Audrey Park, staff writer
Peer counseling is currently in the process of training first year counselors how to effectively handle and give advice to other students who are in need of aid.
“First year counselors are trained by two certified Maple Center counselors throughout the year,” peer counselor Daphne Levy said. “The peer counselors are trained to act neutrally. They do not judge and they are there for students who need a different perspective, or simply if they need an insightful person who can listen to them.”
During training, first year counselors learn techniques and methods to use when counseling students.
“The peer counselors learn numerous effective communication skills and the importance of confidentiality,” Levy said. “First year counselors are able to counsel others at the beginning of second semester.”
In addition to learning communication skills, first year counselors are required to participate in role play activities to provide them with the experience of being a counselor.
“The first year peer counselors eat lunch with the Life Skills students once a week” Levy said. “During lunch, the counselors interact with the students by playing games and enjoying each other’s company.”
NormanAid center seeks to advertise its services
Once the training is complete, all the first year counselors visit all the Beverly Hills Unified middle schools in order to inform the eighth graders about the NormanAid Center. The counselors describe all the services that NormanAid Center offers, such as peer counseling, Normanonymous and the NormanAid student support blog.
The NormanAid Center hopes to reach as many students as it can. In addition to advertising at the middle schools, the center is also seeking new ways to inform the students at Beverly of its services.
“We’re wanting to do a lot of advertisement because we realized that although we have a lot of services on campus, students are not utilizing it,” intervention counselor Allison NormanFranks said. “There are a lot of students that are not aware of the services weoffer so we’re focusing on the advertising piece.”
Students who are interested in becoming a peer counselor can apply by filling out an application and going through an interview at the NormanAid Center.