The Life Changing Impact of Peer Mediation

The Peer Mediators at DRW College Prep, a campus of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, strive to increase positivity and peace throughout not only our school, but the community that surrounds us. In the words of DRW senior and peer mediator Jessica Neal, she is driven by “thinking about the fact that the advice I give can help people” and “make them a better person”. Another peer mediator, Tyler Matthews, stated that he “comes to school to help people and make them feel comfortable in their learning environment.” As peer mediators, our goal is to not only keep the peace within the building, but to help students in becoming the best version of themselves. Early in our school’s history there were too many students acting out and getting expelled. However, last school year I’m proud to say we expelled zero students despite the school growing in size. The evidence is clear that the peer mediator program has successfully created a school environment where peaceful discussions are encouraged.
As a part of the Noble Network of Charter schools, DRW’s main goal is to get students to and through college. In fact, last year, 99% of our seniors were accepted to college, and we want to do everything we can to build on this success for the students coming in after us. There is no denying that the presence of the peer mediator group has changed the school environment in DRW for the better. We give students a place where they can feel safe to talk through any problem that they may have with another student. We help prevent fights simply by giving the kids an option to maturely and peacefully find a solution to their problem.
The peer mediators of DRW care not only about our school environment but also about the environment that ourselves and our peers walk into everyday after school. A more peaceful route to school puts kids in a better mind frame once they get to school. A better environment in the school building creates space that promotes learning. Thus making it more likely for students to get into college and make it to graduation. We want to create a change in the neighborhood that surrounds us. We know that it is possible for Chicago to become a more united and peaceful city, and we are beginning to take the steps now to ensure that we can help make that possibility more of a reality through continued community engagement.
This year we took our goal to the streets of North Lawndale. Our peace march took place during the last week of May at our school, and ended at Lee Roscoe Boler Park. We rallied together in North Lawndale to show that we are willing to work together to create a peaceful and positive outcome. We showed that we can speak for what we want, and we know how to make our voices heard. We wanted the children of our communities to be able to live and fulfill their maximum potential. There is power in numbers. Our entire school walked together, and we were able to rally together in the same place at the same time for the same cause the more we are able to demonstrate our commitment to our cause and our community. We were honored to have Congresswoman Kelly and Alderman Scott lead this march with us, and we thank them for their unwavering support for youth. We marched as a community in a peace march for a better summer, a better neighborhood, and a better city.

DeAndra Hannsberry