Student leaders will hit the ground running this fall as 8 middle schools have signed on to participate in the District Attorney’s Office’s newly expanded Peer Mentor Leadership Program.

The 8-hour training which fosters leadership in young people through education and service to others applies best practices in peer mentoring fundamentals from Partners Against Hate, a collaborative of the Anti-Defamation League, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence.  The training program strives not only to build leadership skills for students as individuals and as a group, but also to reduce risky behaviors and improve the overall school climate.  

The program, launched in 2009, raises students’ awareness of attitudes and behaviors that impact schools and communities.  Student leaders chosen to participate will be given the knowledge, skills and confidence to make smart personal choices and to positively influence their peers.  The training, facilitated by District Attorney’s staff certified in peer mentoring, includes interactive discussion, media, activities and exercises on topics such as leadership, communication, peer pressure, labels/stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, bullying and cyberbullying and healthy relationships.  

The program gets underway the week of September 13 in the following schools:  BART, Herberg Middle School, Hoosac Valley Middle School, Lee Middle & High School, Lenox Memorial Middle & High School, Monument Valley Middle School, Mt. Everett, and Nessacus Middle School.  The expansion of the program was made possible by a grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety & Security.