About FlashAlert on Twitter:
FlashAlert utilizes the free service Twitter to distribute emergency text messages. While you are welcome to register your cell phone text message address directly into the FlashAlert system, we recommend that you simply "follow" the FlashAlert account for Kelso Sch. Dist. by clicking on the link below and logging in to (or creating) your free Twitter account. Twitter sends messages out exceptionally fast thanks to arrangements they have made with the cell phone companies.
Twenty-four 8th graders and twenty 7th graders at Coweeman Middle School in Kelso have banded together to form a peer helping group known as the Cougar Ambassadors. These students help resolve conflicts at school and foster a culture of belonging and positivity. And in the process, they're also helping themselves.
Active since January, the ambassadors are broken into three groups: Peer Mediators, Natural Helpers and Change Agents.
* The Peer Mediators solve problems among students by remaining impartial, listening and asking questions that help the students in conflict come up with their own resolution. The group has mediated 30 student conflicts so far.
* The Natural Helpers' role is to make students feel welcome and like they belong. They go out of their way to look for people sitting alone or those who appear troubled. They practice the Smile-Shake-Share method: smile and say hello; shake hands and introduce yourself; share by starting a conversation.
* The Change Agents generate positivity and encouragement through inspiring posters and events.
Led by the school's counselor, Allison Baxter, the ambassadors were selected by other students and Coweeman staff for being supportive, encouraging and influential.
"I'm a firm believer in what students are capable of," said Allison. "They are change agents. And in this process, they're gaining skills like empathy and active listening in very practical ways."
The program integrates the 40 Developmental Assets; which are research-based, positive experiences and qualities that influence young people's development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults. And it's a great introduction to the restorative rather than punitive process of resolving social conflicts.
"I feel happier helping people," said ambassador Diego Juarez. A sentiment echoed by many on the team. In the process of helping others, these students feel they have become more mature and compassionate and have fewer conflicts themselves.