When Helping Others Comes Naturally

The Natural Helpers were selected by their peers through a school-wide nomination process.
The Natural Helpers were selected by their peers through a school-wide nomination process.

With the start of the New Year, Walt Whitman High School celebrated its Natural Helpers eleventh year! Natural Helpers is a peer-helping program used in high schools across the United States and in several other countries. The program is based on a simple premise: Within every school, an informal "helping network" exists. Students naturally seek out other students for advice, assistance, or a sympathetic ear. Natural Helpers uses this existing helping network; it provides students and adults who are already perceived as "natural helpers” with extensive training. “It was inspiring to see such a talented team of South Huntington students and staff immersed in a weekend of Natural Helpers training,” said Superintendent Bennardo in his weekly newsletter. “Congratulations to the students and staff that spent the weekend training to assist peers in need.”

The eleventh annual Walt Whitman Natural Helpers overnight retreat took place on January 9th. It was a huge success! Natural Helpers Advisors Ivette Moss and Patricia Urgiles worked hard to provide an activity-filled retreat for 27 Whitman students. The Huntington Tri-Community Youth Agency also assisted.

The Natural Helpers were selected by their peers through a school-wide nomination process. Students were asked to name peers they find to be caring and trustworthy. The retreat, which took place at Camp Alvernia in Centerport, included many enjoyable team-building activities as well as presentations on such topics as stereotyping, healthy relationships, and active listening skills. The result was a meaningful experience for all involved. The students left with a stronger self-awareness, a new sense of respect for others, better listening skills, and a few new friends!

Congratulations to the following students and staff:  Advisors: Ivette Moss and Patricia Urgiles Students: Grade 9 – Alyssa Christiansen, Maxwell Fisher, Andrew Harrigan, Jaquelinne Jaco Garay, Wendley Jean Baptiste, Rebecca Lamanna, Sean Rankel, Grace Roiland, Gabrielle Safian; Grade 10 – Chloe Blumberg, Thomas DeGaetano, Katie Latko, Brenda Mendez, Julio Shimund Taku, Perry Tripi, Jr.; Grade 11 – Laura Altieri, Steven Ciravolo, Aleyda Garcia, James Reilly, Jordan Roiland, Paige Tortorice, Grace Williams, Alexandra Wirth; Grade 12 – Patrick Brady, Kashaf Duja, Emma Kongevold, and Haley Tract. Teacher Nominees: K. Goldman, R. Milazzo, D. Rodriguez, Principal John Murphy and Ms. Leah Lugovina. Tri CYA Staff: Christine Corcoran, Ferris Thomas, and Mairaid Kelly.