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The peer assistance and leadership PAL[R] program.

The Peer Assistance and Leadership PAL[R] program is a department within the Workers Assistance Program, Inc. located in Austin, Texas. At the agency level the PAL[R] program provides training to teachers and/or sponsors who are implementing a PAL[R] program in their school or community. The PAL[R] staff also provides training for students or participants in local PAL[R] programs. Technical assistance and support are also provided throughout the year for new as well as existing programs who are implementing the PAL[R] program. These services are available all throughout Texas and PAL[R] programs are currently in twelve additional states.

At the school or community level, the teachers or sponsors provide training to students or participants for a specified amount of time. After that initial training period the teachers or sponsors oversee and support activities provided by students such as, but not limited to peer mentoring peer mediation, community service learning projects, and alcohol and drug presentations. The PAL[R] programs are generally on school campuses and are offered as a class during the day. However, there are some PAL[R] programs that are after school and are held in community centers or faith based entities that implement the PAL[R] program as a "club."

When young people are given the opportunity, knowledge, and skills to help their peers, they have an impact not only on those peers but for themselves as well. This impact is the underlying rationale for the PAL[R] program. In a time when youth are faced with constant decisions and challenges, the PAL[R] program can assist the students by reducing the risk they face and enhancing the protective factors that empower them to make their own decisions.

In a longitudinal study conducted on PAL[R] program participants, several of the findings from pre-program/ post-program tests show that PAL[R] participants have lowered the use of inhalants and speed, decreased drug and alcohol problems in the family, had greater family cohesion, had an increase in thinking before acting, and tried to succeed in school more often. Compared to groups that were not involved in the PAL[R] program, participants have better communication with their parents, fewer incidents involving weapons, and more appropriate responses to peers.

A. Philosophy

Research shows that factors--known as protective factors or developmental assets--assist a young person to succeed, or to be resilient, in spite of many other factors that put him/her at risk. Among these factors are opportunities to get involved, skill development, and recognition for successes (Hawkins and Catalano 1992); affiliation with friends who do not use drugs; academic success; a sense of being needed, useful, and bonded within both the school and society beyond school (McIntyre, White, Yoast, 1989); and social competence, problem-solving skills, autonomy, and a sense of purpose (Benard, 1995).

The Search Institute has demonstrated that the greater number of assets a young person has, the more likely he/she is to succeed in school, value diversity, maintain good health, and delay gratification; and the less likely he/she is to engage in problem alcohol use, illicit drug use, sexual activity, and violence (1997).

The implication of all of this research is that building upon strengths and eliminating risk factors are equally important in reducing a young person's high-risk behavior and increasing his/her positive attitudes and behaviors. Among the ways a school can accomplish this is to develop asset-building programs and activities such as peer helping and mentoring (Roehlkepartain and Draayer, 1995). PAL[R] program recognizes an innate capacity for social understanding, personal well being, and community participation within every person. Its purpose is to awaken and nurture these capacities and utilize them to help youth develop their potential to achieve school and social successes that lead to a productive life. These successes are achieved by creating environments in which youth participate in productive pursuits with peers, turning the notion of peer pressure around so that the influence they have on others is positive, and they can make a difference in the lives of others. In other words, the program hypothesizes that by equipping youth with appropriate knowledge and skills, that allow them to realize their potential in positive, constructive relationships with peers, they will spend more time living safe, healthy, caring lives, and less time getting involved in dangerous activities such as substance use. (Benard, 1997)

One long range goal for the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program is the reduction of use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. This is achieved by increasing the protective factors or developmental assets that help young people achieve school and social success, thereby reducing factors that put youth at high risk of using alcohol and other drugs. Observable outcomes achieved by both PAL[R]s and PAL[R]ees as a result of participating in the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program include improvements in school attendance and grades, reductions of failure and discipline referrals, and increased performance on standardized tests. The PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program also strives to positively impact the family and school community through positive changes in academic performance, school attendance, classroom behavior, attitude towards school, responsibility, communication skills, and behaviors at home. The research study measures changes in these behaviors as reported by parents, faculty, and administrators.

B .Needs Assessment

In 1980, the PAL- Peer Assistance and Leadership[R] (PAL[R]) program was initiated at a high school in Austin, Texas, as a pilot program on the heels of the rapidly developing peer helping movement. The school was looking for some assistance in addressing a rash of suicides, increasing truancy, and substance abuse.

The PAL[R] program was developed to address these issues specifically after research into peer based programs was conducted. Based on the premise that young people would rather talk to a peer about their problems than with adults or authority figures, carefully selected students were trained in communication and leadership skills to assist other students through the tough situations encountered daily. The program was so successful that the Austin Independent School District (AISD) expanded the program to eventually include every high school campus and several middle school campuses within the district. In 1987, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) approved funding for the Peer Assistance Network of Texas (PAN-Texas), an organization which provided training, curriculum development, annual conferences, and technical assistance to replicate the PAL[R] peer helping model in Texas. In 1989, the Workers Assistance Program, Inc., to provide oversight and to facilitate the inevitable growth that the program would experience while maintaining its integrity, acquired the PAN-Texas program. In 1994, the PAN-Texas received the Exemplary Program Award from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Eventually, PAN-Texas changed its name to PAL[R] Services to reflect the unprecedented growth that had been occurring beyond the borders of Texas. Today, the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program has spread to over 400 schools in Texas and 12 other states. The PAL[R] program adheres to the Statement of Ethics and Standards of the National Peer Helpers Association, which promulgates on a national level the characteristics of quality programs and also provides a code of ethics for both peer helpers and for peer helping professionals.

Today, PAL[R] curriculums are implemented into schools who have completed local school needs assessments. Implemented campus' plan based on the results of those assessments. The schools look at their needs and determine which programs they want to implement. Schools have chosen the PAL[R] program to address different needs such as truancy, increase in substance use, need to increase academic test scores in the school to name a few. Some schools and community-based programs receive federal, state or local dollars to conduct needs assessments and implement programs. They are generally looking to address one specific need like reducing substance abuse or violence. In many of those cases they must use a federally approved science based curriculum. Since PAL[R] is currently a CSAP Promising Program, the programs are able to compare their needs to what has been researched and found to be effective.

A report card with the results of the last in depth evaluation is available to entities that have needs and are looking for programs to implement. The report card gives an overview of the results of schools who have used the PAL[R] program. It also has the outcomes of students who have participated in the programs versus those who have not. Administrators, board members and other school staff are usually interested in this information before they implement a program. Additional information that is available in communities are already existing PAL[R] programs. In Texas, schools recommend other schools on which programs to implement. There is additional information on our agency website about the program including a link to peer programming with the National Association of Peer Program Professionals.

A statewide in-school survey is conducted every two years for schools in Texas. This survey looks specifically at the substance use patterns of students in grades 7-12. Individual schools can receive not only statewide information on this topic but also statistics on their individual school. If a school was not involved in the survey they can request the survey instrument and administer it to their student body. Data is also available through the regional educational system of Education Service Centers. These centers oversee Drug Free and Community Schools monies and have access to substance use data that can be provided to the schools. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance periodically which includes information on substance use, suicide attempts, violence, and sexual activity. While it does not survey every school in the country, it provides information about youth in the country that can be reviewed and used on a local level to start discussions about concerns or needs in a school and community.

There are several ways that representatives of the target population and other stakeholders are involved in program planning. At the agency level, Master PAL[R] teachers are utilized to provide input into curriculum, training, and related events. PAL[R] alumni also provide feedback on program planning.

At the local level, it is recommended that each school form a PAL[R] Advisory Committee (PAC) consisting of a carefully selected group of six to eight peer helping advocates from the school and community. The PAC's responsibilities include helping to compose program guidelines, to decide what peer helping initiatives PAL[R]s will focus on, provide program planning and to secure funding.

C. Population(s) Served.

The target population is two-fold: the students selected and trained to serve as peer helpers (PAL[R]s) and the students with whom they work (PAL[R]ees). The PAL[R] curriculum was initially developed for high school juniors, seniors, and the teachers responsible for the programs. A middle school curriculum was developed and implemented in 1993. With the addition of the elementary curriculum in 1999, the target population has expanded down to elementary grades. Formal research was conducted by Research and Educational Services in 1996-1997 to evaluate the effectiveness of the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program for middle school and high school programs.

All PAL[R] programs include a rigorous process for the recruitment and selection of their PAL[R]s. This process includes procedures for applications, nominations, recommendations, orientations, and interviews. In all cases, the process requires the selection of a cross-section of the school population with regard to ethnicity, gender, race, and socioeconomic background. To ensure diversity, it is recommended that 20% of the PAL[R]s be identified as "at-risk." PAL[R]ees are referred to and/or sought out by the program teacher or sponsor. There is generally a formal process for this referral through counselors, teachers, or other school entities. Additionally, PAL[R]s may recommend to the teacher or sponsor a need that can be addressed by the program participants.

In schools, participants are retained through similar methods of other classroom efforts, such as grading and follow up on absences. Incentives for PAL[R]s to participate in the program include the provision for juniors and seniors to receive elective credit toward high school graduation in Texas, recognition as a campus leader and role model, and annual youth conferences. In addition, peers in the program both in the school setting and "club" setting have a greater influence over encouraging peer participation. A peer confronting another peer about participation increases results.

Each trained PAL[R] teacher or sponsor is provided with a grade-level appropriate PAL[R] Teacher Manual. The manual contains a Texas Education Agency-approved curriculum that serves as a roadmap for the teacher or sponsor during the training portion of the course--the first four to six weeks--when he/she guides the PALs through the following ten curriculum modules:

[] program orientation

[] group dynamics

[] self awareness

[] communication & facilitation skills

[] decision-making/problem-solving

[] knowledge of referral resources

[] drug prevention

[] community service

[] understanding behavior

[] cultural diversity

D. Goals and Objectives

The mission of Workers Assistance Program, Inc. is to "Create better schools and communities". With this mission, the PAL[R] program seeks to help youth both in and out of school which in turn will help build stronger communities.

The specific mission of the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program is to utilize the potential of young people who have the ability to make a difference in their schools and communities. In this effort, PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership and WAP Inc. staff provide continual training of new students and adults for improvement and enhancement of existing programs to meet community needs. Staff informs educators of latest developments in the field, ensuring adherence to programmatic standards, continually adding components such as suicide prevention education, improving communication skills, violence prevention, conflict resolution, and substance abuse prevention.

There are several levels of goals and objectives for the PAL[R] program. At the agency level, the global goals are to build peer helping programs by providing training, networking opportunities, and technical assistance to create exemplary PAL[R] programs. More importantly, PAL[R] strives to consistently replicate a proven model of peer leadership through all established programs.

In order to accomplish these goals the agency intends to train at least 25 adults per year who will in turn implement the peer helping program in their setting. Additionally, the agency intends to train at least 600 youth who are in existing PAL[R] programs and to continually provide 325 technical assistance activities. Technical assistance is provided through site visits, mail, telephone, fax, e-mail and training follow-ups. As part of the yearly evaluation of existing programs, PAL[R] disseminates an implementation questionnaire and an annual survey of the existing programs.

The Program Objectives when implemented in schools or other settings are: Long Term:

Reduce the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs Short Term:

Individual and School Domains: Improvements in school attendance and grades, reduction of discipline referrals, increases in performance on standardized tests, and improved attitudes toward school.

Family Domain: Improvements in responsibility, future planning, and behaviors at home.

Each individual program is encouraged to set their own goals and objectives as well. These revolve around activities provided by the participating PAL[R]s and may include: number of peers seen, number of community service projects completed, and number of presentations completed.

Programs also provide information on their annual survey that addresses the long and short term objectives outlined above.

E. Activities and Strategies.

There are two ways of implementing the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership programs: those structured as classes in which selected PAL[R]s enroll and meet in classrooms during regular school hours (and for which juniors and seniors may receive up to two years of elective credit toward graduation in Texas), and those structured as clubs in which PAL[R]s meet on campus before or after school, during lunch, or at alternative sites off campus. Virtually, all high school programs are structured as classes and have an average of 20 PAL[R]s while roughly half of the middle school programs are classes and half are clubs, averaging 15 PAL[R]s per program. All elementary school programs operate as clubs and have an average of 10 PAL[R]s. Programs structured as classes meet as often as any other class, two to five times per week for 45 to 90 minutes, depending upon scheduling constraints, for an entire school year. However there are programs established in schools with an accelerated block schedule, in which course objectives are accomplished in one semester. Programs structured as clubs meet two to eight times a month for an entire school year.

During the first four to six weeks, or 20 to 30 hours of the course, the PAL[R] teacher or sponsor administers curriculum modules to the PAL[R]s. This utilizes the strategies of information dissemination, prevention education, and skill building that can be used with both the universal and selective populations. Upon completion of this training, PAL[R]s spend most of the remainder of the year's meeting times "in the field." One-on-one peer helping and/or mentoring comprises a large portion of this field experience. The notion of "meeting" takes on another meaning: the one-on-one peer helping and/or mentoring is between a PAL[R] and a PAL[R]ee, and the meetings between these two occur two to eight times per month on the home campus of the PAL[R]ee. While many programs engage in on-campus peer helping, other programs focus their efforts on community service-learning, cross-age mentoring, tutoring, new student transition programs, mediation, and other community-oriented initiatives.

PAL[R] is an experiential learning course. Each curriculum module in the PAL[R] Teacher Manual contains a list of objectives, along with a series of activities that facilitate the realization of these objectives. PAL[R] teachers introduce new topics with individual or group activities and follow these activities with structured conversationism called "processing," intended to help PAL[R]s learn as much as possible from the activities and their helping roles. Processing is where most of the learning and social development takes place, therefore, taking nearly twice as long as the activity itself. This sequence of activity followed by processing is repeated throughout the course. There is little didactic instruction. A copy of the PAL[R] Student Handbook is given to each PAL[R] and includes activities, worksheets, readings, and journals that supplement the PAL[R] Teacher Manual. In addition, PAL[R] teachers and students have available to them a 14-minute informational video designed to familiarize educators, students, and families to the PAL[R] peer helping program.

As a supplement to the training the PAL[R] teachers provide the PAL[R]s opportunities throughout the summer and fall months for PAL[R]s to attend a one-day training provided by PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership staff. With groups of PAL[R]s from several schools at each of these trainings, the goal is not only to orient the students to the positive messages of the PAL[R] program but also to facilitate inter- and intra-school bonding. PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership also sponsors two annual PAL[R] youth conferences (one for middle school, one for high school) intended to give PAL[R]s in the program an opportunity to network with PAL[R]s from around the state, learn new skills by working in small groups, attending workshops related to peer helping and other prevention strategies.

Some features that distinguish the PAL[R] curriculum and training from other similar programs is that it is designed to meet the programmatic standards and ethics for effective peer programs as set by the National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP). It is understood from the NAPPP that there are few peer helping programs that have the structured curriculum, training, and implementation process as the PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership program. This has led the NAPPP to an agreement with the PAL[R] program at the agency level to adopt PAL[R] as one of the first federally approved curriculums to be taught throughout the country with the NAPPP system.

Another feature that distinguishes the program is that it sets up core participants who can be taught to implement other federally approved curricula such as Protecting You/Protecting Me and Peers Making Peace in their settings. The PAL[R] program prepares the youth in their leadership skills to be successful in providing presentations and peer mediation.

As mentioned, the PAL[R] program is not only used in school settings but is used in community settings, such as faith based programs. All parts can be replicated and the teacher and student manuals can be used effectively with sponsors and participants of non-schools based programs. While these other settings have not been evaluated on their implementation of the program, PAL[R] continually fulfills requests for training of non-school programs. PAL[R] has recently been of interest in implementing the program into a residential juvenile justice setting. Non-school settings adapt the retention strategies. Schools participants do receive grades, which does not apply to the non-school setting, so an additional reward or acknowledgement system should be implanted.

At the agency level, there is staff that provide training to both the adults and youth. In addition to the staff, there are 11 additional approved trainers permitted to provide training. Five of these are from the National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP) and two are from the Orange County School District in California, who was the original holder of the copyright of the PAL[R] name and three were Master PAL[R] teachers. Master PAL[R] teachers have implemented the PAL[R] program for at least five years, followed the curriculum closely to ensure fidelity, and offered technical assistance to other PAL[R] teachers and sponsors. One former agency employee is also approved to train others in the PAL[R] curriculum.

F. Evaluation

Each year the PAL[R] program implements an evaluation that looks at training outcomes and program implementation. In addition, there have been two in-depth evaluations of the program. One was conducted during the 1996-1997 school year and a second one was over an eighteen-month period that began in September 1998 and concluded in June 2000.

The yearly evaluation of the Peer Assistance and Leadership[R] statewide training initiative is completed by inspection of four sets of data collected from participants involved in the training process.

The four sets of data are a). Participation information related to demographic and ethnographic make-up of the participants b). Participant rating of the training process as reported on the post-training survey forms c). Post-test scores that were related to knowledge of the content delivered during the training itself d). Follow-up survey to determine the application of the PAL[R] information in the participant workplace

The evaluation allows for inspection of the participant perception and value of the different components delivered in the training. This ensures that the training meets the needs and expectations of those being trained and that subject and skill content intended to be delivered in the training was retained and utilized by the participants.

In the last year, there were 167 participants in ten training events. The area of knowledge gain or retention of the material delivered demonstrated significant difference between pre- and post-test scores. An analysis of variance was used for inspecting the pre- and post-test scores. There was also a demonstration that all aspects of the training were acceptable and met expectations of the participants.

The evaluation was conducted during the 1996-1997 school year by an independent entity to gather data and outcomes in three areas: academic performance in school and on standardized tests, classroom attendance and behavior, and the perception of parents and school administrators on program effectiveness. School records and standardized test scores were used to determine academic performance, attendance, and behavior while parent and school administrator surveys were used to gauge perceived effectiveness of the PAL[R] program.

The chosen sample included 31 schools assembled from 6 Texas school districts that reflect diversity in geographic location, district size, and ethnic background. 26 schools participated with a total of 446 students. 71 percent were high schools, 11 percent were junior high/middle schools, and 18 percent were elementary schools. 53 percent of the sample was Hispanic, 30 percent was White, 14 percent was African American, and 1 percent was Asian. 48 faculty and administrators participated in the study as well as 302 parents.

The study was quasi-experimental with no control or comparison group. Comparison was accomplished by utilizing pre- and post- treatment data.

Findings From Outcome Evaluation Study Academic Year 1996-1997

Pre-program overall GPA was 83.1 percent; post program overall GPA was 87.7 percent.

Pre-program percent of students passing Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS): Math 50.1, Reading 69.2, Writing 71.7.

Post-program percent of students passing Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS); Math 66.1 Reading 82.5, Writing 81.6.

Pre-program student absences: 7.9; post-program student absences 3.3.

Pre-program student disciplinary referrals: 1.3; post program disciplinary referrals .35.

PAL[R] and PAL[R]ee Parents overwhelmingly felt that PAL[R] made a positive impact on behavior at home and attitude toward school.

The second in depth research study was conducted over a twenty one-month period. The study was conducted to identify differences in behavior and attitude that take place as a result of a student's association with the PAL[R] program. Longitudinal studies were required to observe retained effects over an extended period of time. Instruments developed in previous PAL[R] evaluation efforts, and nationally recognized instruments were used to complete the process of examining outcomes associated with participation. Identification of changes that are generated through association with the PAL[R] program was accomplished by utilizing data associated with behavior, school performance, attitude, bonding, substance use and prevalence, and indicators related to a number of other risk and protective factors.

The study consisted of a longitudinal repeated measures design that tracked both PAL[R] and numerous comparison groups across 18 months and 3 independent measures. The study was geographically and ethnically diverse. Analysis of the response patterns on data collection instruments was completed using Analysis of Variance to determine if differences exist between groups. Analysis was completed pre- to post-program participation and pre- and post- PAL[R] vs. the compared groups.

In this study the primary changes that were identified were associated with risk and protective factors. Results indicate that changes are generated by PAL[R] and persevere beyond the program. The risk and protective factors associated with the domains of family and school appear to be most often altered by program participation. There appears to be an increase in several factors associated with school bonding. The increase in school bonding produces significant relationships with adults and peers and enhances the students self esteem and self-efficacy through a program designed for success. One of the strongest risk factors addressed is academic failure. The PAL[R] program gives support and skills for success in the school environment to minimize academic failure.

G. Program Management

At the Agency level, PAL[R] is one department of four in the Behavioral Training Division of Workers Assistance Program. The Director of the Coordinated Training Services Division directly manages CTS and PAL[R]. There are two other full time staff members that work directly in the program. These key individuals are the PAL[R] Training Director, Tory Gant and the PAL[R] Training Manager, Daina Huntington.

The Director of CTS and PAL[R] is Samantha Thompson. She oversees all aspects of the implementation of the program. This includes but is not limited to working on budgets, acting as liaison with outside agencies, securing funding, ensuring compliance and managing personnel. Samantha Thompson is a graduate of the University of South Florida and has also attended Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. Her unique childhood experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia, as well as her multicultural background, have instilled in her a deep appreciation for cultural diversity as well as a heightened awareness of racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. Samantha has a passion for learning and a genuine enthusiasm for connecting with others. Her interests are varied and range from cancer biology and environmental public health to the learning sciences, including Educational Psychology, knowledge translation and information design. She is a member of the e-Learning Guild and the Colorado Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute, and spends her free time practicing Thai with her mom, and enjoying the company of her musician husband and sweet daughter, Lulu Pearl. Samantha is dedicated to WAP's mission of creating better schools, workplaces, and communities, and she loves to help any way that she can.

PAL[R] Training Director is Tory Gant. He provides training to adults and students. His job also includes recruiting, training, and coordinating adjunct trainers such as Master PAL[R] teachers, PAL[R] alumni, etc for training support. He is also responsible for marketing the PAL[R] program. Tory comes to the Workers Assistance Program, Inc. with an extensive background in youth development and peer mediation. Tory's educational background comes from extensive study in psychology at Lubbock Christian University and his training as an ordained minister. As a youth director, Tory spent seven years doing outreach on the streets of the Austin, Texas area where he accomplished such things as helping gang members to overcome their destructive lifestyles. This outreach required developing relationships with these troubled teens and in a sense, becoming "family" to them. Through his efforts, several gang members were transformed into positive role models. He has also spent countless hours feeding the homeless and sharing hope with those who were seemingly hopeless. Tory has over ten years experience in facilitating peer leadership, low ropes course and peer mediation to at-risk students. He has been a keynote speaker at numerous conferences and in-school youth development groups across the Nation. His unique style of speaking brings humor as well as drama to his presentations. He endeavors to instill joy, and more importantly, a sense of value to his audience.

The PAL[R] Training Manager is Daina Huntington. Daina coordinates two PAL[R] conferences per year and any other smaller events that involve PAL[R] programs. She is responsible for all activities related to PAL[R] merchandising and provides all administrative support to the program. She serves as the point of contact to ensure efficient customer service and provide technical assistance when the trainers are in the field. She is responsible for all PAL[R] publications including manuals, newsletters and handbooks. Daina obtained her BA in Spanish and Mass Communications from Texas State University in 2010. She has worked in the non-profit industry in Mortgage and Financial Advising since 2011, started her own non-profit for funding art programs in public Texas schools, and she worked at Austin Community College as a Supplemental Instructor and Tutor while completing her undergraduate degree. She is currently working towards her Masters in Spanish Linguistics and Adult Education at Texas State University. Daina has lived and traveled around the world but calls Austin home. She loves to surf, fish, travel, hike, volunteer with the Austin Animal Shelter, and dedicate her free time to community service.

At the program level, PAL[R] teachers attend a PAL[R] Initial Teacher Training provided by PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership. Moreover, pursuant to State regulations, only a certified teacher is permitted to teach a PAL[R] class at a high school or middle school for which PAL[R]s receive elective credit toward graduation in Texas.

Systems that are currently in place ensure effective communication among agency staff and administration through a series of regularly scheduled meetings, common calendar, extensive computer involvement, and a detailed set of policies and procedures that describes effective communication details for employees. Communication with consumers is done primarily through e-mail since they are all over the state of Texas and 12 additional states. However, phone and regular mail are also used. A newsletter is provided to PAL[R] programs and a minimum of two conferences are held each year. The conferences allow actual face-to-face time with adults and youth. Additionally, site visits are made to programs, which is another opportunity for face-to-face interaction. Communication with media and policymakers are handled through the executive office of the agency with input from program staff.

There are a variety of resources available to the PAL[R] program. At the agency level, there is administrative support from other departments and divisions. PAL[R] enlists volunteers from local universities and community groups to assist with conference duties.

Since September of 2004, the PAL[R] program at the agency level has been self-sustaining. Fees for training, conferences, publications, and merchandise are the primary revenue. Previous to September 2004, the PAL[R] program has received both state and federal funds to implement training for adults and youth. Expenditures include personnel, travel, contractual which is primarily for the ongoing evaluation, supplies, and other costs associated with conducting the program such as rent, fees, phone, postage and shipping, printing, and insurance. As of September 2013, PAL[R] will no longer receive state or federal support.

H. Community Coordination

The PAL[R] program coordinates with a variety of organizations. On a national level, PAL[R] is involved with the National Association of Peer Program Professionals. PAL[R] is not only a member but there is a cooperative agreement to make PAL[R] available on a National level. PAL[R] with WAP, Inc. makes use of SAMSHA and their website to stay abreast of substance abuse information, prevention programming, and the NREPP process. As a result of the current status as a Promising Program, PAL[R] has a relationship with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Drop Out Prevention, and the program is listed as a model program with their agency. PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership is also a member of the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

On the state level, the Texas Education Agency has enabled the PAL[R] curriculum to be available for high school credit. Through this system PAL[R] is involved with regional Education Service Centers. The PAL[R] program works with them to provide training and help programs implement the PAL[R] curriculum. There is also a Master PAL[R] teacher initiative across the state that allows utilization of the PAL[R] program. Master PAL[R] teachers are very helpful in providing technical assistance to new programs on the specifics of setting up a program in a school and keeping it running with consideration to all the rules and regulations of the school system. The PAL[R] program has been supportive of other programs who use the PAL[R] participants as presenters of curriculum, peer mediators, and implementers of environmental programs. All these agencies are statewide and are in many of the same schools that PAL[R] is in. At the state level PAL[R] coordinates with the Department of State Health Services-Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division. While there is no longer a funding relationship with this entity, they are the designated substance abuse agency for the state of Texas and as such, they dictate the direction of prevention programs in the public sector. WAP, Inc. is a member of the Substance Abuse Program Providers Network that is currently putting a larger focus on prevention programs.

On the local level PAL[R] is involved with hundreds of schools that have implemented the PAL[R] program. These relationships have developed as a result of training and technical assistance. Although more regional, our agency represents the Partnership for Drug Free Central Texas.

Community outreach comes in the form of on-site training for students and technical assistance. PAL[R] provides site visits that help assist programs with implementation of their PAL[R] program. PAL[R] staff also provides information sessions for administrators, board members, and others regarding the PAL[R] curriculum and how to implement a program in their school. Included in the outreach, PAL[R] Peer Assistance and Leadership is involved in grassroots efforts such as attendance at Red Ribbon Rallies, Shattered Dream presentations, graduations, sports events, and student retreats. The program provides a minimum of two conferences per year that are specifically designed for high school and middle school PAL[R] participants. The conferences provide opportunities for teachers, sponsors, and youth to network and exchange ideas about their programs as well as gain valuable information and skills to take back to their schools and communities.

Perspectives in Peer Programs Seeks Editor

Perspectives in Peer Programs (PPP) is continuing a search for the volunteer position of editor.

Responsibilities include: Manage submissions and author communication through online and mail submission system; evaluate and comment on manuscripts as well as compose decision letters; assist with oversight of a Review Board; solicit, as needed, ideas for special issues; send out calls for manuscripts; and maintain an efficient and thorough review process.

The term commences as soon as a decision has been made by the NAPPP Board.

Qualifications include:

[] Rank of at least assistant professor or adjunct professor

[] Editorial board experience

[] A consistent record of scholarly publications in refereed journals, with at least some focused on peer program issues

[] Ability to critique manuscripts that are non-empirical/conceptual in nature as well as those using quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods

To apply electronically submit a current curriculum vita and a cover letter outlining your interest and qualifications as well as level of institutional support to

If you have an article for submission, please look over the following Call for Manuscripts for directions for submissions.

Call for Manuscripts

Perspectives in Peer Programs (PPP), a peer reviewed on-line journal, invites original manuscripts related to peer helping, including peer assisted learning, tutoring, mediation, listening, mentoring, leadership, and ministry. The PPP is published by the National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP).


Speakout--These articles provide an opinioned statement/position regarding specific or general aspects of peer helping.

Features--These articles are theoretical, philosophical, or research oriented. Manuscripts should contain implications or practical applications for peer helper programs and training.

In the Field--These articles focus on practical strategies for peer helpers in the field.

Perspectives--These short essays present/describe (without expressing an opinion) an experience of relevance to others involved in peer helping.

Media Reviews--These reviews are of current books and other resources (e.g., software, newsletters, etc.) that are of interest to those involved in peer helping.

Columns--Consider submitting a column about Ethics and Standards, Research Abstracts, Peer Helping and Technology, Resource Reviews, or Trainer's Corner.


--Do not submit material under consideration by another periodical.

--Manuscript style and format must conform to the guidelines in the latest edition of the

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

--Double-space all material, including references.

--Place the article's title on a separate page accompanying the manuscript. Include the author(s) name(s), contact information, and institutional affiliation(s).

--On a separate page, include an abstract of no more than 75 words. Place the article title at the top of the page.

--When applicable, reference should be made to the National Association of Peer Program Professionals Programmatic Standards (

--Because manuscripts ordinarily are sent out for a blind, peer review, two or three months may elapse between acknowledgement of receipt of a manuscript and notification of its disposition.

--Email the package to as a Word document.


When an article is accepted for publication, the editor will send the author(s) editorial comments. Completing final edits and agreeing to have the manuscript published in PPP signifies the author(s)' release of copyright. Please note that for publication author(s) must:

--Secure written permission(s) from the copyright holder for reproducing lengthy quotations and for reprinting and/or adapting tables and figures. The author must provide the journal editor a copy of the copyright holder's written permission(s).

--Place each table and figure on a separate page following the reference section. Final placement of tables and figures is at the discretion of the production editor. Type font should be no smaller than 9 point.

--Provide the final version in Microsoft Word.

--Supply figures (graphs, illustrations, line drawings) as camera ready art via email in separate TIF or EPS files.

Please direct any questions to

Daina Huntington, 512.343.9595 4115 Freidrich Lane, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78744
COPYRIGHT 2014 National Association of Peer Program Professionals
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:In the Field
Author:Terrence, R. Cowan; Ellison, Debra
Publication:Perspectives in Peer Programs
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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