WTOC - Positive Peer Influencers in the News


By Anna Stansfield

Published: Mar. 19, 2024 at 4:37 PM EDT
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A new program called the Positive Peer Influencer Program launched Tuesday at Myers Middle School in Savannah.

It’s a program designed by the school system and several other organizations in our area. It brings high schoolers into middle schools to teach students about drug safety and peer pressure.

“When you’re making the decision to do the right or the wrong thing, how do you figure out if it’s the right or the wrong thing?”

That’s just one question these Positive Peer Influencers cover.


These influencers are from Jenkins High School, just one of the four high schools involved in the program from the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.

It’s designed to teach middle schoolers about the dangers of drugs and how to resist peer pressure.

“We show them how to do it, we role play, basically so that people won’t force them to do drugs and other bad things,” said Olivia Jones, Positive Peer Influencer.

Olivia Jones is one of the positive peer influencers.

She says it’s important to have high schoolers like herself speaking to these middle schoolers because they’ll be more likely to listen.

“When it’s a child and they’re telling them, ‘oh well this happened to me too, I was just in middle school a year ago,’ they’re more willing to listen because they feel like you’re kind of in their shoes,” Jones.

This program is in partnership with the school system, the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team and the Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire, to make sure kids are aware of some of the dangers all around them.

“Kids younger and younger are finding out about certain substances. And so, we have to start while they’re young. It doesn’t exempt them from hearing and seeing things that are going on,” said Sherlisa Praylo, Mediation Center of the Coastal Empire.

The influencers say it’s important to get this knowledge out, so kids learn about the risks they could face any day.

“Most of the time when you hear things on the news, you think, ‘oh it’s in California, it’s not going to get to me.’ But it’s actually in Chatham County and happening to people around me,” said Jones.

She says as this program continues, she’s hoping she’ll be able to make an impact on at least one of their lives.

“I hope that they can take the information and make better decisions,” said Jones.

Across all four high schools involved, there are 65 positive peer influencers who will be able to speak to about 800 middle schoolers in this school year alone.