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Kids & Teens

This new program is for students to empower other students with crucial stress management skills.  It is a peer to peer program for your school where Peer Mentors are selected to learn about our Stress Lessons program and to then teach this program to your fellow students.  If you or your school is interested in this program, please contact Lanaya.LaRose@strongmindsstrongkids.org

“We believe in the power of community and will engage in strategic partnerships to ensure that as many young people as possible can benefit from our Stress Lesson Peer Mentor program.” -Lanaya LaRose, RBC Stress Lessons Ambassador.

We asked Lanaya, our Stress Lessons Youth Ambassador and developer of our peer to peer resources some questions about the Stress Lessons Peer Mentor program:

How did you adapt our Stress Lessons Grades 9-12: Tools for Resiliency program content into a resource high school students can use to become Peer Mentors?

 “When approaching the content adaptation for the peer-to-peer resources, the primary aim was to maintain the integrity and depth of the original Stress Lessons Grades 9-12 Tools for Resiliency guide while making it more approachable for today’s youth. Instead of revamping the entire guide, I decided to develop supplementary materials that work in tandem with the original content, ensuring a thorough understanding. I designed the Peer Mentor Tip Booklet to offer peer mentors a youth-friendly handbook that would equip them with practical advice and strategies to create an empathetic and supportive environment. It bridges the gap between the more academic content of the Stress Lessons guide and the day-to-day experiences of teens—ensuring that the material remains both engaging and relatable. In addition to the booklet, two infographics were designed to distill essential insights from the booklet into a more concise format. These visual aids are particularly beneficial for those moments when peer mentors need quick references and do not have the time to sift through the entire booklet. This adaptation was about preserving the original guide’s value while ensuring it spoke the language of its intended youthful audience.”

Can you describe the development of the peer-to-peer training for the upcoming pilot at Gravenhurst High School?

“When developing the peer-to-peer training for Gravenhurst High School, we centred our approach around the unique dynamics of teenage interactions. The six comprehensive stress lessons are central to the training, designed to equip peer mentors with knowledge and techniques to recognize, manage, and communicate about stress. The decision to co-develop and lead the training with Bre, one of the experienced Stress Lesson trainers, was influenced by their profound grasp of the content and material. This partnership ensured that we maintained the essence of the lessons while fine-tuning them for youth engagement. We condensed the training duration and included more interactive activities to cater to the younger audience’s attention span and engagement levels. Furthermore, we enriched the content with relatable examples that resonate with the everyday experiences of youth. This approach was chosen because we believe that for information to be effective, especially for teenagers, it must be concise, engaging, and reflective of their daily lives. Through this method, we aimed to foster genuine understanding and enthusiasm among peer mentors, empowering them to support their peers meaningfully.”

What skills and knowledge can Peer Mentors expect to learn when they take this training?

“Peer Mentors in grades 9-12, can anticipate a comprehensive understanding of stress and its manifestations in daily life through the Stress Lessons peer-to-peer training. They’ll be equipped with the skills to recognize stressors in themselves and others and apply effective coping strategies. Additionally, they will gain invaluable facilitation skills, empowering them to lead and guide their peers in meaningful discussions about managing stress. The training also emphasizes the importance of empathy and support—helping Peer Mentors become guides and trustworthy allies in their peers’ stress management journeys.”

After the pilot with Gravenhurst is done in the Fall, and we get feedback, what are you hoping to see moving forward, and how are you planning to help expand the peer-to-peer model to other schools and organizations in 2024?

“After our pilot with Gravenhurst concludes in the Fall, we are eager to gather feedback and insights to refine and enhance the training. Moving forward, our vision is to see widespread adoption of this peer-to-peer model, extending its reach to various schools and organizations in 2024. Additionally, we believe in the power of community and will engage in strategic partnerships to ensure that as many young people as possible can benefit from this initiative.”

If you could say something encouraging to teens about coping with their stressors, what might that be?

“Every teen should remember that it is completely natural to feel overwhelmed by stressors at times. However, it is crucial to understand that stress does not reflect your capability or worth. Embracing the journey of understanding and managing stress can lead to immense personal growth. Always remember that challenges and stressors are temporary, but the skills and resilience you build will last a lifetime. You are not alone in this journey, and with the right tools and support, you can confidently navigate life’s challenges.”

For more details about Stress Lessons and results from our pilot training, please download the following PDFs: