About The PEERS Project
Teen Positive Influence Network
The PEERS Project is a 1 week intensive peer to peer interactive curriculum for middle school students (grades 6, 7, and 8) focusing on the impact of our decisions on our future.
Through mentoring with our high school PEER Leaders, students focus on strengthening personal values and goals in three main areas:
- Media/Cultural Influences
- Personal Relationships
- Risky Behaviors (Adolescent Sexual Activity, Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco)
Through presentations and activities teens learn how External Influences (peers, family, neighborhood, school) and Internal Justification (self-rationalization, cognitive dissonance) influence our personal choices/decisions, and thus our behaviors.
The PEERS curriculum impacts all who participate (from the middle school students to our high school PEER Leaders and college Young Adult Mentors). At every level, health education training and relational skill development is provided.
Our aim is to affect at least 75% of the teens we serve:
- Increase confidence in personal leadership skills.
- Delay initiation into sexual activity; and alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use and increase percentage who recommit to avoiding these risky behaviors.
- Increase understanding of healthy relationships and their importance.
- Increase economic self-sufficiency while reducing poverty.
- Decrease teen pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections.
For more on The PEERS Project, see Our Approach.
Who We Serve
In 2016 – 2017, PEERS is conducting a Pilot Program of our enhanced curriculum in Indianapolis, Indiana that will recruit and train 250 high School Peer Leaders (Young Health Educators), 50 Young Adult Mentors (college age) and provide service to 3,000 middle school students in the classroom.
In 1994, St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Services, Inc., in Indianapolis, Indiana, initiated the development of an innovative primary prevention model. This positive youth development program created a new paradigm: teenagers are a part of the solution.
The PEERS Project’s prevention model helps to maximize the influence of positive peer pressure from young role models. St. Vincent Hospital chose this peer-facilitated approach because youth development models were proving to be one of the most effective ways to constructively guide adolescent attitudes and behavior.