Peer leaders are young people who make a commitment to promoting healthy behavior in their communities, particularly among other young people. After completing peer leadership training, they educate their peers about health and prevention issues through a wide range of creative and effective strategies. They may lead school and community organizing projects.
Peer leadership is an effective health promotion strategy. Peer leadership programs capitalize on the ability of young people to influence one another in positive ways. HRiA’s models of community-based peer education and youth/adult collaboration, developed and implemented over the past 25 years, bring new and innovative ideas to youth development field.
HRiA has pioneered the development of practical and effective peer leadership programs and has published three widely-used related curricula: Peer Leadership Preventing HIV-AIDS, Peer Leadership Preventing Tobacco Use, and Peer Leadership Preventing Violence. In addition, HRiA has two new curricula: Peer Leadership Preventing Substance Abuse and Peer Leadership Promoting Food and Fitness.
Peer Leadership Preventing Violence
Peer Leadership Preventing Violence prepares young people to help other young people prevent violence in their schools, families, and communities. Participants examine their own knowledge, interpersonal skills, and attitudes about violence in the context of violence prevention and broader concerns about friends, families, communities, the nation, and the world.
In addition to skill development in decision-making, communication, planning, presenting, and taking action, Peer Leadership Preventing Violence explores:
• Communication and violence
• Personal responses to violence
• Conflict resolution
• Alternatives to fighting
• Risk and protective factors
• Anger management
• Violence and discrimination
• Relationship violence
• The culture of violence
• Gang-related violence
Peer Leadership Preventing Tobacco
Peer Leadership Preventing Tobacco prepares young people to be leaders in educating their peers about the health effects of tobacco and in advocating for change in their communities. Peer leaders are uniquely equipped to encourage tobacco prevention among other young people, who often begin using tobacco in a powerful social context.
In addition to skill development in decision-making, communication, planning, presenting, and taking action, Peer Leadership Preventing Tobacco explores:
• Tobacco as a drug
• How tobacco affects the body
• Refusal skills and resisting peer pressure
• The marketing of tobacco
• Addiction and quitting
• Advocacy and creating change
• Conducting surveys about tobacco use and using that information for planning
Peer Leadership Preventing AIDS and Promoting Sexual Health
Peer Leadership Preventing AIDS prepares young people to become leaders in teaching HIV/AIDS prevention and to encourage safer sex practices among their peers. Participants explore the implications of HIV/AIDS in their own lives and identify steps they can take in response to increasing rates of transmission in youth. This training goes beyond teaching the basics of HIV/AIDS infection to address individual values, wellness, the basics of prevention work, and sexuality.
In addition to skill development in decision-making, communication, planning, presenting, and taking action, Peer Leadership Preventing AIDS explores:
• Personal values about health
• Communicating clearly about sexuality
• Resisting pressure to have sex
• Sexuality and adolescent wellness
• Understanding sexual orientation
• HIV/AIDS transmission
• Prevention and risk reduction
• Testing and treatment
• Medical, emotional, and interpersonal aspects of HIV/AIDS
• Myths and facts about HIV/AIDS