Assembling Your Team

How many students should be recruited?

It is optimal to train about 6-12% of the total study body as Peer Leaders (PL) In order to positively change school norms and culture through Sources of Strength messaging.

  • Depending on the size of the school, some schools may train 6-12% of students in their first year of implementing the program. Larger schools may need additional years to achieve this goal.
  • Choosing your schools’ target number of PLs should be determined in collaboration with the facilitator/trainer prior to the nomination process.

What types of students should be recruited?

Natural Leaders. Strong PLs are the natural and key leaders among different groups of students in the school. They are students whose ‘voices are heard’ by other students who they affiliate with. They represent a wide variety of social groups, and often have specific influence within smaller groups or cliques. They may be peer helpers, student council members, gang leaders, SADD members, or others. Training other students with ‘leadership potential’ in their social groups is also a good strategy.

Representing Diverse Social Groups.   It is especially important to identify peers who have influence with diverse types of cliques and groups. They may not be the “high-achievers” or highly engaged students. Some have experienced the effects of suicide on a personal basis; others have been active in previous prevention efforts. Still others have no related experience. Together, they bring a mixture of backgrounds and attitudes to the program. When recruiting your Peer Leader group, ensure that you include students who represent the following:

  •  All school grades
  •  Various gender identities and sexual orientations
  •  Groups less connected to school
  •  As many known cliques as possible
  •  All of the racial and ethnic groups of the school
  •  Students who spend time with students at risk for drop-out and other behavior problems

Click here to watch the pre-training implementation overview video.

Sources of Strength provides a variety of letter templates for everything you will need to launch the program. Feel free to make edits as necessary to personalize appearance and language (Add your own letterhead etc.)

You can can individually download all of the letters below or simply download them all here.