Thursday October 4, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- A group of Monument Valley Regional Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders gave more than 60 reasons for wanting to help out their school.

The latest inductees of the school’s peer mentoring program wrote them anonymously on pieces of paper for other students to read aloud. Among the responses:

n "To become a better leader."

n "To put on my college application."

n "Because I like to help others go through what I did."

After a Wednesday morning induction ceremony, the students went right to work with members of the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, including Kimberly Blair, Kristen Westerman, Sherry Penna and Carol Mulcahy.

Together the students and educators are participating in three days of workshops with both fun and serious team-building exercises, based around themes of good communication, respect and positive support behaviors.

"I heard a lot of good things from you all," Blair told the group of students she worked with on Wednesday, after they had read their reasons for joining the program.

"It shows me not only that you all care, but that you’re also thinking about the future and about things like college, which is good. It’s important to have goals like that," Blair said.

Throughout the year, the peer mentors will work on a variety of activities, from school awareness campaigns, to working with younger students in the school through a buddy program.


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In addition to helping their peers, the prgorman’s goal includes helping the mentors better themselves.

Each year the program, which was started four years ago by Monument Valley school adjustment counselor Dom Sacco, has grown. The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office has also been able to use the model to help other schools, like Nessacus Regional Middle School in Dalton and Hoosac Valley High School in Cheshire, start similar programs.

To reach Jenn Smith:
jsmith@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink