Featuring Academic Counsellor Katie Clow and Philemon Wright High School’s Peer Support Group
A message from Katie Clow on Philemon Wright High School’s Peer Support Group
My name is Katie Clow and I am an Academic Counsellor at Philemon Wright High School, in Gatineau, Quebec. At the beginning of the school year, students were invited to participate in a Stone Circle through Mindshift. During these conversations with youth from across North America, my students identified a common theme: having a space to come together and support each other. And thus, our Peer Support Group was born.
In partnership with Connexions Resource Center, a local non-profit that links the Anglophone community to health and social services, we run our Peer Support Group with students every Tuesday. The goal of the group is to have a weekly space to get support from their peers. The long-term goal is to eventually have this group be for students, by students, and thus empowering youth to let us professionals know what they need to succeed. We also hope to one day offer this space every day at lunch, rather than once a week.
Through the group, we’ve had great discussions about the challenges students are facing and how we can better support each other. We hope to continue these discussions and to plan events that support mental health, such as a poetry night, a school-yard clean up and even a therapy dog room during exam time. This initiative has proven to be a positive addition to our school. By having a drop-in style support group, we can offer support to a wide range of students across all grade levels.
Our student leaders also feel empowered to share their initiative with pride, promoting it to friends and fellow peers while showing up consistently. Students have also reported that they feel less alone in their struggles and feel seen by their peers, even if they come from different circumstances or peer groups. By sharing our initiative, we hope that we can inspire other schools to bring something similar to help support their students.
To contact Katie to discuss the initiative further, email firstname.lastname@example.org.