Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Parent to Parent: Shark Buddies
Kids are looking forward to a long summer but for those getting ready to start middle school next year, the transition can be scary. 7's Lynn Martinez shows us how a unique program is helping in tonight's Parent to Parent.
Mercy Fowler: "Today is a great day because I have some posters I want to share with you about bullying."
Mercy is a counselor at Paul Bell Middle School. She noticed 6th graders having a hard making the transition to middle school because of the many changes they face.
Mercy Fowler: "Physical changes, developmental changes, emotional changes, friendships."
So she started a peer mentoring program called "Shark Buddies".
Mercy Fowler: "I felt very strongly that kids listen to their peers much more willingly, readily, than they do to me."
A couple times a week, 8th graders visit a 6th grade class and buddy up with a student to give them guidance, advice or just to lend a friendly ear.
Mercy Fowler: "If they feel they have a friend who's an 8th grader, they don't feel so alone."
They're also not afraid to tackle the tough topics.
Mercy Fowler: "Attendance, drugs, alcohol, bullying, how to report it."
Amanda became a shark buddy because she remembers how intimidating 6th grade was.
Amanda Ceballo: "When you get here you see these tall 8th graders and I'm short so yeah."
Jocelynn as 6th grader admits she was nervous about starting a new school.
Jocelynn Callejas: "I'm like 'Oh my God' am I going to get bullied, are people going to be mean to me?"
So having a shark buddy on her side meant a lot.
Jocelynn Callejas: "They're like an extra friend I can tell anything to."
Mary has her twin sister Vicki to lean on but she knows what being the new kid in class feels like.
Mary Rodriguez: "I felt really, really scared because I was very lost."
She says becoming a shark buddy has been a truly rewarding experience.
Mary Rodriguez: "They tell me I'm their role model, and that feels really good to hear, because I've done something positive for them."
Lynn Martinez: "8th graders have to go through an application process and maintain high grades to become a shark buddy."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mercy R. Fowler, M.S
Trust Counselor/Sexual Minority Liason
Paul W. Bell Middle School
11800 NW 2nd Street
Miami, FL 33182
Tel: (305) 220-2075 ext. 2121