Victor Bernard talks about Helping Hands
IEG News recently talked with Mr Maier about Helping Hands. This week we talked with Victor Bernard, a third year student who came up with the idea for the project.
IEGS News: So where did the idea for Helping Hands come from?
Victor Bernard: The idea of Helping Hands came from the way problems were being dealt with in school with, for example, stigma and the support. Mr. Maier and the faculty staff could not take the burden of helping so many students which gave me the idea in a discussion between me and Mr. Maier that a student peer group was needed.
IEGS News: Why do you think something like Helping Hands is important?
Victor Bernard: Because students should have access to help at all times and teachers and councillors cannot offer that. In my project work I will be dealing with different models and one focuses on the importance and effectiveness of students helping other students. Students typically trust fellow students more which enables us to bond and create more trust making it easier. A student led group like Helping Hands is thus very useful.
IEGS News: Aren't students too busy to volunteer to help out?
Victor Bernard: Well that might be the case and that is why the group is open for all classes and year groups since all classes and year groups have different schedules; when one membes from one class has too much to do the other members from other classes can jump in and cover for them until the academic pressure subsides.
IEGS News: What kind of training is Mr Maier providing?
Victor Bernard: He is now offering a lecture or seminar focusing on how to be a young leader. He is offering training which will enable students to help and open up much easier to the newer students.
IEGS News: Does IEGS really need an initiative like this?
Victor Bernard: Yes, because this group offers development in the area of cooperation and leadership which is very useful for future studies and future work. This type of leadership and cooperation is not offered in any other school. Other schools may have kamratstödjare but it is not as effective as Helping Hands given that helping Hands is a group that has been going with regular meetings and initiatives during the whole academic year. It also has inspirational coordinators that have kept the group functioning and united. This group can also promote and increase unity between individual year groups and classes.
IEGS News: What do you think Helping Hands will mean to those students coming to IEGS in August?
Victor Bernard: If the mentoring system works out as planned then it would enable the new first year to integrate with student body in a very short amount of time.
It will also build bridges between the first years and the upper years creating the kind of trust that makes it easier to ask for help with social and academic problems.
We are also going to keep the mentoring system connected with the Helping Hands body to help the mentors deal with daily issues which some people may struggle with, or to keep the mentors interlinked with the group to help the mentors solve problems beyond the student mentors capacity. We hope the the environment of the school will be more positive and supportive and that new first years will share the spirit of the school and become more actively involved.