Peer Mentoring & Support Program

Designed for and by First-Generation and Low-Income (FGLI) College Students

Empower students from diverse backgrounds to improve the well-being and mental health of their campus and community 

Calm Clarity is currently collaborating with a group of student leaders at Drexel University and with Drexel University Active Minds to build and pilot a new Peer Mentoring and Support Program to improve well-being and mental health among college students who may feel a lower sense of belonging and/or a sense of marginalization on campus. Priority groups we serve include: first-generation college students, students from low-income communities, BIPOC students, and Dreamers. 

We are training college students from diverse backgrounds to serve as Peer Mentors who facilitate Peer Support Group Sessions that provide a safe space where college students can give and receive support from their peers and build skills to manage stress and anxiety and improve their well-being and mental health. The techniques that they learn and share are from our online course: "A Mind-hacker's Toolkit to Calm Anxiety10 Science-Based Techniques to Soothe an Anxious Brain" and companion facilitation guide.  

After the training, Peer Mentors have the option of working with a team of volunteer coaches to receive pro-bono one-on-one coaching to further develop their personal leadership strengths and facilitation skills.

We hope to offer the Peer Mentor Training and Peer Support Program to more colleges and universities, as well as other institutions and organizations in the near future. 

Key Issues Facing First-Generation Low-Income (FGLI) College Students

Out of 100 Philadelphia high school students: 24 enroll in college; six out of ten, or 14 drop out of college, with debt, but no degree; only 10% or 10 of these students earn a college degree.

 

This means that of those who make it to college, more than half will not graduate.[3]

2. High barriers to college  graduation

1. High barriers to college graduation

Out of 100 Philadelphia high school students: 24 enroll in college; six out of ten, or 14 drop out of college, with debt, but no degree; only 10% or 10 of these students earn a college degree.

 

This means that of those who make it to college, more than half will not graduate.[1]

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2. Unmet mental health needs

Mental health is a leading cause of high drop-out rates among college students.
 

64% of young adults no longer attend college because of mental health related reasons. 

Among these students, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are primary diagnoses. [2]

FGLI college students report lower ratings of belonging, greater levels of depression and stress, and lower use of services, compared to continuing-generation students.

FGLI students often experience culture shock on campus, yet do not have the social support, mentorship, and toolkit of skills needed to navigate the challenging transition.[3]

For a personal account of challenges that many FGLI students face, read Due’s article “Poor and Traumatized at Harvard” and her book Calm Clarity.

Sources 

  1. Philadelphia Public School Notebook, “New data: only 10% of  Philly students earn a degree,” 2010.

  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness, “College Students Speak: A Survey on Mental Health,” 2012

  3. Michael Stebleton,  “First-Generation Students’ Sense of Belonging, Mental Health, and Use  of Counseling Services at Public Research Universities,” 2014; The Hamilton Project (Thirteen Economic Facts about  Social Mobility and the Role of Education, June 2013).

We collaborate with and support FGLI students to advocate for, build, and lead peer support programs on their campus

The Peer Mentoring and Support Program is a collaborative platform that enables college students to:

  • boost well-being by sharing science-based insights, tools, and techniques to reduce anxiety

  • design and build inclusive student-centered initiatives 

  • normalize and destigmatize conversations around mental health

  • develop leadership skills to make a difference

The Peer Mentors also find a sense of purpose from being able to: 

  • harness their creativity and talents to address a challenge that affects them and their peers

  • gain valuable experience and skills for personal and professional development

  • help others and leave a legacy that benefits future students.

Program Model

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  • Calm Clarity empowers a student leader who is passionate about improving well-being by awarding them a Calm Clarity Fellowship.
     

    • In addition to training and coaching, the Fellowship provides a modest monthly stipend to make it easier for the Fellow to invest time, energy, and passion into building a Peer Mentoring & Support Program on their campus.   
       

  • Calm Clarity supports the Fellow to recruit and build a team of student leaders to serve as Peer Mentors. Calm Clarity provides the team with training and coaching to facilitate peer support sessions and share our Mind-hacker's Toolkit to Calm Anxiety.
     

  • As the Peer Mentors build their facilitation, communication, and social support skills, they gain confidence in their leadership and advocacy abilities and see firsthand how their voice matters and how their words and actions make a difference.
     

  • We also nurture the student leaders to use their voice and creativity to research, ideate, and build new student-centered and/or community-centered initiatives to improve well-being and mental health.

Testimonials

"Thanks to Calm Clarity and the Mind-Hacker's Toolkit to Calm Anxiety course, I have been able to manage my stress better. It has made my life better and I have learned to let go of what was not under my control."

~Yeno Gbenou 
Fellow & Peer Mentor
at Drexel University

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"This time is really stressful for everyone and it's important to know how to manage anxiety because not everyone can afford professional help."

~Nathalie Dao
Peer Mentor
at Drexel University

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Volunteer

There are many ways to give. Contributing your time and skills will help us make a much larger impact in under-served communities. 

 

College Students

Are you a college student or graduate student? Are you the first-generation in your family to graduate from college? Would you like to improve mental health and well-being among your loved ones, classmates, and community? 
 
If you are a student at Drexel University: 
sign up here to become trained to be a Peer Mentor

Professionals & Coaches

To provide in-kind services, please fill out this form to let us know your location, availability, and how you would like to get involved.

If you are an ICF-certified coach, please indicate in the volunteer form whether you would like to volunteer to coach a Peer Mentor as part of our coaching pilot 

Bring Calm Clarity to your school

Please contact us at info@calmclarity.org to discuss how to create impact together

What a Calm Clarity Training Could Look Like