by AILEEN BLOMDAL | photo by Tyler McElhaney

Teens Make a Difference

“Can you say ‘I love you’ to your parents?” asks Poway High School’s Counselor Tracy Barker-Ball. Seventy-nine of the students walk forward to the other side of the room, responding to the question with a yes. But one student is left behind, tears streaming down his face. Seconds later all the students walk back to the one student who couldn’t walk forward and give him a group hug to comfort him.

This is only one of the many activities that the students in Poway High’s Peer Counseling practice at their retreat. The main focus of this club is to train students, ranging from 14 to 18 years of age, to be a helping hand in the school.

So many teens of this present generation are suffering through difficult life situations, and Mrs. Barker-Ball’s program was made to aid the students of Poway High. The program has made an impact in not only the members’ lives but also those of other students who struggle with stress, addictions, bad habits, or bullying, particularly students who are part of the LGBT group.

Every summer and winter new students get chosen to be representatives of Peer Counseling and participate in a retreat that prepares them for the upcoming semester. The students have to fill out an application, get letters of recommendation, and attend an interview to be able to make it into the program, so all these kids are more than worthy to take on a responsibility such as this one. They’re preparing to do much more in the future.

Aileen Blomdal is a junior at Poway High School. She is part of an internship program with 92064 Magazine.