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The Brunswick beacon. (Shallotte, N.C.) 19??-current, December 02, 1993, Page PAGE 4-B, Image 18

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STAFF PHOTOS BY SUSAN USHEI PEER HELPERS (clockwise from left) Kimberly Bowen, IjiVar Marlon- and Summer Todd think through a question posed by adviser Sue Chapman as fellow advisor Robin Gaskins looks on. PILOT PROJECT INVOLVES GRADE 4 Peer Helpers Lending Classmates An Empathetic Ear At Union School BY SUSAN USHER Union Elementary School fourth graders have a wider choice these days of who to turn to when they need to talk through a problem ? peer helpers are on the job. Having a trained peer helper to turn to is good for students, said Shanta Vaught, "because we're chil dren and we understand how they feel." That's a big part of the job, the peer helpers explained during one of their weekly training sessions. But being a peer helper also means "being a good example, a role model" for fellow students, Krister* Ward su i d And it means caring enough to let someone solve his or her own prob lem. "If you see someone crying or who is having a problem, you go to them and offer to have a little talk," said LaVar Marlow. "Then you lis ten, but you don't say too much." It's important, she said, for peer helpers not to tell someone what to do, but to draw them out, help them come up with possible answers and look at what might happen if they make each choice. Having someone who will listen is what a student may need most. "Sometimes when you talk it out and get it out of you, then you won't be so sad," said Shanta. One really important part of their role, Kimberly Bowen said, is "to not tell secrets, to keep confi dences." When a student shares informa tion with a peer helper, it goes no farther unless it is a situation where someone might be in danger. Then the peer helper shares the informa tion only with the program's adult advisors. Guidance Counselor Sue Chapman and Chapter 1 reading teacher Robin Gaskins. Becoming one of The Caring Dol phins, as the helpers have dubbed their group, required an adult-size commitment. The process began last spring, when interested third graders ap Why peer helpers? "Because we're children and we understand how they feel. " ? Shanta Vaught plied. Each wrote a paragraph on be ing a peer helper, and secured rec ommendations from two teachers, a part/it and a guidance counselor. Tlljcy had to be willing to give up rece.%R one afternoon each school wee^t ands attend an overnight re treat Pet? helpers also had to agree l*?? ?? i r? lanutr t\f tka rtrnnrim " "" ?..w which are based on the concept that "helping is a good way to live." "These students were selected very carefully," said Chapman, who established the program. "They're not all academically gifted students. We were looking for students who were very mature, very committed and who cared about their fellow students." The Caring Dolphins will receive 30 to 40 hours of training this year in topics such as communication and conflict resolution. That schedule in cludes weekly half-hour sessions and an overnight retreat at the N.C. Baptist Assembly Dec. 10 and 11, when they will learn about peer me diation. Mediation is an alternative that allows students with differences to resolve them through compro mise, a process guided by specially trained fellow students, rather than going to the principal's office or some other measure. Every Thursday at 2 p.m., The Caring Dolphins gather in Robin Gaskins' modular classroom, filling all available chairs and spilling over onto the carpeted floor. The helpers are Shanta Vaught, Lyn Loomis and Amanda Lanier from Linda Inman's class; Chris Rabon, Alex Moore and Blaire Ansley from Susan Brown's class; LaVar Marlow, Summer Todd and Kimberly Bo wen from Deborah Thorsen's class; Bradley Smith, Kristen Ward and Jessica Schwab from Selena Gore's class; and Fallon Hewett, Christina Florentino and Robert Morgan from Daphne Suggs' class. During their first meetings, some of the students were very shy, hesi tant to express their feelings or opin ions aloud in front of the group, Chapman recalls. Five weeks into their training, however, The Caring Dolphins are beginning to speak up, share ideas, and listen to one another with re spect. They seem confident that what they are doing is worthwhile, benefitting fellow students and the school at large. "Without peer helpers, we would have a little too much problems," said LaVar. Added Kristen, "Mrs. Chapman, Mrs. Gaskins, Mrs. (Zelphia ) Gris sett (the principal) and Mr. (Steve) Martin (the assistant principal) can't answer everybody's problems." During this particular session Union's peer helpers are learning how to read and interpret facial ex pressions so they can become better listeners. "If I told you that I was having a really great day, but 1 was sitting here with a frown on my face, would you believe me?" asks Chap man, who is leading the training. "No," the students agree. As training progresses, The Car ing Dolphins will begin keeping per sonal journals, in which they log the types of problems students share with them and their feelings about what they are doing. "We're excited about this pro gram," said Chapman. She and Gas kins obtained support from a mini grant from Brunswick Electric Membership Corp. for materials and a one-year, renewable $8,000 drug/ alcohol abuse prevention grant from the state. "We were going to do it whether we got the $8,000 or not," said Chapman. "We were just going to take our materials and go with it." The state money will provide ex tras, such as the retreat and media tion training, journals, The Caring Dolphins T-shirts, additional re sources and an end-of-the-year ap preciation dinner for peer helpers and their parents. Union Elementary is the first Brunswick County school to Chap man's knowledge to apply the peer helper concept, though all three county high schools have trained peer helpers or peer counselors. The concept works the same at any grade level, she said. Their goal in creating the program is to help reduce classroom disrup tions. "We're at a tii:sc in education where we have to have students take more responsibility for themselves," said Gaskins. "Teaching time is so limited." Added Chapman, "We don't have very many discipline problems here but we do have some, and anything that can help the classroom teachers focus on teaching we need. This pro gram is already making a difference." "My dream is to get this into all fourth grades in the county next year. I don't know if we could rewrite the grant and get enough money to do that or not, but that is my dream." BOATS for a dry ride 1-800-545-2293 910-457-9080 $SAVE$ IN THE "NICK" iF TIME M Choicenter today & save on a spacious new home just in time for Christmas! Pacia RESTAURANT Little River Village Shopping Center Hwy. 1.7 next to Food Lion Little River, SC (803)249-8526 NOW OPEN FOR LUNCH ? ? ? ITALIAN-CONTINENTAL CUISINE -New Exciting Dinner Menu DAILY SPECIALS And of course... ? ? ? The Best Pizza on the Grand Strand Your Hosts: JW Raulerson and Walter Herrmann CLOSED SUNDAY _?j?3iTHfjbiRUNSWC?B^CON. ATLANTA BRAVES fans Robert Morgan and Chris Rabon check out a facial expression exercise as Bradley Smith works in the *|| background. Children Can Make Plans For Breakfast With Santa It's the kind of treat youngsters fantasize about ? chatting with Santa Claus over the breakfast table. It can be theirs Saturday, Dec. 11, when the Shallotte Junior Woman's Club offers its second annual Break fast with Santa. The breakfast will be held from 10 a.m. until noon in the fellowship hall of Camp United Methodist Church in Shallotte under the lead ership of project chairman Kathy Ross. Youngsters will enjoy hot pan cakes and have their photographs made with Santa Claus. Cost is $5 per child. Adults can eat for $2.50 each. Half the proceeds raised will go to the Brunswick Volunteer and In formation Center, said Susan Gib ble, clubwoman and a member of the VIC Board of Directors. The club is also requesting that participants each bring a wrapped present for a child age 18 or under. wilh the appropriate age level, sex and size indicated on the tag. "VIC is trying to target the older child this year, teenagers," said Gibble. "They receive plenty of clothes and other items for younger children but have problems meeting the needs of older children." Gibble said last year the board re ceived a thank-you letter from an older student for an N.C. Festival By the Sea sweatshirt donated by the Greater Holden Beach Merchants Association. "He said it was the first piece of new clothing he had ever received." The Breakfast with Santa project was begun last year by a club mem ber who saw a need for more local Christmas activities for child-en, said Gibble. Advance reservations are not needed. Tickets are available from any member of the Shallotte Junior Woman's Club or at the door. Lynn Carr is president of the club. E. Harvie Hill, D.DA, MAD. ? Pediatric DentMry providing care for children and young adults ages 1-21. Alfto care for the handicapped. MEMBER: AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY lOl Village Pine?s. &hallotte. 754-3333 Trade In Your Trailer For A CUSTOM BUILT HOME ? We Build And Finance * Your Plan Or Ours ? * 100% FINANCING (On Your Lot) * ? No Down Payment ? No Closing Cost * Call Paul Grant Today 1-800-331-7053 EASTERN BUILDERS INC. C1993 THF BRUNSWICK flFACON value our commitment to quality health care and serving this community's families is our forte. At the office of Mark A. Llzak M.D., we want to include the entire family in our diagnosis. If Debbie has a sinus, allergy or hearing problem, we want to be sure that little Johnny or Dad isn't living with the same condition. With our comprehensive ear, nose & throat (ENT) diagnostic proce dures, we can quickly detect, even the slightest indications. Dr. Mark A. Llzak and staff, appreciates the opportunity to serve this area with the very best in quality health care and professional service. Because Quality Care Is A Family Affair! Mark A. Lizak, M.D. Board Certified Specialist: EAR, NOSE & THROAT Conveniently located in the Doctor's Office Complex at the Brunswick Hospital, Supply, North (Carolina. For Appointments Call: 754-2920

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