New Peer Advising Committee at DeSales University Has Banner Year
The Peer Advising Counseling Educating (PACE) Academy at DeSales University, established during the spring 2004 semester, has hit the ground running. The PACE team consists of eight specially trained students who assist in peer counseling on campus. The students meet and talk with other students to help them deal with issues such as alcohol, sexual assault, relationships, time management and other health/social education. They also work with high school and elementary school students to address a variety of topics.
Among the events in which the PACE team has participated so far this year were PACE Academy, a two-day program in October 2005, designed to train and certify high school students from the Lehigh Valley area as peer educators. The high schools included Parkland, Nazareth, Jim Thorpe, Evergreen and Wilson. The training enabled the high school students to work with their fellow students to address a variety of topics such as alcohol, relationships, and sexually transmitted diseases. According to Dr. Gregg Amore, director of the counseling center at DeSales, the program was a great success.
"One hundred percent of the participants said they would return for advanced training and also would recommend PACE Academy to other schools," said Amore. "The advisors from the high schools indicated they would return with a new group of students next year for the same training."
Last month, the PACE team attended the Bacchus national conference in Orlando, Florida, where members presented: "Boozin, Cruisin, and Losin," the alcohol awareness program. At the regional Bacchus conference at Rutgers University last winter, the team presented the sexual assault program, "Don't Get Tricked into Sharing Your Treats."
"As a PACER, I have the opportunity to be a leader in vital social and health education that my peers aren't receiving in the classroom," said Liz Pfister, junior nursing major from Shippensburg, Pa.
The eight students who are participating in PACE include: Jon Andrews, a senior biology major from Lebanon, Pa.; Tracy Brady, senior elementary education major from Philadelphia, Pa.; Jackie Camm, senior psychology major from Philadelphia, Pa.; Mike Eastlack, junior political science major from Swedesboro, N.J.; Liz Pfister, junior nursing major from Shippensburg, Pa.; Brian Radziwill, junior communications major from Cherry Hill, N.J.; Chad Serfass, senior elementary education major from Lehighton, Pa.; and Monica Yates, junior psychology major from Schnecksville, Pa.
"PACE allows me the opportunity to interact with a wide range of individuals giving me the experience I need as a future educator," said senior Tracy Brady, elementary education major from Philadelphia.
In addition to helping students who come to them for advice, the PACE team organizes educational programs. Recently, the PACE team presented the program, "Bully Busters," for the first time at Notre Dame Elementary School in Bethlehem. The program is designed to raise awareness of bullying in schools and also provide students with the tools they need to combat such behavior. The program was made even more effective with the use of peer theater.
"PACERS used the peer theater into the program to help the elementary school audience express their feelings more openly," said Wendy S. Krisak, assistant director of counseling at DeSales. "While staying in character, the PACERs followed their skits with discussions that encouraged the development of strategies to cope with bullying. The presentation was well received and resulted in the entire eighth grade class signing an anti-bullying pledge."
According to Krisak, statistics show that 150,000 kids nationwide stay home from school everyday because of bullying and most kids have been bullied at some point in their life. She believes the dedication of the members of the PACE team and their great passion and talent for the Bully Busters program, would assure its success, provided the initiative secures adequate funding.
In addition to Amore and Krisak, other DeSales faculty and staff members who work with the PACE Academy include Rev. Joseph DiMauro, OSFS, associate dean of student life, and Fern Strunk, director of the Health Center.
"Working with fellow students has brought me new strength and confidence personally. It is extremely rewarding to see students succeed and find their own confidence," said Jon Andrews, senior biology major from Lebanon, Pa.
For more information on the PACE Academy at DeSales, please contact Dr. Gregg Amore, director of the counseling center at DeSales University, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release: New Peer Advising Committee at DeSales University Has Banner Year | Posted on: 12/14/2005
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu