Tinari and Naomi Drew. Watch a free webinar from Christa Tinari, here.
Gianna Galanti, a freshman at Archbishop Ryan High School and former 8th grade Peer Helper, gave a warm welcome to the students in CORA’s Conference Center. She spoke from the heart about transitioning from grade school to high school, and how the Peer Helper program positively influenced her experience by preparing her well to be a compassionate leader. Gianna won the CORA Peer Helper Award and Scholarship at her graduation from St. Anselm Elementary School in June 2018.
CORA’s School Counseling Program Coordinator, Patty Faix, enthusiastically shared her comments. “This year’s conference provided our Peer Helpers with the opportunity to learn strategies they can utilize to create communities of kindness as well as to help them build respectful and compassionate school environments. The students have begun to develop plans of action based on what they learned, and their counselors and I are excited to see their ideas unfold in the coming months!”
For more than 25 years, CORA’s school counselors have run Peer Helper Programs. Currently, there are six local elementary schools participating – St. Anselm, Blessed Trinity, Holy Innocents, St. Martha, St. Matthew and St. Christopher. The counselors train selected 8th graders in leadership and emphasize the importance of making a difference by giving back in their schools through mentoring and tutoring younger students. CORA’s school counselors provide anti-bullying programs in more than 50 non-public schools in Philadelphia each year.