CINCINNATI, Ohio --This year, Deer Park Jr./Sr. High School joined seven other local high schools in starting a Hope Squad—a peer to peer support program that empowers Hope Squad members to be active listeners so they may help and respond to peers who might be struggling emotionally or in some other way.
The 20 Hope Squad students were selected by their peers. Each Hope Squad member will complete an in-depth curriculum that teaches them how to identify students who may be in distress, including when to direct a friend in need to a trusted adult.
They are taught to identify these situations through talking with fellow students and recognizing that a student may need intervention. The students in Hope Squad are thoroughly trained in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) in order to adequately be prepared to handle the situations.
“We are already seeing this program pay dividends,” Deer Park Jr./Sr. High School Principal Stace Orso said. “Hope Squad members are able to intervene in stressful situations and get the student appropriate adult help.”
The students are taught the curriculum during x-bell, which is a common time for grades 9-12, where students focus on academic intervention and enrichment while also taking part in targeted activities such as senior assemblies, college visits, Tech Squad, and Hope Squad.
“It gives students comfort knowing they can rely on their self-selected peers to show you positivity in your life,” Senior Clay Berling said. “As a Hope Squad member, it has given me insight and perspective to be able to help someone get through tough times and be able to give back.”
Hope Squads are a piece of a larger organization called Grant Us Hope, which focuses on creating communities of leadership and advocacy that enhance mental wellness, safety and prevention in schools.