John Schenk, a 2012 Vianney graduate, has been featured in the April 8-14, 2013 edition of the St. Louis Review for his work in starting Teens 2 Teens. The group, which he founded, is a faith-based, peer-to-peer mentoring ministry that serves teens facing hardships.
To date, more than 16 local Catholic high schools in St. Louis have signed on to participate in the ministry. The work, according to the Review article, is guided by an adult-based board of directors with backgrounds in accounting, law, mental health care, education, clergy, youth ministry and a teen board.
Peer mentors are provided with comprehensive training from mental health professionals, youth ministers and others on how to define appropriate boundaries and become active listeners. Like other mentoring organizations, teens are also trained how to recognize the signs someone needs profesisonal help and how to immediately connect that persosn with resources, according to the Review.
"We teach peer mentors that their only job is to be a friend," Schenk told the Review. "Going to professional counseling is critical, but the one thing they can't offer is that peer-to-peer friendship."
In the article, which hit homes across St. Louis on April 5th, Schenk describes a time in his life when he underwent a period of depression. With the help of friends, Schenk experienced a turnaround and decided to start Teens to Teens.