Natural Helpers start a new year with new emphasis

Community involvement to be a priority this year

Marta Hill

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Isabel Kjaer

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Natural Helper students attend the first meeting of the year. The meeting took place Sept. 14 and club changes were discussed.

Senior Jasmine Tchida looks forward to the upcoming year of being a Natural Helper because it provides her with a way to help the community.

Tchida said she hopes this year the program will have more structure than in the past due to adjustments in the advisement.

“This year is going to be a bit more coordinated. Last year, as much as I loved it, the group, it was a little bit more out there and it was not as put-together, but I feel like it was a good wake-up call,” Tchida said.

The Natural Helpers are seeking to participate in more community service work, according to Tchida.

“We want to help out the community, whether it be the school, or St Louis Park or whatever, we feel like it’s necessary,” Tchida said.

According to returning advisor Andrew Carlson, teachers Allison Luskey and Jillian Merkle will also be taking on advising roles.

“Ms. Luskey is really going to do the meetings and (will be) scheduling what we are going to do,” Carlson said. “Ms. Merkle is going to do the advertising, and getting the name and all this stuff out there, and I’m just going to monitor the attendance and make sure that the kids academically and socially within the building are fit to remain in the program.”

Carlson said the group is also working to be more accessible to students who are looking for peer counseling opportunities.

“Students who are Natural Helpers should have a badge; most of them keep that badge on their backpack. If students see a Natural Helper in the hallway they can pull them aside and ask to speak to them then or to find a time to meet with them,” Carlson said.

Carlson is hoping to use a display case on the 2nd floor to advertise the Natural Helpers.

Now that we have found our display case, we will have names and pictures of all the Natural Helpers in the coming weeks up in that space,” Carlson said.

According to Carlson, There are many ways students can get help. Students shouldn’t be kept from Natural Helpers because they can’t get in touch.

Students can go through their counselors, they can go through either of the three advisors, or basically any teacher in the school. If they felt like they wanted to talk to a Natural Helper, that teacher should be able to contact one of us to set up something,” Carlson said.

Tchida said there is more to being a part of Natural Helpers than what you can do at Park.

Even if you’re not going to go and help other people every day. (You learn skills) you can use in your free time,” Tchida said. “If your friend needed help or something, or someone you know just wanted to talk, it can be useful for more than just Natural Helpers.”

According to Tchida, overall the Natural Helpers are hoping to have a more organized and involved year.