Badgers pay it forward by mentoring peers

Paying it forward, giving back and volunteering are just a few phrases that can be used to describe the actions of students on the peer leadership team.

“It is volunteer work,” said Trena Rider, mentoring program coordinator. “They are volunteering because they want to help others be successful, so it’s a pretty big deal.”

The program began as a grant that was funded by TG Public Benefit Program through the Amarillo Area Foundation. TG and the Amarillo Area Foundation both promote mentoring.

Amarillo College has employee mentors as well as student mentors as part of the mentorship program. The student mentors are a part of the Peer Advisory Council. They are trained through the summer and placed in First Year Seminar classes to help with student success.

“They have examples, because they are students who have been through the coach champion program,” Rider said. “They have had mentors themselves, and now they are paying it forward by giving back. They are taking what they learned in their first year of college and passing it on.”

Peer mentors are there to help students. They refer students to resources, help them talk to teachers and inform them about the Math Lab and Writers’ Corner.

Peer leaders complete reports each week about what they have been doing in their first-year classes.

“It’s a mentoring program,” Rider said. “Whatever a student comes to us needing, we either find the answers or get them to the right resources so that they will get those answers. That is the job of our mentors.”

Students involved in the program said they believe it is a good way to help their fellow students.

“The way I see it is if my experiences can help somebody else avoid things like having to repeat a course or failing a test or not going to somebody for help that is there to help you because you are scared or you don’t know,if I can be able to aid them and kind of ease their way through something, then I would do it,” said Itzayana Carrasco, a general studies major. “If someone wants to help, this is a great way to do it.”

Education major Giselle Leon said it helps her to be a better role model for fellow students.

“It helps me so I can stay on top of my studies,” Leon said. “If I tell the students to be on top of their tests and homework, I have to be on top of it too. I can’t be a hypocrite. It helps me a better leader for them.”

Being a peer leader looks good on resumes, job applications and scholarship applications.

“We want students to be in good academic standing and maybe even have had a little bit of struggles,” Rider said. “I find that the best peer leaders are the ones that have had a little bit of trouble. It hasn’t just been a breeze; they are not just the general 4.0 student. Then they can relate a little bit better to the students whenever they are having a hard time or whenever they are not getting their studying done. Then they are at least empathetic in those ways.”

Anyone interested in becoming a peer leader for the fall 2014 semester can contact Trena Rider or apply online at

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