The College of Charleston’s Center for Excellence in Peer Education is partnering with Hanahan Middle School in a pilot cross-age mentoring program that kicks off September 1, 2011. HMS is joining “Rachel’s Challenge,” a national movement towards teaching students how to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. Rachel was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Rachel’s acts of kindness and compassion, coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for the most life-changing school program in America.

College of Charleston peer mentors, trained and certified by the Center for Excellence in Peer Education, will meet with students from each grade to help them implement the year-long Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club curriculum. The College of Charleston peer mentors will assist with the training of these middle school ambassadors as well as assist with the development of FOR Club projects throughout the year. By default, the college-aged mentors will serve as role models of kindness and compassion to these younger leaders.

“This is exciting news for us, but it is especially exciting for HMS because of the wonderful program they are bringing to the school this year,” says Page Keller, director of the Center for Excellence in Peer Education. “Research shows that students respond well to their peers, and our trained peer mentors will help the middle school students feel comfortable talking with their peers and their mentors.”

The Center for Excellence in Peer Education prepares outstanding students to mentor, tutor, and assist their peers, as well as offering resources, services, and training opportunities to other college and university peer educator groups.

For more information, contact Page Keller at 843.953.9850.