Peer Counseling Club gains more opportunities as a school service


Senior Anisha Pathak talks to fellow club member junior Aditi Soin.

Elia Chen

Peer Counseling club hopes to reach more students with its new school status.
Recently, two students came into Student Advocate Richard Prinz’s office for help with their friendship problems. However, instead of handling the case alone, Prinz immediately contacted Peer Counseling Club and asked for two peer counselors to help him solve the friendship problem problem. In the end, the students with a conflict found the session with the peer counselors so helpful that they requested another session and brought in a third person who was also involved in the conflict.

Prinz was able to bring the two peer counselors to the session because, this year, Peer Counseling Club is officially a school service — which means that the administration recognizes the club’s ability to provide legitimate counseling to students. The club’s aim is to train its members to become peer counselors, so the club is excited to gain more opportunities to help students. To become peer counselors, members have to attend training sessions, including a day-long session, where they learn how to mediate conflicts, how to listen properly, and other skills necessary for helping students deal with their problems.
[quote_center] “[This approval] was a really important mark for the club to be recognized in that way as providing that service, to be recognized by the administration and the guidance counselors,” advisor Prinz said.[/quote_center]

Last year, club president senior Simone Becker asked the administration to the recognize Peer Counseling Club as a school service. Although they approved her request in March, the club is only experiencing the benefits of being a school service this year. For example, at the beginning of the year, the club found it easier to gain funding from the administration because of its new status.

“We received some funding from Principal April Scott,” vice president senior Nagesh Kambhampati said. “We asked because all clubs can, but because we were recognized, it was easier for us.”

Furthermore, the club is gaining more opportunities to help students because teachers the administration encourage teachers to recommend students to the club if they notice some students struggling in class. Most importantly, Peer Counseling Club is a new option on the counselor request form, so counselors are able to refer students to Peer Counseling Club, especially if they feel that a student will benefit from talking to peers about social or emotional problems.

“Before, it was just, if people wanted help, they could just come and talk to us, but now, it’s like [the administration] actually [supports] us,” Kambhampati said.

Although the club gained recognition last year throughout the student body for holding seminars, handing out candy during finals, and holding the “Be the Change” video campaign, this year, the club hopes to finally be able to help more people through their problems this year.

“Last year, there was a lot of building things up, setting things up and talking about ourselves,” member junior Megan Chandler said, “but this year, I feel like we’re actually going to do it.”