By Corinne Hester - Davidson College Intern

Counselors Shannon White and Christine Wisdom knew the community needed a teen counseling group after a local student committed suicide last year. 

“We kept hearing from teens that there wasn’t a place to talk about stressors,” White explains. 

Teens Helping Teens, a small group at The Counseling Center at Davidson United Methodist Church, aims to provide that space. 

The Counseling Center will hold its third session of Teens Helping Teens this year.  The eight-week session begins April 8, from 7-8 p.m.  It is open to students ages 13- 18.

The four students who attended the first session, which began in the fall of last year, have continued with the group.  Though White expected the first Teens Helping Teens participants to focus on the local tragedy, she says group conversation spanned a variety of topics. 

She said typical teen stressors can include family dynamics, school stress, self-esteem, peer pressure, bullying and temptations for substance abuse.

Morgan, one of the teens in the group, said the group has helped with stress from her peers.

“Bullying has been a big issue in my life, and I found people who could relate with my experience by coming to teen group,” she said.

The number one rule at Teens Helping Teens is confidentiality. 

“What gets said in group stays in group,” White said. 

White and Wisdom, who have master’s degrees in community counseling and pastoral counseling, respectively, co-lead each session and often begin with an activity.

During one session they encourage each student to draw a picture of a bucket, fill the bucket with a list of current emotions, and then draw a water line on the bucket to represent personal emotional capacity.  The activity helped students gage and express their current emotional state. 

“Some students would say, ‘I’m to the top. I’m overwhelmed,’” White explained.

At the end of another session, students write each other notes of encouragement, describing character traits they appreciate in one another. Each student took the notes home in a Ziploc bag.

“To have something concrete to leave with was really important to them,” White said.

Teens Helping Teens provides a space outside of the typical school day for students to gather, share stories and build relationships.

“There is nothing like a peer saying to you ‘I know exactly how you feel,’” White says. “It’s just so powerful.”

The counseling sessions cost $400 for eight weeks, scholarships are available.  Contact Shannon White at 704-892-6135 for more information.

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Area women to attend Presbyterian gathering

CONCORD – The Presbytery of Charlotte will hold its 26th annual Spring Gathering for Presbyterian women April 6 at Gilwood Presbyterian Church, 2993 Odell School Road, Concord. 

The theme for this year's gathering is "Exploring Human Trafficking; Exploring Our Responses." The Rev. Elizabeth Hyland will lead worship. 

Registration begins 8:20 a.m., followed by a business meeting at 9 and worship service at 11. 

For more information, visit www.presbyofcharlotte.org.

Hopewell Presbyterian men plan barbecue, cruise-in

HUNTERSVILLE – The men of Hopewell Presbyterian Church will hold the first-ever barbecue and cruise-in event from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 27 at the church.

Barbecue will be served in the Family Life Center for $8 per plate or three sandwiches. Dine-in and take-out options will be available. 

Throughout the day, stroll through the church campus for a look at classic cars. Anyone wishing to show a classic car can register for $10 per car, which also includes a meal. 

Hopewell Presbyterian Church is located at 10500 Beatties Ford Road. 

Prom closet to open at First Baptist Huntersville

HUNTERSVILLE – Lydia's Loft, a program that provides free clothing to those in need, will open its prom closet April 19 and 20. The closest will open on Fridays from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon. 

Lydia's Loft has clothing appropriate for boys and girls, as well as shoes and accessories for the big night. The loft is supported by area churches, individuals and community organizations. Find it on the third floor of the education building at First Baptist Church Huntersville, 119 N. Old Statesville Road. 

Trinity Methodist Men to hold fish fry

CHARLOTTE – The United Methodist Men of Trinity UMC will sponsor a fish fry April 13 beginning at 4 p.m. The dinner will include flounder, catfish, shrimp, French fries, slaw and hushpuppies for $10 per plate. Children's plates cost $5. 

The Methodist women will also sell desserts for $1. 

Trinity United Methodist is located at 6230 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte.