Club Spotlight: Peer2Peer


Mental health: a constant struggle in many teenagers’ lives. Assignment deadlines, test grades, friend problems, and tight schedules, every adolescent has to deal with these everyday problems and they can oftentimes pile up and become stressful. 

However, a group at Chelsea high school is on a mission to tell students that their struggles are valid, that help is available, and that they are not alone. Run by guidance counselor Dorvia Thomas-Hill, and composed of students from all grades, many students may have heard of Peer2Peer and what they do, but less is known about the inner workings of the group. 

When all that you know about a group is its message and aim, prospecting members might not even know where to get information on joining, or how to go about doing that. However, Hill is ready to help students join the organization.

 “If they know any current members, they could talk to them and join them for a meeting,” Hill explained. “Or they could, you know, send me an email or come talk to me, letting me know that they’re interested.” 

Peer2Peer is always looking for new members. On the other side of the scale, however, some students have been in Peer2Peer since it was available to them, like junior Rowan Anderson. 

“So I’ve actually been Peer2Peer since my sixth-grade year, in Claig Middle School,” he explained. “So I’ve been here for a while.” 

Peer2Peer, despite its constantly fluctuating cast of students, has some traditions that stand the test of time, no matter the age or experience of its members. 

“There’s a kickoff, celebration, conference type deal where we meet together with other Peer2Peer groups from throughout Washtenaw County,” Hill said. “We listen to presentations on mental health topics, engage in activities, and work on team building, etc. And then at the end of the year, there’s like an end of the year picnic celebration where we learn about the different campaigns that each school has run for the school year’s Peer2Peer campaign.” 

The entirety of Peer2Peer centers around a year-long campaign to reduce stigma and raise awareness around mental health, and there are many ways for the group to go about this. 

“So last year, they hung posters that they designed,” Hill said. “They come up with a slogan each year. Last year’s slogan was, ‘It’s okay not to be okay. You’re not alone.’ Last year we had a mental health spirit week, a Peer2Peer spirit week. We’re going to do the same thing this year. Some small tokens were given away just as reminders.”

With so many ways to advocate for awareness, there is a role for everyone in the group, Peer2Peer having a use for anyone’s skill set. 

“We have something for everyone to do,” Hill said. “So, you know, someone who has artistic skills we could use because we’re trying to increase our presence on social media. Members of the group are designing posters […] It’s [also] a great place for students to develop leadership skills and advocacy skills.” 

Even though Peer2Peer has a place for everyone, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. To do what the group does is a big task, meaning that everyone has to pull their weight and make that year’s campaign the best it can be. 

“It is a time commitment,” Anderson said. “You definitely have to make sure that you are interested in the subject so that you try to really push yourself to, you know, get these goals, get the campaign done, work with your peers. So you really have to try and you should be trying for it because it’s something that’s important.” 

Teamwork and student-led problem-solving are a large part of Peer2Peer’s meetings. Since the issues that Peer2Peer tackles are most prevalent among teens, a student focus makes sense for the group. 

“They’re the ones that are going to have to implement the different initiatives that they’ve come up with,” Hill said. “So you know, students run the group and we talk about what our goals are to accomplish during the meeting, what homework assignments are for the next meeting, we check in on everyone’s progress on tasks that they are working on, and just check in with each other.”