Youth members from Mission Viejo’s Community of Character Committee will host a “Teen Survivor Guide” mentoring program for eighth graders from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 14 at the Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way.
The Community of Character Committee includes highly motivated teens who strive to better the community with character-driven activities. During this event, committee members will mentor high school freshman students about awareness and resources to overcome potential social problems. All 8th grade students are invited to attend this fun and informative event.
“Our Youth Committee wants to make a difference in this community,” said committee Youth Advisor Annie Cwieka. “The 15 youth mentors hosting the program have received over 28 hours of training in facilitation, leadership, basic crisis intervention and presentation skills. Many others are involved in supportive roles. I am incredibly proud of their vision and drive to bring it to life.”
The program was developed by teens for young teens and it addresses relationships, bullying, substance abuse, and tolerance. Participants will learn about healthy and abusive relationships, recognizing the signs of bullying and deterring the behavior. They will discuss problems that arise with drug abuse and finding alternative coping methods. Closing with tolerance, participants will understand and discuss stereotypes and other problems caused by ethnic and religious diversity. The information will be communicated through guest speakers, group discussions, and videos.
“I want to give the students an understanding of the situations they could face in high school … not to scare them but more importantly, I want to inspire hope within these curious and venturesome minds to stimulate lives full of integrity and tolerance,” said Nick Cotta, committee vice president.
Mentoring co-chair Allison Zheng agrees.
“I am involved in this program because of personal experiences with bullying,” she said. “As a student from private school, the jump into the public school system in 7th grade was not an easy transition. Through this program, I hope to help other students dealing with issues like bullying and show them ways of coping and stopping it before it gets out of hand.”
Pooja Shah, mentoring committee co-chair, said it’s essential to teach our youth.
“Intolerance is the worst problem society can face,” she said. “It is ‘tolerance’ that can lead to peace and equality; so we must teach it to our youth.”