DeSales University PACE Program Honored at National Convention
The DeSales University PACE (Peer Advising, Counseling and Educating) Academy program was honored at the 2006 General Assembly of The Bacchus Network, the national convention of peer educators and advisors, held in Anaheim, Cal., Nov. 9 to 12. Also honored as "Outstanding Advisor" was Dr. Gregg Amore, director of the counseling center at DeSales, who serves as advisor to the PACE program.
As a member of The Bacchus Network, DeSales belongs to a national and international group of approximately 1,000 schools. At the national convention, Amore was one of five award recipients in the "Outstanding Advisors" category. The DeSales PACE Academy program also was one of five recognized in the "Outstanding Programs" category.
"The main value of taking part in competition is that it keeps one sharp and strong," said Amore, in regards to being honored at the convention. "The true award is seeing our students return from California more confident, empowered and energetic as a result of their recognition."
Established in May 2004, the DeSales PACE team consists of eight Bacchus certified students who assist in peer counseling on campus and talk with other students on issues such as alcohol, sexual assault, relationships, time management and health / social education. They also work with high school, middle school and elementary school students to address a variety of topics. The interactions with local secondary and elementary school students led the PACE team to develop the PACE Academy program, which was honored at the national convention.
"This was a monumental award for the DeSales PACE Academy program, which is just three years old" said Chad Serfass, a senior majoring in elementary education and history, and a member of PACE since it was first introduced at DeSales. "The recognition is a huge honor and motivates us to continue to excel."
Attending the national convention with Amore and Wendy Krisak, assistant director of counseling and coordinator of the first-year experience program at DeSales, were the following members of the DeSales PACE team: Sarah Ball, '09, communications and public relations major from Nazareth, Pa.; Christian Barber, '08, forensic psychology major from Pottsville, Pa.; Michael Eastlack, '07, political science major from Woolwich Township, N.J.; Michael Nass, '08, marriage and family studies major from Hardyston, N.J.; Elizabeth Pongia, '08, clinical psychology major from Chester Springs, Pa.; Monica Yates, '07, clinical psychology major from Schnecksville, Pa;. and Chad Serfass, '07, elementary education major from Lehighton, Pa.
DeSales senior Michael J. Eastlack has been a member of PACE for two years and also participated in three PACE Academy programs. Eastlack has found the opportunity to work with high school students one that has been mutually beneficial.
"We educate them, but they educate us, as well, so their feedback has been very valuable," said Eastlack, whose future plans may include law school. "They come from various backgrounds, so when they share their experiences and opinions, it helps us understand them and others better. That information also helps with future projects."
According to DeSales senior MonicaYates, also a member of PACE for two years and a participant in three separate PACE Academies, one of the biggest issues she has addressed during discussions with high school students is how to deal with feeling overwhelmed by huge problems and how to tackle them.
"Basically, I tell them not to be afraid to ask for help," said Yates, who would like to pursue graduate work in counseling. "I stress that it is very important for them to ask the appropriate people for advice, such as a guidance counselor or teacher."
The PACE Academy is a one-day mentoring and training program during which students participate in interactive lectures aimed at self-development, communication and presentation skills, and alcohol, sexual assault and wellness education.
The DeSales PACE Academy program that was honored at the national convention was held in April 2006. During that session, 84 high school students from various high schools in the Lehigh Valley area were trained as peer educators by members of the DeSales PACE team. Among the high schools represented were Parkland, Nazareth, Jim Thorpe, Evergreen, Central Catholic and Wilson. The high school students use the new skills they acquired during the training session at their respective schools where they will work to foster new student-to-student relationships through peer education.
Also during the convention, Krisak and the DeSales PACE team was selected to make the presentation, "Character U: From 0 to 50 in 2," highlighting the growth of the DeSales program from zero to over 50 peer educators in only two years. Character U, new this academic year, is a unique integrated first-year experience program developed by DeSales University Student Life. It requires first-year students participate in character development activities throughout the year. The students earn points for their involvement and upon meeting point criteria, are eligible to win monthly prizes.
Amore, who was honored as "Outstanding Advisor" at the convention, has been a member of the DeSales staff for over 34 years. A resident of Nazareth, Pa., he has served as a faculty member in psychology and also as director of the counseling program and advisor for the PACE program. He was founder of the DeSales Child Development Center, which was a center to help provide services to students with disability challenges that were not offered, and co-founder of the Professional Development Center.
To become a member of the DeSales PACE team, students are nominated by members of the university community because of their strong leadership ability, and interpersonal and communication skills. Also, students have a desire to contribute to the social and personal development of others, good time management skills, and the ability to establish rapport with other students. Before officially becoming part of PACE, students complete an application process and an interview.
Press Release: DeSales University PACE Program Honored at National Convention | Posted on: 12/4/2006
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