Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
E-mail support service set up for teens
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 7 Apr 2006, p. 9

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A recently launched e-mail support service provides area youths with a place to voice their opinions, discuss issues and get information on a wide range of topics. E-Peer to Peer, offered through Halton Hills Community Support and Information, provides youth with a direct line to trained mentors who are supervised by a youth worker. Since the program began in January, co-ordinator Laura Demeester said they have received e-mails from youths on a wide range of topics including bullying, selfharm, drug and alcohol use, relationships, bereavement and birth control. There are seven mentors in the program, all of them Acton or Georgetown high school students who have gone through an eight-week training course in active listening and giving support. The mentors do not give personal advice or counsel the youth. "They're not Dear Abby and they're not crisis workers," said Demeester. She said the mentors are well versed in the resources available on a wide range of topics and provide that information to those who email them. All the e-mails are treated confidentially and answered in three to four days. Demeester said the youths get together once a week under her supervision to respond to the emails. Currently they are receiving about 10 each week. "I supervise everything that's being done. They use their own words." "They're very capable mentors. They really encourage kids to take care of themselves, to explore what their choices might be without being judgmental." Demeester said the program, which she believes is the only one like it in Canada, is currently funded through the National Crime Prevention Board, and funding beyond this year has not yet been secured. The e-mail address for E-Peer to Peer is p2p@hhcsi.ca. Anyone interested in becoming a mentor should enquire at the guidance counsel office in Acton or Georgetown High Schools. For more information call Demeester at 519853-3310.

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7 Apr 2006
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Demeester, Laura
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E-Peer to Peer
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E-mail support service set up for teens