Need to talk? The Peer Listener Program is a group of Calvin students who are trained to provide active listening to their peers, both online and in person. The program is a free and confidential resource for students who are going through a challenging time, feeling stressed, or just needing to connect with a supportive listener. Here’s how it works:

Online Peer Support (7 cups)

What: 7 Cups is a global, online, chat-based platform for peer support that includes a Calvin Support System.

Who: Volunteer peer listeners from Calvin (and around the world) are trained to provide emotional support online.

When: Access to the global platform is available 24/7, 365 days/year. Calvin listeners are available within the Calvin Support System as their schedule allows.

Where: The program can be accessed at https://www.7cups.com by choosing “I have a School/Organizational code” at the time of sign-up and entering the Calvin code (available through the CCW office at counseling@calvin.edu or on printed program materials)

More details: When 7 Cups members from Calvin University seek support within the platform, they have the option to request a peer listener within the Calvin Support System or to speak with any listener worldwide. Other resources available through 7 Cups include videos, coping skill training, self-help guides, group forums, and Growth Path tracking.

In-Person Peer Support

What: Peer listening sessions are provided in-person for Calvin students at designated times each week.

Who: Calvin students are interviewed and trained by the CCW to participate as volunteer listeners within the Peer Listener Program.

When: During the Spring 2020 semester, drop-in listening sessions are offered for Calvin students on Mondays and Tuesdays from 5-7pm.

Where: Students can connect with listeners in the Hekman Library study rooms behind Peet’s.

More details: In preparation for their role, student volunteers with the Peer Listener Program engage with 7 Cups listener training, CCW listening & resources training, and QPR (suicide prevention) training. Peer listeners provide basic listening support, referring students to CCW or other mental health partners for more intensive support or treatment as needed.

Peer Listener schedule

Peer Listener Program Volunteers (Spring 2020)

Elise

Elise Allard

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Social Work with a Psychology minor

I want to be a peer listener because I want another student to feel as though they are being heard and understood. I think it is important for people to talk about their stress, worries, or situations that he or she may be in.

“People start to heal the moment they are heard.”—Cheryl Richardson


Zachary

Zachary Ballenger

Academic year: First-year (Sophomore status)
Major: Psychology (Neuroscience concentration) with a Philosophy minor

I am considering a career in counseling and I love listening to others' stories. The Peer Listening program is a wonderful opportunity for students to support each other.

“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”


Casey

Casey Brown

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Nursing and Psychology

I believe the Peer Listening Program is important because it promotes individual growth and the validation and understanding of all emotions.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
—Buddha


Lauren

Lauren Campbell

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Nursing

I think this is an important program because talking about feelings and emotions is important. For me, when I bottle up all of my problems my mental health plummets, so I want to be able to help my peers express their emotions, rather than bottling them all up.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”—Jeremiah 29:11


Olivia

Olivia Deliyannides

Academic year: Junior
Major: Psychology and Social Work

Throughout my life I’ve learned that the most tangible form of love and care is through listening and being listened to. I want to extend the energy I have for my relationships to students who are looking for that care.

“There is never a situation that is without hope, but you have to find that truth by knowing it, and not someone telling it.”— My old pastor who learned this while incarcerated.


Corinna

Corinna De Vries

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Psychology and Social Work

I have benefited greatly when I have had someone to talk to and to share my experiences with. I hope to provide the same service to others.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”—Brené Brown


Darby

Darby Frederiksen

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Linguistics and Dance

As a person still learning how to deal with the effects of my own struggles, I understand that mental health needs to be taken seriously and with grace and patience. Empathizing with others is one of my strengths, and I want to be as much of a help to my fellow life-trekkers as I can be.

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.” – Jonathan Harnisch


Ryan

Ryan German

Academic year: Junior
Major: Biology

I am interested in helping my peers to feel welcome, accepted and heard in this community. I am seeking a career with a counseling component so this is a great fit for me!

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but is more common and also more hard to bear.”—CS Lewis in The Problem of Pain


Erin

Erin Jones

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Special Education

I have had times where I knew I needed help but I didn’t want to talk to a professional, and there were just some things that I didn’t want to talk to my close friends about. I wanted to be a part of this program because it provides a solution to the problem I had of not having anyone to turn to.

“She is a beautiful piece of broken pottery, put back together by her own hands, and a critical world judges her cracks while missing the beauty of how she made herself whole again.”


Ari

Ari Lopez

Academic year: Junior
Major: Social Work

My passion is to serve others—in any way, shape, or form. I hope that by engaging in conversation with others, I can provide the help they need.

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”—Glenn Close.


Sam

Sam Meek

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Environmental Science with a minor in Fine Arts

I think this program is something that could've been very helpful to me in the past, so I want to be able to provide that help to others.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."—Matthew 6:33–34


Quinton

Quinton Quagliano

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Psychology (Neuroscience concentration)

I would love for this program to be a way for students at Calvin to share concerns in a safe, empathetic place. Also, I want to see campus grow as a supportive community for all backgrounds, perspectives, and lifestyles.

“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.’ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”—Carl Rogers


Daniel

Daniel Sculley

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Biochemistry and Psychology

I have always had a strong belief in the power conversations can have for working out tough issues. As a peer listener, I hope to be a part of that process here at Calvin.

“Your illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character.”–Pastor Rick Warren


Nasara

Nasara Jhewe Usman

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Public Health

Before I transferred to Calvin, I went through a really rough time, and the main way I was able to get through it was by having people I could talk to. To this day, I appreciate the time that my family and best friends took to listen to me and help me when I was at my lowest, and I would love to extend that same level of compassion to someone else. No one should ever feel alone in whatever he or she is going through.

“Emotional pain is not something that should be hidden away and never spoken about. There is truth in your pain, there is growth in your pain, but only if it’s first brought out into the open.”—Steve Aitchison


Selena

Selena Walters

Academic year: Senior
Major: Social Work

I am a verbal processor, but I know it can be difficult to talk to friends or family sometimes. I think peer listening gives students the opportunity to share their feelings in a safe place.

“You spend most of your life inside your head...make it a nice place to be.”


Chloe

Chloe Warren

Academic year: Sophomore
Major: Social Work

I think sometimes people really just need to let out what they are thinking about and they don’t always want someone that knows them so that they aren’t worried about them. I truly just want to listen and hear what is happening in people’s lives.


James

James Webb

Academic year: Junior
Major: Psychology with a minor in Religion

I think that being there for people in the context of just being there for them and living with them is a super important part of life, and that it is something I have some skill at in some capacity.

“Love listens.”

Interested in becoming a Peer Listener?

Calvin students, staff, and faculty are invited to join the online 7 Cups Calvin Support System at any time by logging in at https://www.7cups.com and using the Calvin school/organizational signup code (available through CCW at counseling@calvin.edu or on printed program materials).

Calvin students (sophomore and above) are invited to interview for an in-person peer listener volunteer role at the beginning of each semester. To request a peer listener interview (or to nominate a student as a peer listener), please contact CCW at counseling@calvin.edu.