Helping Hands Update
IEGS News has already covered the Helping Hands project running at IEG, but Mr Maier came back today with more news about how the project is developing.
As you might remember, Helping Hands is a new initiative undertaken with the support of Mr Maier that involves students helping other students.
It all came about when Victor Bernard, a 3rd year social science student, made a comment to Mr. Maier at the end of his 2nd year that stayed with Mr. Maier.
“Our own students don’t get involved enough in helping each other as they can,” Victor told him
Mr. Maier challenged Victor to do something about it and he sure did. He began a student lead group, which has the primary purpose of helping fellow students with any and all problems to work towards solutions by reaching out to other students.
How Helping Hands Will Work
All Helping Hands group members will receive training from Mr. Maier in a problem solving model to use when helping other students as well as guidelines to follow to effectively help.
Mr. Maier will then be involved in a supervisory and support role to the group to ensure the wellbeing of both Helping Hands members and all students involved.
During Induction Week for all new first years in August, Helping Hands members will be present to welcome students to school, assist in their orientation process for the first day, and a minimum of two group members will become a buddy to one 1st year class in order to maintain contact with them in their beginning transition into the school.
Helping Hands students will be available via e-mail for questions or any support they need.
“By doing this they hope to create trust from the student body and earn respect as a helpful and useful group to turn to for assistance,” Mr Maier explains.
Two coordinators within the Helping Hands group, one for academic help and another for social and personal problem solving help will have important roles:
The Academic Coordinator will be responsible for making contact with different departments within the school to discuss the Helping Hands group and what they are there for.
The academic coordinator will connect students who want assistance in any academic subject with an appointed Helping Hands tutor. The tutor will arrange times to meet with the student to receive help in the subject area. They will keep track of how much each Helping Hands member is contributing and communicate on a regular basis with Mr. Maier to supervise the group’s progress. The Academic Coordinator will also find available rooms to book for small groups when needed who want to book a classroom for a more verbal (loud) study session. The coordinator will take a more active role in the regular supervision meetings Mr. Maier will hold to maintain the accountability and good standards of the group
The Social / Personal Challenges Coordinator will work with the buddy system to support the group maintaining contact with their class and encouraging students to be ok with reaching out to help each other. This coordinator will be offering Helping Hands groups to all of the student body. What these groups will offer is an open door to a small group lead by two Helping Hands members, which will have a solution focused approach to any social, personal, or academic problem. It will be a fun and engaging environment where you can come, not be judged, be listened to, and receive support in solving your problem.
Mr. Maier’s office will be the place for these groups and he is very excited to get kicked out of his office for what he says “the best medicine ever!!”.
Mr. Maier also stresses that: “students helping each other is the most powerful changing force available within this school, and we have some real amazing students wanting to help”. This coordinator will post the schedule for when the groups are open during the week and anyone can choose to come to one or all of these groups to help each other to solve their own problems. The group facilitators will meet with both the coordinator and Mr. Maier to receive supervision and support.
The Launch of a New Website
The other exciting and fun initiative the group will be taking is creating a interactive website which will serve as an outlet to discuss issues and solve problems, give students great resources and information on relevant issues to their wellbeing, and a place to show case the excellent talent out students have within the school in art, music, and writing. This feature is in development at this very moment and will be operational by the beginning of the new school year.
"Any student can join Helping Hands," says Mr Maier. "We're looking for people to get involved."