South Brunswick students offer helping hands at resource center


SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Five members of the Peer Leadership program at South Brunswick High School offered their helping hands on March 12 at Bentley Community Services (BCS) as part of the community services component of the program.

Melissa Maurer, Sreyas Ravi, Janine Lagarenne, Nabina Park and Matt Kiely volunteered at BCS in Monmouth Junction, a resource center that addresses the needs of working families in financial crisis not only with fresh food supplements but with workshops and programs to lead them to financial stability and security.

“The senior students certainly did excellent work, breaking down food provisions that came in all morning into the afternoon hours. They unloaded the trucks, handling a wide range of fresh, healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables, salads, non-perishable items, frozen meats, poultry and entrees; prepped fresh flowers; re-stocked the shelves in the warehouse facility; stocked fresh breads and baked goods; and unpacked ice creams and desserts,” said Dorothy Stearns, executive director of BCS. “We are thankful to them and greatly appreciate their work ethic, helping hands, dedication and enthusiasm.  What a delight to work alongside them.”

The Peer Leadership program trains selected seniors to work with small groups of freshmen to aid their transition to high school and to develop a sense of community among the diverse student body. Only 68 senior leaders are chosen each year from a field of more than 300 applicants.

Throughout the year, Peer Leaders, working in male/female co-leader pairs, plan and facilitate groups of ninth graders in small, informal discussions and in Project Adventure activities.

The purposes of the discussion group sessions are to help freshmen adjust to the new environment of high school and to focus on typical adolescent issues.

In the Project Adventure sessions, they lead freshmen through a sequence of group problems and group and individual physical challenges, on both low elements and on a high ropes course. Through Project Adventure, seniors help freshmen to develop their group problem-solving skills and increase their sense of personal confidence, as well as encouraging mutual support within the group.

For more information on the Peer Leadership Program, visit

For more information on Bentley Community Services, visit or call 908-227-0684.


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