Students continue training and maintain their skills throughout the year. Groups find time to meet during the school day or after school. These weekly meetings help strengthen the "helping team", teach new skills and knowledge, and offer support to members. Over the course of the school year, Natural Helpers will learn and develop the following skills:
* Recognizing when help is needed
* Successful communication, including listening skills and problem solving
* Utilizing the "Helping Skill" to assist peers
* Recognizing when a situation is more serious and needs adult professional help.
* Awareness of resources and ability to refer people to the appropriate helping source
* Exercising self-care
They use these skills and the adult support provided to reach out one-on-one to friends in need. Natural Helpers groups also carry out service projects as part of their mission to reach out to their school and community.
Evaluation of Program Success
Since its first year in New Mexico, Natural Helpers has been evaluated in each school that hosts the program. Surveys are distributed to the Natural Helpers, the adult sponsors, parents, and the school administration throughout the year to help determine the program's success. The data -- both qualitative and quantitative -- shows that Natural Helpers' presence in a school has positive effects. Surveys also tell us that the individual students who participate feel direct and positive effects of the program in their own lives. For more detailed information on the Outcome Measurements for the New Mexico Natural Helpers program, click here.