Twelve Mercyhurst College students, trained and certified as peer educators, are taking a program about alcohol awareness and associated issues, like dealing with peer pressure, into middle school classrooms.
On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 25, 27 & 28, the group is delivering their message to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students at Walnut Creek Middle School in Millcreek Township.
The Mercyhurst peer educators, advised by assistant athletic director Sara Headley and Dr. Renee Patton, include: Laura Hennessy, Jennifer Bower, Alyssa Katerburg, Sydney Cuscino, Amanda Walker, David Haurin, Molly Keleshian, Johneisha Williams, Megan Richards, Bethany Brun, Caitlin Ross and Ashley Harper. All were trained through the BACCHUS Network (Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students).
The middle school outreach is one of several initiatives at Mercyhurst funded by a $30,000 CHOICES grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) intended to help eliminate high-risk alcohol consumption on college campuses by promoting low-risk choices. The three-year grant runs through June 30, 2011.
The peer educators, most of whom are athletes, elected to take their message to middle school students who, they felt, had “the misperception that college life is all about drinking,” Heasley said. “Their goal was to change that perception.”