Peer-To-Peer Decision Training

Publication Type: 
Ali Abbas
Scarlett Herring
Matthew Robbins
Karen Simms
Chris Spetzler
Have you heard about coaching teen mentors to teach decision skills to troubled teens? Well, that is exactly what a group from the University of Illinois (U of I) is doing in collaboration with the Decision Education Foundation (DEF). The program is led by Ali Abbas, associate professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the U of I. Together, they have teamed up with the Peer Ambassadors (PAs) and the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) of Champaign County, IL, to develop a curriculum to teach JDC teens not only what a decision is, but how to align their decisions with their values and identify possibilities and alternatives for each decision they face. The goal is to engage both the PAs and the JDC residents in decision making using socially relevant methods. The Peer Ambassadors Program, led by Karen Simms, is a youth leadership and social intervention initiative program designed to empower and educate African American youth in Champaign County, IL. Funded by the Champaign County Mental Health Board, the PA program’s primary mission is to develop young leaders who are able and willing to mentor their peers who are at-risk for school failure or have had some involvement in the juvenile justice or mental health systems.