The Teen Survivor Program at EPCC has reached out to middle schools and offered a completely free, prize-filled, and interactive way to inform their 6th graders on teen-related issues such as bullying, eating disorders, and emotional stability for over 10 years.
“They listen to college students differently than they would listen to their teachers,” said founder and lead advisor Claudia Cochran.
“When a college student is up there, they look different, they look cool, but they’re in college. You’re showing them that they can be themselves and still be in school and get a degree.”
The Teen Survivor members’ duties are to research a topic, create a display, plan a presentation and activities, create brochures, seek out donations, and decorate their booth for their fair – all of which will be presented to students at a middle school for a day on the first week of December.
Members are encouraged to pick topics they are passionate about and get as creative as possible to ensure the message reaches as many students as possible.
They are expected to actively work towards seeking donations and fundraise for prizes they give out during the fair.
This program is only a success because of members that put their extra time and effort in return for nothing other than the experience.
However, Cochran has seen members benefit from their work and dedication to the program “Members learn about leadership and learn that it doesn’t take rocket science to help your community,” said Cochran.
“You can go and do a presentation at a middle school and have an impact.”
Teen Survivor Secretary Diva Campos was looking for a way to serve her community and found the perfect opportunity to do so.
“It is a well thought-out program and schools should be thankful they have this locally,” said Campos. “I would’ve loved it if they had done something like this at my school.”
Campos chose informing students about healthy relationships as her topic for this year’s booth.
She felt it was an issue that many students could identify with and said that researching for the program led her to self-reflect on her past relationships.
“It is important for people to know that the emotional part of growing up is important,” said Campos.
Despite its selfless education and leadership, Cochran feared the program would not make it past the 10th year due to low recruitment.
However, with help from professors Carlos Vargas and Carrie VanHoudt and their recruitment, the program was able to thrive and students are actively working towards completing this semester’s event.
“I would explain it as positively nerve-wrecking,” said Campos. “I have no doubt that the event will be a completely positive experience.”
The program continues to seek a middle school that will accept their service.The selfless work of the members is ongoing and will continue to be as long as the need is there.