Natural Helpers completes training

All-day instruction teaches members how to interact with peers


Lauren VonEschen

Natural Helpers adviser Andrew Carlson plays the guitar as part of the group’s all-day training Oct. 28. Club members are now available to meet with students for peer counseling.

Yonit Krebs and Lauren VonEschen

Natural Helpers members participated in an all day training, which consisted of two key parts Oct. 28, according to adviser Andrew Carlson.

Carlson said the meeting’s two goals were helping members become better peer counselors and bringing the group together.

Carlson said one important part of the training was to teach the group’s members how to deal with situations that may be dangerous and knowing at what point to get an adult involved.

“The purpose of the training was to give the students an idea of how to interact with students who may be coming to them with potentially sensitive issues and how to respond if perhaps a student comes to them with an issue that might be bigger than them, something that might need to be reported to an adult,” Carlson said.

According to junior Natural Helpers member Carly Livingston, members discussed the importance of listening and body language and discussed how these factors affect communication with the peer they’re trying to help.

“We talked a lot about how it’s really about listening, and how you shouldn’t really be talking more than the person you’re talking to and a lot about body language and how that can affect how you communicate with the person you’re helping,” Livingston said.

Carlson said one aspect of the training was bringing the group together and helping integrate new members.

“There were community building activities so the group got to know each other better and interact with other grade levels,” Carlson said. “We had students who had never really spoken to each other interact and get to know one another.”

Carlson said the training was successful and students benefited from the group bonding.

“We did a debriefing at the end and students said, from their own mouths, that it was a really positive experience,” Carlson said.

According to Carlson, this is the third year Natural Helpers has done this training, although they usually do it later in the year during January or February.

“Each year has been similar,” Carlson said. “We’ll change things here and there, but for the most part, the formula that we’ve come up with for the training has really worked well and the students each year have really responded well.”

To talk with a Natural Helpers member, students can contact them directly or request a meeting through Natural Helpers advisers Andrew Carlson, Jillian Merkle and Megan Custer.