I learnt that there are people who you can trust and talk to about your problems.
How to be more confident talking to other people.

Picabeen volunteer, Melissa, has a passion for working with young people and building their skills in being resilient.  So she takes great pleasure in delivering ‘Peer Skills’ training through local high schools.  Peer Skills is a programme for young people aged 11 to 18 developed by the Uniting Church and delivered by qualified trainers.  The programme was developed by the Uniting Church as a response to the recognition through calls to Kids Helpline and national and international research that confirmed that young people often turn to their fellow students for support in difficult times, before they turn to parents, counsellors or school staff.  The workshop is designed to acknowledge and build on existing skills with ideas, knowledge and strategies for assisting their peers with some of the issues that challenge them on a daily basis as well as in times of crisis.

I learned how to deal with anger

Peer Skills exists to provide skills, knowledge and strategies to assist young people to develop self understanding and effective supportive relationships.  Peer Skills strives to improve the wellbeing of young people by increasing skills that; support respectful engagement with each other, families and communities; build capacity to cope and empower young people to confidently and compassionately support others.

I learnt a lot about my body, about the ways other people think and how it is different to how I think.

Melissa reflects upon one of the sessions about body image: ‘There was a question about what do we like about ourselves.  We went around the group and allowed each person to provide an answer. One of the girls didn’t have an answer and I said that we would come back to her.  When we did her answer was amazing; she said “I like my lips”, for a year 9 girl to provide this answer I thought was incredible.  This same girl apparently joined the group because she didn’t have much confidence. During the term she told us that she had a job interview and the following week after she told us we found out that she got the job, that’s very exciting!!!!!’

For more information on the impact of Peer Skills, read Peer Skills in Action by Uniting Care Community Program.

Picabeen is grateful for the commitment of volunteers such as Melissa.  Supported by a small team of dedicated professional youth workers, our volunteers are a vital part of Picabeen’s service delivery.  And as Melissa says, she gets considerable personal satisfaction knowing she is equipping young people with essential life skills.  Thank you to Picabeen for allowing me to present a wonderful program to a group of beautiful young women!!!!!  The photo above is from the year 7 group which I took at our “celebration” party.  When I gave them back their creation, it reminded them that they are “shining stars” and they decided to join fingers together representing a star (amazing group of young women discovering themselves).