PeerForward Welcomes Coaches-in-Training
Second Cohort of Coaches-in-Training Begin their Journey
On April 11, PeerForward officially ushered in a new cohort of Coaches-in-Training, marking our second year of recruiting a group of promising young leaders to continue their journey with us as futurePeerForward Coaches. The following six PeerForward alumni comprise our newest Coaches-in-Training cohort:
Aloysia “AJ” Jean
With the support of American Express, the Coaches-in-Training program includes robust training in the areas of group facilitation, coaching skills, personal storytelling, effective communication with diverse populations, techniques in giving and receiving valuable feedback, and strategies for carrying out challenging conversations.
The training also will provide each coach an opportunity for self-reflection in a way that encourages personal growth, self-actualization, and confidence building. The Coaches-In-Training program aims to build a team of PeerForward Coaches who will continue to maintain their teams’ interpersonal relationships as a support system in their personal and professional lives. The full training represents a two-year, three-summer commitment, all leading up to this cohort receiving their official certification as PeerForward Coaches in the Summer of 2021.
Once called “Rap Directors,” PeerForward Coaches are key guiding figures in the journey our Peer Leaders embark on the moment they join their PeerForward team. During the school year, our full-time Coaches on staff provide routine support and check-ins for PeerForward teams as they run their college-going campaigns in schools. At summer workshops, Coaches lead transformational sessions for Peer Leaders that ask participants to deeply reflect on the challenges they’ve overcome and the motivations that drive them, bringing about powerful personal development and growth for our students.
Having been Peer Leaders themselves, the Coaches-in-Training bring with them a meaningful connection to what this role can provide current Peer Leaders and the lasting impact it can leave. As Jenadra Harvey, member of the new cohort, reflects on her transition into this role, she shares, “My Rap Directors, Tamika Gordon, and Shantae Edwards, made my Peer Leader experience one that I will cherish forever, and I hope to be able to give my future Peer Leaders experiences like that. This role is bigger than me, and I honestly cannot put into words how much this opportunity means. A great responsibility has been bestowed upon us.”
The journey from Peer Leader to PeerForward Coach is no small feat and represents years of experience and growth that our alumni are now eager to pour back into the program for the new wave of student leaders. “It feels like the highlight of my life thus far. I’ve worked hard to maintain my connection to PeerForward and all that while, I doubted that I would be able to fill a role like this one. For me, this whole experience represents a full circle from where I started about eight years ago.” Aloysia Jean shared. Still, each Coach-in-Training understands that the training process will require them to undertake a myriad of personal growth, “Above all, growth is always present when PeerForward is involved” says Coach-in-Training Brayan Murguia. Along with personal growth, the cohort is encouraged to hold each other accountable in an effort to build a stronger team. Phillips Percy views it as an opportunity to build connections and a positive outlook, “Meeting and reconnecting with progressive like-minded individuals has allowed me to self–reflect in a positive and motivational way… and that I am thankful for.”
Though training sessions may vary in duration, Trainers Loubert Senatus, and David “D.C.” Howard, are masterful at optimizing every opportunity for growth. “Within the first hour I gained skills that were applicable for things currently going on in my personal life,” says Baja Poawui.
As a veteran Workshop Corps staff member, Baja has encountered PeerForward in many contexts, but acknowledges that the coach’s journey is a completely new experience, “the PeerForward Coach Training was so much more than I could have asked for.” No matter their previous experience, each Coach-in-Training developed a new perspective during their first training session about what they are capable of contributing to the PeerForward program, “The training opened my eyes to what it takes to lead, along with the ability to self–reflect on my strengths and my weaknesses.” said Brayan Murguia. Lisseth Velasquez agreed, stating that “training helped me take off my glasses and see things through a different perspective.”