Peer mentoring developing leadership for tomorrow at South Adams

Authored by Jim Langham on Nov 6, 2013

Over 20 young people from the South Adams’ sixth, seventh and eighth grade peer mentoring program assisted in serving lunches to the many vendors participating in last Saturday’s Christmas Bazaar at the local school.
According to Marty Goller, who heads the program, students asked each vendor if they would like lunch, exchanged money for the cost and then served the lunch to the vendors.
“They made sure that all people in the whole bazaar who were vendors had an option to have their meals served to them by students in peer mentoring,” commented Goller.
Goller said that in that one single action, students learned how to communicate with people they had never met before, correctly figure the cost, work together and learn how to serve. Goller emphasized that it is very much an opportunity for learning and building character.
“They had the opportunity to interact with people that they have never met before,” Goller said. “They saw many people they had never met before.”
The program involves students chosen by teachers in grades six to eight who are not leaders in sports or other activities.
“The purpose of this program is to try to bring the leader out in them,” Goller said. “We try to find places of leadership in the community where they can develop their roles, in community activities and in their classes. It teaches them how to develop schedules with involvement in activities that would help them to grow.”
This year, said Goller, there were five students above the quota who did not make it into this year’s involvement. She noted that there are currently eight sixth graders, six seventh graders and nine eighth graders involved in the program.
“This is a three year commitment serving their community, school, peers and younger people in leadership roles. It is all voluntary,” said Goller.
Last year’s mentoring program developed a video contest against bullying. Each year, peer mentors assist kindergartners and help them in getting on the correct buses.
“They run errands during registration, they teach classes on character building in elementary school,” continued Goller. “They help students with school work and they help them organize their lockers.”
In addition, the mentoring group combines fundraisers with the student council to purchase needed items for the school.

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