There is no limit to the talent and ability of young people in our area who want to make a difference in their world. We know this because our programs provide meaningful opportunities for them to prove it. The C.A.T.C.H. (Concerned About Teens Can Help) program was created by Executive Director, Cheryl Biddle, so that teens have another opportunity, in addition to C.A.T.S., to be part of the Alliance for Healthy Youth positive youth development strategy.
C.A.T.C.H. is a youth led peer support prevention program that is school based and designed to help students who are experiencing emotional or physical stress. Volunteer student helpers are selected by schools to complete 6-8 weeks of training in active listening .
C.A.T.C.H. members, who are available during the school day, are ready to listen to their peers who may be struggling due to a personal crisis, peer pressure, bullying, drug use or feelings of suicide. C.A.T.C.H. members develop character, competence and empathy while serving their struggling peers. Those being helped are self-identified and connect with a C.A.T.C.H. member who cares and a school staff member who will provide help.
C.A.T.C.H. program objectives are to increase peer support, increase self-worth, reduce depressive sadness, and decrease use of alcohol and other drugs. Kenmore-Garfield high school, Buchtel CLC high school and middle school as well as Firestone CLC programs are implemented and fully functioning. Matt Simon, C.A.T.C.H. Coordinator, has ten years of experience in education, a B.S. in Education and M.A. in Theological Studies. According to Matt, typically students express the desire to “help people.” This is by far the most significant reason for joining C.A.T.C.H. on almost every application. They mention the desire to “solve problems,” assist with those who “struggle,” and “give advice.” Program communication is enhanced through a text number and weekly Instagram posts. The C.A.T.C.H. logo was designed by Lucky Tisch at our invitation.
By helping their peers, C.A.T.C.H. members will learn that when they give, in turn they receive; understand the value of service, and have hope by learning that just one person can make a difference.