The Inside of Peer Counseling


Ian Collamer

Peer counselling is, according to the dictionary, “a group that’s meant to support other people through volunteering, experience, and emotional benefactors,” but such a definition doesn’t truly encompass what the Lakota West peer counseling group is about. According to Grace Jarchow, Lakota West’s Peer Counseling is a group of people trying to “help the community in every way [they] can.” Basically, it’s a volunteer group trying to make a positive change. Their monthly meetings start with the group describing something positive they did for the community–for example, buying food for the poor or helping an old man with his groceries. 

The group’s most recent event was raking leaves for people who were unable to do so themselves and were not financially able to hire somebody. Saturday, November 16th, thirty people split into groups and raked leaves for ten houses, which took a total of five hours. In addition to raking, Jarchow noted that the peer counselors spent time “…meeting and talking with their homeowner.” The homeowners provided some refreshments and gave the peer counselors insight into their lives.

Peer counseling also has an upcoming event at the Chesterwood Alzheimer Home. On December 13th, peer counselors will go to the Alzheimer’s unit and sing carols, sit with them, hear their stories, and talk with them. According to Jarchow, “Not all of them have family that come around the holidays, we brighten up their holiday spirit.”

Becoming a peer counselor is simple. Head down to the guidance office and talk to Mr. Emig, the group adviser. You’ll sign a behavior contract and you’ll be in the group. From then you just have to come to the meetings and participate in the activities. No fees are required. As counselor Corianne Clark said, ”It’s not as strict as many people seem to think. It’s a very easy-going group.”