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Community Engagement Programs

Program Coordinator

Peer Solutions

Mission

KIDS TEACHING KIDS TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. Vision:a world where everyone is Safe, and treated Equitably with Respect (SER). This is a world free from harm to self, others, animals, and the more

Website

http://PeerSolutions.orgContact(s):

About the Internship

Duties:

Participate in a wide variety of activities with youth, one of them being to support a Trauma Informed Primary Prevention program in elementary, middle, and high schools and community centers in Guadalupe, Phoenix, and Tempe.

Activites are year-round, youth led and developed, intergenerational, open to all identities and abiliites, and use evidence based strategies across the social ecology. Young people with families and community partners cultivate safety, equity, and respect as norms to prevent harm to self and others before they begin with empathy and compassion. The individual will work with primary through secondary level students and will require finger print clearance. This individual may support our monthly Community Coalition where members come together to discuss and implement their vision of safe, healthy and respectful communities.  In addition, this intern will assist with the implementation, scoring, and review of evaluation tools designed to capture the effectiveness of said activities. 

Activities you may support include:

  1. Weekly after school peer education projects at Machan K-8 in Central Phoenix;
  2. Pan American Charter School: Weekly lunch meetings for High School and Middle School students in West Phoenix;
  3. Weekly lunch meetings at North, Camelback, and South Mountain High Schools in Central and South Phoenix;
  4. Weekly lunch meetings at Tempe and Marcos de Niza High Schools;
  5. Tempe Elementary School District: Weekly after school peer education projects for all Tempe middle school students weekly at Westside Community Center;
  6. East Valley Boys & Girls Club – Guadalupe and Ladmo Branch: Hosts weekly afterschool and summer projects two days per week
  7. Phoenix Public Library and Music Union: hosts coalition meetings, summer programming, and special projects
Population Served:

Elementary through post secondary students, as well as family, school, and community members in Guadalupe, Phoenix, and Tempe. 77% of the youth we serve qualify for free and reduced lunch. Poverty is a root cause of child abuse.

  1. Camelback: 2,207
  2. Fees: 851
  3. Gililland: 855
  4. Guadalupe B&G Club: 385
  5. Ladmo Branch B&G Club: 302
  6. Machan: 463
  7. Marcos de Niza: 1,480
  8. North: 2,805
  9. Pan American: 635 
  10. South Mountain: 1,918
  11. Tempe: 1,664

Ethnic breakdown: African American 11%, Asian/Pacific Islander 2%, Anglo/White 14%, Hispanic 68%, Native American 4%, Unknown 1%.

Community Need:

Arizona ranks last, 50/50 states, for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) with 44% of Az youth experiencing two or more ACEs as compared to 31% nationally. Sadly, 100% of the youth Peer Solutions serve have experienced two or more ACEs.

Experiencing harms in childhood impacts a student's ability to learn, relate to others, and manage emotions. This may lead to bullying, substance abuse, violence, and early death. In 2015, 17% of Arizona high school students planned their own suicides. We know 80% of suicide attempts by youth can be attributed to ACEs. 

Peer Solutions promotes safety, equity, and respect (SER) while preventing harm to others and/or self before it occurs by cultivating school, family, and community ownership of solutions. Effective social change occurs by working on an individual, relationship, community, and societal level. By utilizing this ecological model, we prevent sexual, dating, family, gang, gun, and school violence, harassment, bullying, self-injury, suicide, depression, oppression, substance abuse, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, poor school performance, child abuse, homelessness, criminality, early death, disease, and more. To prevent one is to prevent them all, as the underlying conditions that lead to their existance are similar, if not the same.   They are Oppression, Silence/Denial and Normalized Harm (OSN), the oppositite of (SER).          

Peer Solutions surveyed their youth in April of 2018 to compare their ACEs Scores to the state and nation.  The results prove you will be supporting youth facing the greatest need. 

For example, 12.5% of youth nationally have experienced 4 or more ACEs and 67% OF PEER SOLUTIONS YOUTH HAVE EXPERIENCED 4 OR MORE. Our youth ranked dramatically higher on each of the 10 questions. Two questions of concern, in addition to 46% of our youth being sexually abused:

Was or is a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member ever attempt suicide? Answer: The national average is 8%, the Arizona average is 10%, and PEER SOLUTIONS AVERAGE IS 87%.

Did or do you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs? Answer: The national average is 6%, the Arizona average is 16%, and PEER SOLUTIONS AVERAGE IS 67%.

Community Impact:

“Safety and security don’t just happen; they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”   Nelson Mandela

Research confirms in order to maximize impact and ensure relevance, it is best if the community is involved in the development, implementation, evaluation, and growth of activities. 

In 2015, 30 youth that participated in programming over a 20 year span were interviewed with tools through the Internal Review Board process. The following themes emerged.

Peer Solutions:

  • Creates safe places,
  • Cultivates volunteerism,
  • Provides leadership opportunities,
  • Helps youth navigate tough times,
  • Builds empathy and healthy relationships, and
  • Improves self-esteem and school performance.
  • (Voices of Youth: A Qualitative Report April 28, 2015 University of New Hampshire.)
  • Current evaluation:
  • 100% of Peer Solutions’ seniors graduate high school
  • 92% of participants report demonstrating safety, equity, and respect as norms every day
  • 96% of participants report improvement in grades since joining
  • 91% of participants report speaking up more for themselves and others since joining
  • 100% of family agreed their student believed they could make the world a better place as compared to 62% before joining

“We (Tempe High) love all the wonderful things that Peer Solutions does for our school, community and our students. So many of our students have become leaders and courageous advocates thanks to this amazing program.” Dr. Stacia Wilson, Principal Tempe High School 2-9-2018

“I’ve watched youth coming through the Peer Solutions program grow into articulate, confident and passionate young adults. This organization is at the forefront of ensuring that young people feel safe, secure and brave enough to set their own boundaries and respect others. It is with great enthusiasm that I recommend awarding this superb organization.” Athena Salman, State Representative, Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community 1-2018