In 2020 the Safe Community Coalition sponsored a summer pilot of a program designed by and for students: WeCoach:Student2Student (S2S). The vision for WeCoach:S2S was to create opportunities for young adults to connect, build relationships, develop leadership skills, and both give and receive support from other young adults during COVID-19. WeCoach used a peer circle coaching model to address and mitigate teens’ every day problems. Several participating students surveyed at the end of the pilot reported feeling less isolated and anxious:
“I felt like I was the only person who wasn’t motivated to do something besides being on my phone, but after the peer circles and knowing that others were going through the same problem, it made me feel so much better.”
“My participation had a positive impact on my feeling.s”
“I felt less alone and opening up to complete strangers was more comforting than I thought.”
“Participating in the Peer Circle heightened my productivity and motivation.”
WeCoach:Student2Student (S2S), which successfully piloted from July-August 2020, demonstrated that students, when given the opportunity and support from experienced adult coaches, can truly help turn the tide on some of the anxiety, isolation, and stress that results from uncertainty and lack of community.
With the ongoing support of the SCC, the organizers have convened youth and adult WeCoach community members to explore how they might evolve the program. Options include expanding WeCoach to support a greater number of youths in the community, and spreading the WeCoach model to other youth development organizations, schools, and communities, keeping with the peers-helping-peers model. They have some leads but are always seeking more!
For more information, contact Betsy Quint-Moran, Camillo Moran at 703-401-8471, or Adriano Moran at 703-477-4254.
Note: This is not therapy, so clinical issues like severe anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, or OCD were beyond the scope of this program. That said, peer circle leaders and their adult mentors were trained to spot these issues and connect peers with other great counseling and mentoring resources like the ones available here
. WeCoach is solely students helping students using a structured problem-solving, peer coaching approach.