About the Program
Imagine a nurturing space where high school Juniors and Seniors guide their younger peers in a process that allows them to make a smooth transition from middle school to high school. Imagine a whole cohort of ninth and tenth graders being supported to learn how to succeed in high school, to communicate better with their parents, to take leadership in their school and community. Imagine those same Peer Leaders working with parents to facilitate better communication between them and their children attending school. This is exactly what transpired at Mott Hall Bronx High School through the Peer Group Connection (PGC) program that they have implemented.
Peer Group Connection has a long track-record of supporting schools to create environments that nurture young people and help them graduate from High school. On December 11th, Mott Hall hosted an event for students, their parents and family, and members of the community to highlight the Peer Group Connection program that they have implemented as part of their ESI programming. As part of the event, attendees watched a creative enactment of a “typical” family dinner, a skit that allowed the performers to highlight the breakdowns in communication that can occur between parents and their kids. The Peer Leaders were great actors, using wit and humor to convey some of the potential pitfalls in communication between family members. Parents were riveted and wanted to learn more about how to effectively communicate with their kids.
After the skit, parents were ushered into different rooms for peer facilitated fishbowls in which parents and young people got a chance to participate in answering questions they often ask of each other as well as issues young people face in their lives. The process created a safe environment in which young people could share their opinions, questions, and insights with each other and in turn, parents were invited to do the same. Even Mott Hall Principal, Kathryn Malloy, participated. It was an impressive demonstration of young people’s capacity to support each other when supported and trained by caring adults; members of the Mott Hall Bronx staff manage the implementation of the PGC program at the school.