Students Learn to be Natural Helpers


A group of more than 50 Elwood-John H. Glenn High School students and teachers recently attended a weekend retreat to learn and develop the skills needed to be a “natural” helper as part of the Natural Helpers Program.

Natural Helpers is a peer-helping program, used nationwide, that serves middle and high school students who want to strengthen their communication and helping skills to better support others and provide service to their schools and communities. The program is aimed towards students and adults who are already perceived as “natural” helpers and gives them the skills they need to provide help more effectively to the young people who seek them out.

For the retreat, students, under the advisement of school psychologist Kristen Karch and social worker Joanna Sepp, traveled to Camp Alvernia in Centerport. During the weekend, students were trained on ways to detect when a peer may be in trouble and how to respond in a variety of situations including, what professional resource to contact in their school and community when problems exceed their capacity of helping.

Through a variety of trust building exercises, students were challenged to break down any existing barriers, such as stereotypes, and work together to complete various tasks and obstacles.