Peer Health Exchange (PHE), is a non-profit organization that gives teenagers the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions. We do this by training college student volunteers to teach a comprehensive, skills-based health curriculum to students in low-income public high schools. As slightly older peers, PHE volunteers are well-positioned to lead honest conversations about teenagers’ choices and health. Through our thirteen-workshop curriculum, teenagers learn essential information around mental health, sexual health, and substance use, while developing critical skills in decision-making, reflection, communication, advocacy, and how to access health resources in their schools and communities. Over the course of our program, PHE empowers young people to make active, informed choices that contribute to better health and life outcomes. PHE works in high schools who share our belief that health is a critical part of a young person’s education and who partner with PHE to supplement or provide their health education program.
Peer Health Exchange launched in Chicago in the summer of 2007 to help address an unmet need for health education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). This year, we will reach nearly 4,100 students in 23 high schools across the city of Chicago. We will do this by recruiting, selecting, and training over 320 college student volunteers from The University of Chicago, Northwestern, and The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).