The SHAPE (Sexual Health And Peer Education) Program is an innovative peer education program created by Teen emPower! that recruits and trains over 30 high school students each year to present lessons on social and peer pressure, media messages, and assertiveness skills for 7th grade students. Using high school students as facilitators creates a positive and powerful impression on the middle school participants. Our evaluations have consistently highlighted the use of peer educators as an important factor in the success of our programs, for both the middle school participants and high school peer educators.
TEI’s peer education program SHAPE:
- Uses trained, local high school students to present information to middle school youth in realistic and authentic ways, expanding student comprehension of the material.
- Provides content that is relevant and developmentally appropriate for the young audience to receive and for peer educators to facilitate.
- Involves a thorough selection and training process for peer educators.
- Includes ongoing monitoring and support of the program facilitation and content delivery by an experienced adult educator.
- Is an exceptional growth experience for the high school peer educators who are gaining new skills, knowledge, and confidence while modeling positive health attitudes and behaviors for their own peers.
The high school students are trained in public presentation and group facilitation to present a series of four classroom sessions on the following topics:
- Risks of Early Sexual Involvement
- Social and Media Pressures
- Peer Pressures
- Assertiveness Techniques to Avoid Unwanted Situations
The Peer Educators follow a script that includes video segments presenting real-life scenarios. Working in teams, they lead a guided discussion to help students think about potential issues, situations, and consequences based on what choices are made.
Each spring semester, students who are freshman, sophomores, or juniors in Mid-Del and some OKCPS high schools are offered the opportunity to apply for the SHAPE program. Following the application and interview process, approximately 30 students are selected to serve as SHAPE Peer Educators during the next school year.
Students attend two training retreats held in the early summer and fall. Training retreats include presentations by community health and education professionals, and skill-building activities to help the peer educators improve classroom facilitation and student engagement. Ongoing training and support is provided throughout the school year, along with leadership development and volunteer service-learning activities.
Over a Decade of Success
SHAPE is the only peer education program of its kind in Oklahoma, and one of very few in the country, where trained high school student volunteers present prevention programs to middle school students under the supervision of adult health educators. Peer Educators in SHAPE (previously called L.I.M.I.T.S.) have presented this popular and highly successful program to over 10,000 students in 7th grade since TEI began the program in 2008.