Peer Mentors Build Community, Leadership Skills this Summer

GEAR UP Peer Mentors in August took part in an empowerment academy that included team-building exercises, moments of self-reflection and activities that emotionally connected students with their values – all designed to develop their confidence as leaders and belief in their own abilities.

The program was held at UCLA and facilitated by Seeds Training, which uses brain-based learning and social-emotional development to build life and leadership skills in students.

“Sessions like this are important because I know there are some who are afraid to get out of their comfort zone and meet new people. With the programs we do, the activities, we get to grow as a person.”

Andrea Mejia, 11th grade, Belmont High School junior

Over two days, students explored strategies on how to overcome the fear of image (FIMAGE), which stops them from trying new things, and learned to build community among each other by engaging in meaningful dialogue. Students also worked in teams to create a 6×9 grid and, in silence, help each other cross the finish line, inspiring them to stay motivated and learn from mistakes.

Students left the program empowered to develop their voices as leaders and build self-confidence while learning the skills necessary for personal and academic success, including time management, goal setting, decision-making and teamwork.

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