January 6, 2023 – WPDI is pleased to announce that our leaders spearheading the Domestic Harmonizer Program (DHP) trained and graduated 117 students across 5 different schools in our peer mediation programs this fall. The schools who engaged in the recruitment and training process involved in our peer mediation program include: Stephen White Middle School and STEAM Magnet, Walker Jr. High School, DNA Prep Academy, Lake Center Middle School, and Cresson Elementary School. These schools are located across the Greater Los Angeles Area and in different school districts. Three of these schools, DNA Prep Academy, Lake Center Middle School, and Cresson Elementary School are new partnerships for WPDI.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with such outstanding educators and students this year to empower youth to help resolve interpersonal conflicts on campus using peer mediation,” says DHP Program Director, Monya Kian. “Each and every one of the students we trained at each school site expressed interest and commitment to learning the art and science behind the peer mediation process. These non-perishable skills will enable these students to serve their schools and their own personal lives. They should all be very proud!”
This year marks many firsts for the DHP. For example, this is the first year that the program has trained elementary school students – although our team of experts had previous experience working with this age group. We embarked on this journey with Cresson Elementary School, part of the Little Lake City School District, and we trained 14 students in the 4th and 5th grades over the course of two full school days. The students at Cresson impressed our trainers from the beginning by learning the peer mediation process at lightning speed. “The peer mediation program and guidance provided by the Domestic Harmonizer Program (DHP) has been a great opportunity for students at Cresson to enhance their leadership skills,” states Martha Robles, counselor at Cresson Elementary School. “Our select group of peer mediators have been facilitating conflict mediations for their peers with great confidence. Students express feeling comfortable solving conflicts with these peer mediators. Overall, the positive impact DHP has had on our school culture highlights the importance of this program.”
Also in the Little Lake City School District, we had the pleasure of working with 18 students in the 7th and 8th grades at Lake Center Middle School, who successfully completed the required 12 hours of peer mediation training. These students showed immense maturity, poise, and dedication throughout the training and truly impressed the WPDI team. We are grateful to the school’s counselors and leadership for creating the optimal environment to conduct our training program. “The DHP is an essential tool to have on our campus for our students to have peer mediators,” says Hoda Tanious, one of two school counselors at Lake Center Middle School. “From the very beginning, the training process unlocked even more strengths in our students’ leadership qualities and their own potential growth and implementation of support for their peers.”
WPDI would also like to highlight another new partnership this year, with DNA Prep Academy, which is a school for elite student athletes. Our partnership with DNA Prep Academy marks the DHP’s first private school partnership, and we had the privilege of working with an all-male group of peer mediators in grades 5-8, who completed the peer mediation program with ease and confidence. These students began the program online with WPDI’s trainers, and completed the program with in-person training and practice. These students’ flexibility and enthusiasm for the program is remarkable, and showcases the students’ tenacity. Dr. Linda Jones, Superintendent of DNA Prep Academy offers the following comments: “We are excited about our partnership with the Domestic Harmonizer and its training in restorative practices, that address the social-emotional needs of our students and staff,” she says. “The staff training has brought significant insight into how we present ourselves to students and each other in the areas of communication and empathy. Our students are very excited about the peer mediation program and the opportunity to really make a difference on our campus as peacekeepers.”
Already, many of the counselors and peer mediation school coordinators at these schools have reported that they have put the program to good use with their student trainees having successfully resolved numerous conflicts on campus. These are problems at school that have the potential to escalate to larger problems at schools, but are instead resolved peacefully thanks to the DHP’s peer mediation program. Well done peer mediators!!
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