Milford’s JOI club teaches kids to say “no”


Norah Armijo

Senior Christen Broughton presenting a peer pressure lesson to Highland Elementary

Norah Armijo, Staff Writer


Earlier this year, 10 members of the Junior Optimist Club (JOI) attended a training session to learn various teaching strategies and practice delivering a lesson about peer pressure. Since then, the JOI members have conducted five peer pressure resistance seminars with various fifth grade classrooms throughout Huron Valley Schools.

The lessons are roughly 45 minutes, and they included interactive and thought-provoking questions for the kids. Each fifth grader practiced saying no in a pretend peer pressure situation, and some of them performed in front of the class.

The lesson moved through different examples of peer pressure, accompanied by skits showing different ways to say no. “As a visual learner, I think the skits are really important, because just talking about things doesn’t always get the point across—especially when working with younger kids,” Senior Christen Broughton explained.

After the skits, the kids got to ask questions, then a few kids got the chance to learn and practice one of the skits and perform it with one of the teen students.

The kids have all seemed to enjoy the lessons immensely. “It’s super exciting to see the kids get involved in such an important topic,” Junior Alexandria Petrusha said. “I genuinely love to see and hear their opinions.” The amount of volunteers for each activity is overwhelming as all the kids want a moment in the spotlight. Part of the reason the seminars work so well is that they are taught by teenagers; kids often look up to teenagers as role models.

Junior Gigi Gondoly explained further that “learning from peers is a really effective way to learn, and a lot of the information we teach is things I wish I had heard at their age.”

So far, the group has visited Heritage, Spring Mills, and Highland Elementary; they are planning a few more lessons in the upcoming months. “I’m really looking forward to doing more of these lessons because it feels like we’re really getting through to the kids,” Senior Emma Allen said, “I think that this format of learning in particular is good for a younger audience because it’s so interactive and entertaining for them.”

It’s evident that the kids have been really enjoying the seminars because some of them actually sent the JOI volunteers special thank you cards.

Hopefully these kind hearted volunteers can make a real impact on the kids and keep them on the path to success for the future!