PEERS group leader looks to make impact in student’s lives

Ema Robertson, News Writer

Graduate Mr. Ben Tierney is the leader of The PEERS Project of Perry Township. He devotes his time to teaching teens about the purpose of PEERS: to have healthier morals and more successful futures.

“It’s taught me how to be a business owner because I run the entire district,” Tierney said. “It helps them work together as a team to learn how to break down material in things that they can understand and work with.”

PEERS not only affected Tierney, but it also affects students’ lives both inside and outside of school. According to Tierney, PEERS gives the middle schoolers a way to connect and stay true to themselves while teaching the high schoolers to do the same. Tierney splits the SHS students into various groups and they visit the Southport and Perry Meridian 6th grade academies, performing skits and speeches to tell students how to say no to drugs, stay sexually abstinent and abstain from alcohol.

Junior Blaise Shields has been in PEERS since last year. He says PEERS is a great way to share values around people who believe the same thing. For Shields, PEERS has helped him in many ways, including maintaining a healthier lifestyle and helping him achieve a higher rate for success throughout life.

“What PEERS has done for me is given me a great opportunity to share my values to the sixth graders and teachers,” Shields said. “(The concepts are) not only not to do drugs, sex and alcohol, but why not to, and why they’re unhealthy.”

Instead of only going to the 6th grade academies, the PEERS group is also visiting the Southport and Perry Meridian Middle Schools, according to Tierney. In the future, he says he hopes for the teens to be affected in the same way as himself.