Starting high school can be scary. To help students adjust, a program called Link Crew at all 22 high schools in Eastern Ontario’s Upper Canada District School Board pairs every incoming Grade 9 student with a Grade 12 student mentor.
The goal of the program is to combat bullying by offering new students friendship and guidance, and a chance to call attention to problems that may otherwise go unnoticed. So far, the results have been impressive, with students making a more comfortable transition into high school and being better able to focus on academics.
At the school where the program was piloted, 99 percent of Grade 9 students now complete the credits they need to be on track to graduate. Similar peer-support programs will soon roll out across the country. This year the federal government announced $250,000 in Red Cross funding to train 2,400 young people, ages 13–17, to deliver anti-bullying workshops and take action against bullying in their communities.
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