AmeriCorps Report: May
Here's what I worked on in May...
TAC AFter Prom Party 2016
The 2016 TAC After Prom Party was a blast! Students played ping-pong and glow-in-the-dark capture the flag and participated in a pancake decorating contest, photo booth, and lip sync battle to earn raffle tickets for amazing prizes like Beats headphones, a Chromebook, Bluetooth speakers, gas cards, and so much more. We had breakfast food, including pancakes, fruit, cinnamon rolls, a hot cocoa bar, and the most bacon I've seen in my entire life! The goal of the After Prom Party is to provide a positive alternative to partying, which often includes drug and alcohol use for teens. While our attendance was lower than we were hoping this year, we know that it's important to continue providing fun, positive alternatives for our teens. Two After Prom Party attendees self-reported that, had they not been with us, they would have been using alcohol and/or drugs. If we prevented even one teen from making choices that had the potential for lasting negative consequences, I believe we succeeded. Thank you to South Bend schools for their hospitality and all our volunteers for making the After Prom Party happen!
Peer Helper Surveys
Peer Helper Surveys are critical to our Peer Helper program. Each spring, we administer surveys to high school students from South Bend, Willapa Valley, and Raymond. We ask students what issues they see their peers dealing with (anything from family stress to self-harm to sexual identity, etc.) and what issues they think are most relevant for folks their age. We then ask them to identify peers that they feel they can turn to for help or support. Students who are mentioned the most are then asked to attend the Peer Helper Retreat in the fall. Here at TAC, we are very excited because we eked out some additional funding and will be able to send more students from each school to the retreat in 2016. We will now be inviting some Junior High students ("Junior Peer Helpers") to the retreat. This is in response to input from our current Peer Helpers who suggest that most issues we talk about really start in Junior High and we need to be addressing them there as well as with their High School peers. We will be holding our first planning meeting for the 2016 Peer Helper Retreat soon.
...and, apart from attending a bunch of meetings (and the week I spent back in Wisconsin visiting family), that's about it. May sure did fly by!