At one high school, peer mentoring with special needs students isn’t just helping them, it is profoundly affecting the teen volunteer mentors as well.

Soft SkillsAt Seymour High School, special education life skills teacher Jill Halterman decided to encourage peer mentoring when she saw how much nine student volunteers who visited her room loved it.

“I tried to plant some seeds with them and their friends to get more of them to come into the room and spend some time with us because those nine loved it,” Halterman said.

At present, 33 students play games, read, dance, sing, and become friends with classmates who have moderate to severe disabilities during their regularly scheduled study hall period.

“This is where they want to be,” Halterman said.

There are 12 special needs students in the room.  Some are in wheelchairs, and many cannot speak.  However the mentors form positive relationships with them and help them feel accepted at school.

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