Created from student’s inspiration, LEAD still going strong at Peet

LEAD stands for Loving Everything About Differences and is a Tiger Time group at Peet Junior High. 

“LEAD first started in the Fall of 2013 by a then eighth grade student named Clare Rolinger.  Clare graduated from CFHS in 2018 and is now a student at Luther College. Clare asked me to help her start this group, and we envisioned all the things it could encompass and the rest is history,” said Rebecca Lins, one of the counselors at Peet. 

She hosts the group, and they meet every Thursday during Tiger Time in the library to do fun activities, talk with each other and discuss issues in today’s social life. 

The group discusses topics like equality, self love, kindness toward others and many other prominent aspects of life that are beneficial to junior high girls. 

Lins said, “I would say to revolutionize the culture that can be girls navigating junior high, LEAD is a safe place to land each week where we work to champion each other, not finding each other’s successes as a threat, but something to cheer one another on because there is space for all of us and all of our varying talents.

“LEAD is all about inclusivity, helping students find a place to belong and relate to each other and get to know other students in other grade levels that they wouldn’t otherwise. LEAD is about empowering ourselves, reflecting on our strengths and what we have to offer the world. It’s about learning and knowing better to do better and grow in our confidence, self-worth and work towards always being a better version of ourselves.” 

The group sometimes has speakers come in that are successful women, teachers in the community or girls that were in LEAD in previous years. 

“Students always want to cover self-image, body image and stereotypes. We also have talked about leadership, self-confidence, social media, empathy, healthy friendships/relationships and more,” Lins said. 

LEAD also has annual fun events such as movie nights and online conferences. “I really hope we can bring back the seventh grade girls’ presentation, and with that, having the CFHS women’s leadership come down and do a presentation for our eighth and ninth grade girls. The girls also love guest speakers, so we hope to bring in Peet teachers and other guests from our community that have a great message to share.” 

As a result of a junior high girls’ idea to start this group, it has become a positive enrichment for junior high girls at Peet and has allowed Lins to make an impact within the school. Lins said, “Wow, it’s impact… It has impacted me because it’s one of the best parts of my job. I’m deeply passionate about collaborating with young women to help them lead and positively impact their peers around them. I love working with young women to help them see their own potential and see them flourish as they continue to grow and navigate new transitions. I have been fortunate to hear from several ‘LEAD alum’ that have shared with me it’s positive impact. Parents have even commented how it helped their daughter navigate the turbulence of junior high and find positive friends. Students say it impacts their week positively because it’s a fun way to end the week and reset in a way. I think LEAD has impacted the girls involved over the years because it helped them believe in themselves during what can be a very critical time in their life. It helped them build lasting friendships that have gone beyond high school. It has helped them see that a win for their friend is a win for them and that championing one another is way more fun and fulfilling than competing against one another. These are all the impacts I hope LEAD continues to have on the girls this year and the years to come.”

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