Teenage Peer Pressures
The program is called PALS. PALS stands for Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support.
This program was started 6 years ago by a 15 year old from Buchholz High School... Jessica Marrero. Peer counselor Victoriya Caneva explains what motivated her to begin this project.
"The Columbine shooting...she was like you know...what is going on with teenagers, how can we prevent this...what can we do."
So Marrero... received a one-hundred thousand dollars grant to start the program... Shands provided the professional and theraputic support... they trained students to be peer mentors on issues that affected teens the most.
According to online's teen help adolescent resources...in the US.. within the next 24 hours...
more than 14- hundred teens will attempt suicide, 28- hundred teenage girls will become pregnant,
15-thousand teens will use drugs for the first time, and 35- hundred teens will run away.
The PAL program was eventually picked up by 5 area schools and was used as a counseling tool.
Caneva also believes no teenager is exempt from feeling the growing pains of going through adolescence... not even her.
"There's a lot of stress and pressure...i can definitely say that in my younger years there have been times that i was like..that's it...i can't do it anymore."
She does feel that teens relate better to teens...and Marrero's model works because teenagers open up to people their ages.
"Some are like...you're my age and I can trust you because you're kind of gone through the same thing."
PALS coordinator Susan Garcia has given birth to another mentoring group. "Girl Power", it's purpose is to prevent teen pregnancies and to help already pregnant teens cope.
"Teenage moms are up against so much...they're still children themselves..they really don't understand what they've gotten themselves into."
"All schools that have used the pals program have seen a 33 percent drop in behavior infractions... and a 31 percent drop in fighting and drug infractions.
Shani Muhammad WCJB...TV 20 NEWS
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