The Nathaniel Project: Students Helping Students

Published 02.27.2004


By Nichole Shanefelter College Information and Community Relations Intern

Hidden away in a homey, modestly furnished office on the first floor of the Klump Academic Center at Penn College is The Nathaniel Project a College-sponsored peer-support program.

Project Director Barbara Wayne-Mellott oversees consultants Charlene F. Ebner, Kelly M. Hagerman and Barry L. Kehl: students who are enrolled in the Nursing or Human Services academic programs and who are knowledgeable about drug-and-alcohol issues.

Since October 2000, a team of peer consultants has assisted Penn College students who have questions or concerns about but not limited to drug-and-alcohol use and abuse.

What sets this program apart from other services at Penn College is its informal atmosphere.

"Usually, students will just drop by to feel us out at first," Ebner said. "We are students helping students. We provide friendly, confidential help."

Whatever a student says in the Nathaniel Project's office stays there unless the student is a danger to themselves or others. Participation in this free service does not require an appointment, and it does not become a part of the student's record at the College.

"We are here to increase access to drug-and-alcohol prevention services," Wayne-Mellott said, "and we're available to students with drug-and-alcohol questions, as well as those simply with concerns."

The student consultants also can offer referrals to formal counseling services on or off campus.

To increase student awareness, the Nathaniel Project gets involved every year with on-campus health fairs, Alcohol Awareness Week, Sexual Awareness Week, the College and Community Coalition, Residence Life and various student organizations.

For more information about the services offered by The Nathaniel Project at Penn College, call Ext. 7915, or drop by ACC, Room 101C, during office hours.