One of the most influential and interesting clubs at Garnet Valley High School is Peer Counselors, a student-driven service group comprised of thirty-five to forty members. Advised by Mr. Longo, who has been managing the group for twelve years, the club meets twice each month on A days in Mr. Longo’s room, A-130. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors involved in Peer Counselors are very passionate about assisting and providing guidance to other students in the Garnet Valley School District. Not only does Peer Counselors mentor numerous individuals from Garnet Valley Middle School, Garnet Valley Elementary School, Garnet Valley High School, Concord Elementary School, and Bethel Springs Elementary School, but the club also regularly works in conjunction with other organizations at the high school such as Aevidum, Get Fit/Get Connected, Speak Up, Peer Pals, and TOPS Soccer Program.
Out of the copious activities in which Peer Counselors operates, one of most popular- and most fulfilling- is the well known holiday present drive, Gifts for Garnet Valley. This community outreach drive occurs during the months of November and December and is designed to provide presents for less fortunate children throughout the district and county. Once donations have been collected from classes and faculty at the high school, the members of Peer Counselors work together to buy the presents requested by the “adopted”, needy children and families throughout Delaware County. Gifts for Garnet Valley is an extremely benevolent program that provides assistance for unfortunate individuals and families who are struggling in various ways; the dedication of Peer Counselors, Hearts to Home, and the Garnet Valley School District to these organizations is extraordinary, enabling the programs to be very successful each year.
The opportunity for students and faculty at Garnet Valley High School to become involved in a charitable club like Peer Counselors is meaningful and worthwhile, as the club affirms the belief of helping those in need in and beyond the Garnet Valley community. Students and faculty who are interested in this club and would like to receive further detail can contact Peer Counselor Advisors Mike Longo and Jen Kapanjie or any student currently a part of Peer Counselors.
About ten years ago, the Garnet Valley High School Peer Counselors club partnered with City Team Ministries in Chester, Pennsylvania, to establish a new service project designed as a community outreach program. The objective of this project, Gifts for Garnet Valley, revolves around purchasing toys and presents for families and children in need, and Peer Counselors has strived each year to make those in the Garnet Valley School District a part of the process. The Peer Counselors club is in charge of buying the actual gifts for the many underprivileged families and children, and the teachers at Garnet Valley collect money from students and faculty for the generous cause as well as make their own donations.
This past year, during the program’s duration from November 27th to December 12th, a class could purchase and supply Peer Counselors with donations by collecting sixty dollars for one child and one hundred twenty dollars for two children. Once the students and administration at Garnet Valley had gathered enough money to support fifty children for Gifts for Garnet Valley, the members of Peer Counselors were sent a list of children by City Team with their names, ages, and desired presents from which Peer Counselors can utilize while purchasing gifts. In addition to the collected money contributing to the Gifts for Garnet Valley program, a portion of the donations was provided to the well known district outreach program called Hearts to Home, an initiative run by Sue Baumes (Concord Elementary nurse) and Kristen Smeins (school district social worker) which provides assistance and support to families in need throughout the district. The 2017 Gifts for Garnet Valley program was a great success, and both Peer Counselors as well as the other organizations that contribute are grateful for Garnet Valley School District’s involvement in the project and are looking forward to an effective year ahead.