Attend teen training session


Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.

Are you a teenager age 13-18 who is concerned about friends and peers engaging in risky behavior with no one to turn to for information and help?

Facts

TEEN TRAINING

What: Training session for Peers Advocating for Unified Services and Education.
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 23; registration deadline is Feb. 15.
Where: Alachua County Health Department, 224 SE 24th St.
Information: Call 352-334-7972 or email teresa_white2@doh.state.fl.us.

If so, then you may want to participate in the Peers Advocating for Unified Services and Education, or P.A.U.S.E., a program that provides eight hours of training so peer advocates can provide accurate and up-to-date information and resources about issues that include domestic/dating violence, drug/alcohol abuse and other health issues.

Peer advocates receive community service, college preparation, leadership skills and other benefits.

The next training session will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Alachua County Health Department at 224 SE 24th St. The registration deadline is Feb. 15. To register and for more information, call 352-334-7972.

Teresa Mercado White, regional minority AIDS coordinator for Area 3/13 at the Alachua County Health Department, said statistics show that young teens depend on their friends and other teens for advice and information, and what they usually get is the wrong information.

“Teens don’t know who to turn to, and the peer advocate provides positive feedback to counteract peer pressure,” White said. “They connect fellow teens and friends with services.”

White said P.A.U.S.E. participants must complete an application, serve as an advocate for a full school term and attend monthly meetings, which are held from 4-6 p.m. the second Sunday of the month at the Health Department.

Besides the satisfaction of helping friends and other teens, White said peer advocates will earn community service hours, social networking skills, college preparatory information, leadership skills, and other tools to make them more competitive for college admission and scholarships.

White said the P.A.U.S.E. program was created by the Alachua County Health Department Minority AIDS program to train teens to advocate for their friends and peers and to provide them with community resources. She said her daughter, Keiyesa Parker, was in middle school when she came up with the idea in 2010 to provide a vehicle to help teens.

White said peer advocates carry badges so that other teens know they are available to discuss concerns. They also carry information they may need.

“The badge serves as a talking point,” White said.

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