Christopher O'Neil Peer Education Program
The Christopher O’Neil Peer Education Program is a health education program where selected high school students present a variety of health lessons to younger students. The program is supported in 11 independent schools in the Baltimore metropolitan area through a foundation created by Pam and Tom O’Neil in memory of their son, Christopher, who was killed in 1992 at the age of 17 in an automobile accident involving a teenage drunk driver. The goal of the program is to educate students about a range of topics aimed at physical and emotional well-being.
The program seeks to promote healthy decisions by addressing the attitudes that often lead to unhealthy risks. The intent of the program is not to prescribe specific behaviors, but rather to encourage critical thinking and discussion among our students. The lessons challenge the attitudes that may result in risky decisions/behaviors and promote a consideration of the potential consequences and alternatives. In addition, the presence of peers as teachers provides a model of how to have constructive and thoughtful discussions on a variety of topics.
The faculty members of the program select the peer educators. The goal is to create a team with a range of individual talents, interests, and abilities. It is not the program’s intent to assemble a team of straight-A students. Rather, the aim is to select students who represent all of the different subgroups in the school.
Each member school is provided the flexibility to tailor the program to its student population and needs. The schools do communicate and share ideas with regards to structure, training, curriculum, and implementation.
Member schools can access information regarding other schools’ programs. You will need a password to access the schools' lesson plans and training activities.
Interested schools can access contact information at any other member schools as well as the sponsors of the program, Tom and Pam O’Neil.
In addition, there is a brief history of the program in Baltimore area independent schools and testimonials from some of the schools regarding the benefits of the program to the students and the school.
The Resources page contains links to other related sites.
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