The Natural Helpers Program
The Natural Helpers Program is based on a simple premise: Within every school, an informal “helping network” exists.
Students with problems naturally seek out other students—and adults—whom they trust. The Natural Helpers Program utilizes this existing network and provides training to students and adults who are already serving as informal helpers. It gives them skills to help others more effectively and provides places to turn to when they are not able to help.
Natural Helpers are identified and selected through an anonymous school-wide survey administered in October of each school year. The selection process is a serious attempt to identify those students and adults who are seen as “natural helpers.”
Students selected as Natural Helpers receive over 25 hours of training in a retreat setting where they:
- learn communication and decision-making skills,
- receive information on major problems facing students,
- become familiar with local helping resources,
- develop an awareness of their limits as helpers, and
- learn how important it is to take care of themselves.