Peer Support leaders respond to big C bash

Dear Michael Kaplan,

We read and discussed your Sept. 5 column entitled “End Big C Hypocrisy.”  First and foremost, we’d like to thank you for your criticisms of our program. 

We spent the majority of our first period in our Leaders class discussing your column, and after much arguing found it to be filled with many truths.  We truly appreciate the time you put in writing this column.  Now it’s our time to work on improving the Peer Support program.  Peer Support is such an integral part of this school, and we truly owe it to each and every group member to make it as great as we possibly can.    

However, we object to your notion that we should be held to an unreasonably high moral standard compared to that of our peers.  Nowhere in the application to be a Trainee does it specify moral righteousness as a prerequisite.  We are human just as our group members are.  This is an asset as it makes us much easier to relate to. 

Since we do not preach to group members about how to behave, there is nothing hypocritical in making our own mistakes.  And even when we make mistakes, what makes us Peer Support Leaders is that we never stop caring about the kids involved in the program.  To our group members, we are defined not by our occasional missteps, but by the work we do with them weekly. 

We also respectfully object to your idea that the work we do ends when the clock strikes 7:15 on Mondays.  You write that our “dedication toward the well-being of other people should not just be limited to an hour-and-a-half on Monday night.”  As almost any group member will tell you, the lasting bonds and friendships groups have made over the last two years are some of the best memories we’ll take away from this school.  And judging by the friendships we have kept with members and leaders who have already graduated, these memories and bonds won’t fade easily.     

Our groups become a mini-family that many of us look forward to from Tuesday morning on.  Routinely, that hour and a half we get to spend in group shapes up to be the best hour and a half of our respective weeks.  Peer Support is what makes going back to school every Monday tolerable, and sometimes even exciting.

As we’re sure you’ve come to know after becoming the Editor-in-Chief, perfection is an unattainable goal for any group.  If you chose to come back to Peer Support, we would welcome you back, along with the rest of the community with open arms as we strive to better ourselves with your critiques in mind.

— The Peer Support Leaders