Milo Students REACH Their Peers

Seven Milo Adventist Academy (MAA) students were awarded peer-ministry medallions at the senior consecration service on May 28. The medallions recognized that they have learned skills with which to minister to other students, including earning peer mediation certification and teaching workshops on social issues.

MAA’s staff and students have invested many hours in intentional community-building this year. The peer-ministry medallions are one part of a program initiated at Milo this year to help students experience the love of God through community. The program, called REACH (Relationships Education Action Christ-centered Harmony), includes weekly student-led CanOpeners support groups and Friday evening JAM (Jesus and Me) programs, as well as classroom training for sophomores, juniors and seniors by the guidance counselor and by Adele Wheeldon, peer ministry intern.

The head peer counselors who led the student-directed programs, Beth-Anne Laspe and Brittany Leidig, also spent hundreds of hours counseling and encouraging their peers. “Beth-Anne and Brittany helped me see that God was there. And because of them and what they do, I am permanently changed," declared Mandy Becker, a sophomore.

In the classroom, REACH students learn skills in active listening, conflict resolution, small-group leadership, peer mediation and counseling, and community building to serve their fellow students now and their church communities later.

Students have been excited to use their newly-learned people skills in real-life situations. They have also recognized a positive impact from the CanOpeners and JAM programs.

As one girl wrote, “In my CanOpeners group I have noticed such a difference in the members....It has made them feel so much happier just being able to talk about whatever they need to and know that nobody is going to tell others.”

While all Milo students can choose to benefit from the many aspects of the REACH program, a special few this first year will be leaving MAA well-equipped to nurture others, promote unity and live out Christ’s prayer that those who believe in Him “may be one even as we are one.”

July 01, 2004 / Oregon Conference