REGGIE LEWIS PEER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
The Reggie Lewis Peer Leadership Program is a program about positive young people going out into the community and educating other young people on STDs, HIV/AIDS, Homophobia,Tobacco, Birth Control, and Violence Prevention. The Program is operated out of Dimock Community Health Center's Teen Center. The Program's mission is to bring youths to the Teen Center to become positive young adults through healthy lifestyles and educational workshops.
The Reggie Lewis Peer Leaders are usually high school teens who work out of Dimock and promote education for healthy living. There are anywhere from six to twelve peers working at the Teen Center. There are a number of events that the peers sponsor or participate in, most of which are facilitated and operated by them with the aid of Darren Clark, the director of the program and the Program Coordinator. There is an annual Teen Health Jam that the peers put on in the Teen Center. Other members of peer programs come and set up tables to share information on a number of issues that effect the youth in the community. There is entertainment, prizes, and games. It's an afternoon of fun and learning.
The Reggie Lewis Peer Leadership Program also sponsors a 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament that takes place in nearby Marcella Park, where participants play basketball on opposing teams. This activity promotes team work and overall unity not only in the Peer Program but also in the neighboring community of Roxbury. The Peer Leaders participate in theatre at Dimock and put on at least two major productions annually. Teen Night at Dimock, usually on Friday nights, allow the teens in the community to come together and discuss prevalent issues, watch movies, and spend time together, and out of trouble.
The Reggie Lewis Peer Program has come a long way since it's inception in 1989. It began as an in house or program for kids to learn about HIV/AIDS and other educational and preventive means. But bow the program has expanded to putting on theatre productions, and sponsoring community events. The range if topics covered in the program has also expanded to tobacco, substance abuse, and homophobia. The Program has also been able to attract more youth along the way, ten years ago the center brought in about 800 youths annually, now the center is bringing in about 5,000.
"The significance of the Reggie Lewis Peer Leadership Program is that it takes young inner city youth and directs them in a positive direction to know that they have the opportunity to go out and do great things if they just show the initiative."
"I was a Reggie Peer 2 years ago and looking back now it was the most rewarding thing I'd ever done. I came out of there learning a lot about myself and my capabilities. They teach you what you need to know, and when you're filled up with all that information, they say, "Take it, use it, and run with it, but don't let it go." And I haven't let it go. The skills I've attained through my work with the Teen Center will always remain with me and continues to help me grow and learn. And you don't have to stay there forever for the impact to set in. Some stay two months or two years. I stayed for ten months. I regret nothing, I cherish everything, and I'd never give that time up for anything. "
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