This is my fourth year teaching at Barranca. Over my years teaching here, I have had students abused, suffering from depression, stressed beyond belief, socially inept, suicidal, bullied and more. I was tired of seeing students struggle and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. They should not be fighting these battles alone.
If these kids are truly our future, we must invest heavily in them now. Students must learn not only how to support each other but to accept support from others. Bradford Parker, our school principal, brought Natural Helpers to my attention as a way to address the needs of our student population. After investigating the program, I agreed and with the support of Parker and Dr. Gene Schmidt, the superintendent, I worked to get this program in place for our school.
The Natural Helpers program is for fifth and sixth grade students at Barranca. If the beginning success is any indication, this program will continue for many years. Natural Helpers is a peer-to-peer helping program, meaning students learn how to help their friends and other students who need someone to talk to. Natural Helpers are students who are identified by their peers as someone they can trust, someone who cares, and someone who likes to help others.