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Being a Peer Educator - Sophie

20th April 2018
by Sophie Downes

Sophie, PSYV Dundee East, talks about what it means to be a Peer Educator.

It takes a lot. Nothing that isn’t worth it though. Throughout it you build up so many skills within yourself. In the beginning your presence, confidence and enthusiasm might not be the best but with each session, every new face it gets easier. Every word flows, it sounds less formal and rehearsed and you can begin to make adjustments to suit those you’re teaching. I seen it in myself while doing it, how every word got a bit louder, how each smile became more genuine and how every moment became enjoyable. I saw how my nerves began to work with me as soon as I stopped letting them control me. If you let yourself have fun with it then those on the receiving end have fun too.

The truly amazing thing about it is the unknown. You may never know what impact you could possibly have on someone. The lives you could change without even knowing. How you could stop someone thinking about or committing a knife related crime. On top of that you could also give someone the knowledge they need to help someone who has been attacked. It’s not just about telling people not to carry knives and not to stab people.

Peer educators are there to spread awareness, prevention and shed some light on the subject. We help through many ways and we hope to widen everybody’s general knowledge on knife crime. It does make a difference and its shows because knife crime rates have not been this low in years. Thanks to everyone who gets involved in knife crime prevention campaigns and organisations like this one across Scotland.

I know that being a No Knives, Better Lives Peer Educator has benefited me and those around me. I have never had so much confidence in myself before and now things like public speaking or giving speeches don’t scare me. I have a more positive mindset and I have the right skills so teach and interact with people. Aside from that I know that those I have taught will have benefited too. How they hopefully took something away from what I taught them. That they’ll remember it, tell a friend or family member. Help spread the word and know right from wrong when it comes to knife crime.

All I can say is it’s something out of the ordinary, a change from your day to day life. So why not take the chance? As for every opportunity you don’t take you miss 100% of your shot. So, isn’t it worth the risk? Why not become a peer educator?

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