Natural Helpers Program returns to Cheyenne River
“Natural Helpers is a really good program,” said LeNae, Outreach Coordinator at Cheyenne River Indian Outreach. “I am really excited to partner with the school district to provide this resource to high school students in our community.”
The program is based on a simple premise: within every school, an informal “helping network” exists.
Students facing issues naturally seek out other students and adults they trust. Natural Helpers makes use of this existing network and provides training to students and adults who are already serving as informal helpers. Special training for the group focuses on skills like listening, identifying a crisis and reading body language, which helps participants more effectively provide assistance and know when more help is needed.
Natural Helpers uses a school-wide survey to identify the naturally existing network. LeNae and Bree, who coordinate and facilitate outreach programming in communities across the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, including Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School, were a great fit to be advisors.
“We travel to communities and provide education on suicide prevention, dating violence, addiction and more,” said LeNae. “The training program for Natural Helpers includes education on helping someone who is having problems, but also identifying resources for more help. Our main messages go hand in hand.”
As advisors to the group, Bree and LeNae helped facilitate the annual retreat, when most of the training takes place.
“It was a great weekend,” said Bree. “We role played a variety of scenarios to help the students get comfortable using their listening and helping skills. There were a lot of team building activities throughout the training, because Natural Helpers is also a support group for the students involved.”
“It’s hard, emotional work,” said LeNae. “A lot is expected of these kids, but the time is also filled with laughter, bonding and building new friendships. Everyone leaves with great memories. Outreach is so thankful to be part of Natural Helpers!”
Your support allows Cheyenne River Indian Outreach staff the opportunity to work alongside others to make a positive difference in their communities. Thank you!