Carlsbad High’s Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) program [plusprogram.org] builds relationships among students, staff and the community in an effort to create stronger connections and a solid support system that helps keep students emotionally, psychologically and physically safe. According to PLUS advisor Susan Penrod, the national program began at CHS last fall and is already reaping results.
She explains, "Student leaders in 10th-12th grade utilize activities that seek to create a culture in kids to take care of kids. At the center of this activity-based approach is a peer-to-peer discussion forum that empowers students to bond with one another, identify issues impacting their campus climate and come up with solutions to help resolve them.”
At CHS as at other schools, issues range from bullying and exclusion to drug/alcohol abuse, depression and suicide. Junior Nicole Harris has learned, “By identifying issues, we find new ways to reduce exposure to these risks and search for new ways to overcome troubles presented to us.”
Adolescents often hide their problems from the rest of the student population. They may seem OK on the outside, while feeling anguished and tormented on the inside.
PLUS leaders say, “A simple ‘Hello!’ or ‘How’s it going today?’ can cheer up a depressed person and give him/her the comfort of knowing someone cares.”
The District applauds these young leaders for offering a big PLUS to their peers!