Olney Central College is excited to add a second Peer Coach. Dorothy Ochate joins Philip Henderson in assisting and reaching out to fellow students.
Initiated earlier this year, the Peer Coach Program connects incoming freshmen with current students through OCC text messaging. Peer Coaches can convey information and answer questions from fellow students.
As a Peer Coach, Ochate also is involved in OCC’s Active Minds chapter, a student-led group dedicated to opening conversations about mental health and creating lasting change in the way mental health is talked about, cared for and valued in the United States. Ochate’s first text to students was a mental health check.
“We got a lot of responses,” she said. “I asked students how they were feeling and to respond with a corresponding emoji. A lot of people responding said they were struggling. It was nice to be able to give them a word of encouragement. Many thanked me because they really needed someone to reach out to them.”
Ochate is excited about working with Active Minds.
“It is very timely,” she added. “A lot of people struggle with mental health. I want to help others and hope I can do something to make their day better. I was feeling really isolated during the pandemic and I want others to know someone is here for them, and I am only a text away.”
Ochate says she became curious about the Peer Coach Program after seeing a flier posted on an OCC bulletin board.
“I thought it would be interesting and once I knew it involved helping other students transition to college life, I thought it was a good opportunity,” she added.
Ochate is from the Philippines and relocated to the area three years ago.
Ochate is pursuing an Associate in Science and Arts degree at OCC.