Leslie Middle School – Salem, Oregon

“The Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® is an essential core standard of Leslie Middle School’s social-emotional learning competencies. The simple 14-word pledge is a key component of our school’s violence prevention strategy.“– Leslie Middle School 

​​The award-winning Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers are a select group of 7th and 8th-grade students who are recognized as student role models and natural leaders who lead by example.

Oregon State Capitol – Salem, Oregon
Salem-Keizer Public Schools was proud to have Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers and Pete Teller, Counselor, participate in
Marion County Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers
Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® Ambassadors

Pete Teller has worked as a middle school counselor in the Salem-Keizer School District since 2001. Mr. Teller actively engages students in the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® and invites everyone to live the Purple Hands Pledge®. Mr. Teller is pictured above, top left, with Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers at the 2018 Marion County Commissioners Proclamation Presentation. 

Hear the students recite the Purple Hands Pledge® in
Swahili, Marshallese & Spanish while presenting at the
Marion County Commissioners
2019 Child Abuse Prevention Proclamation!

Pete Teller, Counselor, leads our youth in a profound way by providing opportunities to have their voices heard with this universal Pledge. Leslie Peer Helpers reach their peers, their families, and the community through their activism. Thank you, two small words to express so much gratitude, for your compassionate dedication to all of your student’s well-being, guiding them to a brighter future.
— Ann S. Kelly, Founder/Director 

“The Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers want everyone to know that inclusion, acceptance, and appreciation are the most powerful tools in overcoming divisiveness, ridicule, and hatred.” – Pete Teller, Counselor

Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers pose with the
Harold Schnitzer Spirit of Unity Award

Harold Schnitzer Spirit of Unity Award

The Leslie Peer Helpers are the proud recipients of the 2013, 2015, and 2017-2019 Harold Schnitzer Spirit of Unity Awards.

These awards are given out annually to ten middle & high school peace, human rights, and/or conflict resolution clubs from applicants all across the state of Oregon.

Leslie’s Peer Helpers were chosen for their outstanding work for initiating peace and service projects in their school and community with the intent to make our world both a safer and a better place for all.

The Spirit of Unity Award is offered through a grant from the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation to the Wholistic Peace Institute’s (WPI) Student Peace Education & Leadership Program.

The goal of WPI is to work to develop future peacemakers who can take their place alongside previous Nobel Peace Laureates.

21st Annual National Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Week

Pete Teller & Leslie Middle School Students join peers from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and 25 other countries worldwide in committing to the Purple Hands Pledge®

The nine students each wrote speeches and shared from their hearts about what they would change to make the world a better place.

Their thoughts and ideas are both profound and thought-provoking considering today’s world.

Child Abuse Prevention Rally — Oregon State Capitol
Leslie Middle Schol Peer Helpers – April 2017

Leslie Peer Helpers participated in the Annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Kick-Off event on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum spoke about the State’s efforts to eliminate child abuse and protect Oregon kids
Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau spoke and introduced the guests
Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron spoke about the county’s work to improve the lives of children and youth
The Leslie Middle School Peer Helpers led the audience in taking the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Pledge
Fabiana Lopez & Kosumi Tellez began with having the audience recite the pledge in Spanish followed by Ava Lomax who then led everyone in English
Leslie Peer Helpers held the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting official Pledge banner adjacent to the speaker’s podium during the entire event.
Afterwards, everyone planted pinwheels in a pinwheel garden to represent that all children deserve a safe and happy childhood.
Salem Electric placed blue ribbons on the Blue Ribbon Tree with each ribbon representing a confirmed case of child abuse in Marion County.
The tree is a solemn reminder that there were 10,402 confirmed cases of child abuse in Oregon in 2015.
Students were well received and interacted with everyone by handing out Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting wristbands and stickers.