Mary Struhs, advisor for the Student Support Center at Hiram Johnson High School, regularly promotes healthy bodies and minds of students. But the Student Support Center is a building which many students are not familiar with.

Students can go into the Student Support Center for drug counseling, grief groups, and peer mediation. There are more programs currently being developed and some which are already in session.

One successful program is Peer Mediation which is funded by an endowment to prevent violence within the community. The endowment allows students to train as professional mediators to settle disputes around campus to their peers. Right now, it is the most popular program on campus and is being regularly used.

“Being a peer mediator is amazing because I get the opportunity to help other students who have conflicts,” says Melissa Saefong, currently in her junior year at Hiram Johnson. “Working  with wonderful people makes the job worthwhile.”.

Peer Mediation is a healthy and safe way for students to reach out to other students when they have a conflict to solve. Its volunteers are trained with communication skills and they foster an environment focused on confidentiality.

“Being able to participate in programs that are connected to the student support center is rewarding,” says Saefong.

Peer Mediation improved the school so significantly that it motivated John F. Kennedy High School and Health Professions High School to replicate the program in their schools.