Peer Mentor

Peer leadership program brings hope to area schools

Wednesday, November 30 four South Dakota school districts (Standing Rock, Lower Brule, Kimball, and Tripp-Delmont, SD) came together in Kimball, SD, to learn activities to help transform their student bodies!

KIMBALL, SOUTH DAKOTA, November 30, 2022 – Peer leadership is transforming the culture of area schools. Peer advisors and 60 high school peer advisors continue to strengthen the support in their schools by learning activities that encourage students to have fun, learn more about their peers, and gain new understanding about the caring people who surround them.

The student gathering marked an opportunity to learn new activities, see the ripple effect of the work they are doing that is beyond their own schools, and to have connections to students they may have the chance to interact with in the future.

Standing Rock has been implementing the peer leadership model for six years now. Their peer leaders led the group in their first activities as they got to know one another. Students from each school district shared activities they have implemented in their own schools and shared it with the group.

Tim McGowan with Networks of Support has been sharing his peer leadership approach with schools across the country for over 10 years now. The offering is based upon four core protective factors: group cohesion and belonging (kinship); meaning and value in work, life and role (purpose); informal and formal support and help-seeking (guidance); and diversity of activities that give strength and perspective in times of transition and difficulty (balance).

“It has been an honor to work with area schools. The growth of the students from September is already evident! The confidence and messages they are sending give new hope and connecting points to the students in their schools. It’s hard to really understand the full impact the decision to engage in this process will have for the individual students, their schools, and communities.” Shares Megan Miller of Restoration Ranch who has collaborated with Tim to bring the program to the Kimball and Lower Brule schools.

With the impact the process is making, an angel investor has funded a documentary of the process. The peer leader group was captured by film professionals from New York and Missouri and will be featured in their finished work.