Tag: Learn & Earn

Data shows students are very satisfied with Peer2Peer, Advocates programs

Data gathered at the end of the spring 2022 semester show that students said they gained skills and were satisfied with Lost&Found’s Peer2Peer and Advocates programs.

“All the great feedback we got about the session topics was wonderful,” said Melissa Renes, Senior Prevention Specialist, who coordinates the Advocates program. “It was reassuring to hear that we were fulfilling the expectations students had and they were learning more than when they started.”

One of the positive outcomes Renes noted was the creation of a safe space to discuss difficult topics.

“Talking about mental health can be difficult, especially to ask questions that may have been stifled in the past,” she said. “Students are eager and wanting to discuss these topics, so creating the safe space for students to talk openly about their questions and concerns, and to learn knowledge, was important, and we achieved that.”

Another success was the way students completed advocacy projects and the end of the program. “The students that completed advocacy projects did so eagerly, thoughtfully and really expanded their knowledge and skills in the projects they chose.  Some took on quite a big project and completed it wonderfully,” Renes said.

Renes hopes these programs can be expanded to other campuses, and that more students will sign up on both current and new campuses. “We have some great Advocates who are educating their fellow students about how great the program is, so using their testimonial is better than any pamphlet.”

See the data below, or click on the images at right to open downloadable PDFs.


Lost&Found Peer2Peer Program 2021-22 Data

South Dakota State University & University of South Dakota

The program brought together student mentors, who got guided practice helping others, with mentees, who are students who need a little support navigating college life. Mentor pairs met two times a month, a minimum of eight times over the course of a semester.

25 mentor pairs participated during the 2021-22 school year.


An image showing student evaluation of program. On aspects of friendliness, knowledge, openness, and flexibility, students were very satisfied.

What were some important things you learned from your time as a mentee? (selected responses)

  • Getting more confident about myself 
  • Ways to make the most with my time, and to not blame myself when things go wrong.
  • Starting to think that I could open up more and trust people but it is ok that I don’t fully

What have you enjoyed most about the program? (selected responses)

  • Their flexibility where we can still be part of the program while doing our personal stuff. I have improved a lot in term communicating with others and dealing with unusual situations. 
  • The advice from my mentor helped me a lot.
  • I have enjoyed having someone who is older and more experienced on campus help me out because I know that at one point in time they were just like me. 
  • I enjoyed having a person to vent to, that’s been nice. 
  • Having someone to talk to that is around the same age as me and has more open times to meet and talk.


Student evaluation of program data from mentors. On aspects of friendliness, knowledge, openness, flexibility, and listening skills, students were very satisfied.

What were some important things you learned from your time as a mentor? (selected responses)

  • How impactful an hour a week can be on a person. 
  • I think I just learned more about my mindset and how I myself reflect on my life experiences. It’s beneficial for me to have this reflection time and think about how far I’ve come, too! 
  • I feel I learned how to problem solve and think on my feet and evaluate sources for useful solutions and advice.
  • Be open to different forms of communication. Not everyone has the same experiences throughout college.

Any additional comments? (selected responses)

  • I loved seeing the growth and progress (mentee’s name) has made throughout the semester. 
  • I enjoyed my time in the program, and I’m thankful to have been a part of such cool change!
  • I was so grateful to be a part of this program and am looking forward to doing it again next semester! 


Lost&Found Advocates Program 2021-22 Data

Dakota Wesleyan University, University of South Dakota, & Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota)

The program included 5 mental health training sessions + an advocacy project, if a student chose to do one.

36 students participated in the 2021-22 school year (14 from DWU, nine from USD, and nine from Carlson).

17 students attended all five sessions (five more attended four sessions).

17 students completed advocacy projects (5K, NAMI Night, discussion roundtable, Greek Life event, presentations, art installation).

Student self-evaluation table. Students said they increased on their knowledge of mental health from 6.09 to 8.38 and in their confidence on their ability to advocate for mental health issues from 6.91 to 8.54.


Lake Area Technical College & Dakota Wesleyan University’s Learn & Earn Program

The program at LATC included 3 mental health training sessions facilitated in person in a seminar format. The program for DWU’s Learn & Earn students was 5 mental health training sessions facilitated virtually. 

30 LATC students participated in the 2021-22 school year.

9 DWU Learn & Earn students participated in the 2021-22 school year.

Student self-evaluation data. Students said they increased in their knowledge of mental health from 7.1 to 8.66 as a result of the program. (on a scale of 1-10)

What did you like about the program? (selected responses)

  • Understanding difficult issues (i.e. suicide, depression, etc.) and using that information to help people in close proximity.
  • I really enjoyed the ability to talk to people who knew more about this topic than I did.
  • I enjoyed all of the statistics and resources that were shared!
  • That they talked to us openly and told us not to be afraid to talk to someone we trust.
  • I enjoyed the variety of topics that were covered and how it all tied back to mental health. The information provided portrayed how complex mental health and suicide prevention is. 
  • I liked how open it was and how comfortable it was. 
  • I liked that I was able to meet new people and expose myself to new opportunities on campus. 
  • Having you guys get us engaged 
  • Going into relationships
  • Learning more about boundaries and being more self aware
  • It felt like a safe space to talk about your experience and connect it to the curriculum and learn to help others and speak on hard issues. 
  • Learning more about just taking care of yourself 
  • All the recommendations and the reassurance that we have help 
  • It talked about topics that are important to everybody.

Lost&Found develops mental health curriculum for Learn & Earn students

Images of slides from the Lost&Found Advocates curriculum presentation

This spring, students who are part of Dakota Wesleyan University’s Learn & Earn Program have learned from a mental health curriculum developed by Lost&Found.

Education & Advocacy Manager Courtney Young wrote the curriculum and presented it to the students over five monthly sessions via videoconferencing link.  

“It has been rewarding to engage with the Learn & Earn students over the past several weeks,” Young said. “We know the transition to college and adulthood can be stressful, but together we can help students learn to navigate their own mental health.” 

This curriculum is an alternative way of presenting content from the Lost&Found Advocates program. The L&F Advocates program trains students to better understand and care for their own mental health, equips students with tools for resilience and advocacy, and reduces the stigma of mental health in their campus communities. Topics include defining mental health and resilience, understanding coping skills and self-care, reflecting on relationships and ways to set healthy boundaries, and how to find help or help others to improve mental health. 

The Learn & Earn program is a 16-month program in Pierre that allows DWU students to earn an associate’s degree with the option to complete a bachelor’s degree. It’s a pathway to landing a professional career that consists of hands-on learning experiences, real-world simulations, and individual and group projects paired with specialized speakers. This program does not require testing or traditional grading scales, making it an appeal to students who don’t thrive in the traditional learning environment. 

At $18,000, the Learn & Earn program is more affordable than most two-year programs in the United States. Students are matched with a professional career coach for the duration of the program, who mentors them and provides guidance and structured support. 

The Learn & Earn program allows students the opportunity to gain professional work experience in both paid and unpaid internships while earning credit/professional credentials in their desired industry. Fields of study and certification include Business Administration, Social Media Marketing, Project Management, Foundations of Social and Human Services, Data Analytics, and Insurance and Banking. 

In addition to this work through the Learn & Earn Program, two other Lost&Found student programs are available at Dakota Wesleyan University—a campus chapter, which has been active since 2019, and the Advocates program, which started in 2021.  

For more information about the Learn & Earn program, go to Learn & Earn (dwu.edu) 

For additional information about the Lost&Found Advocates program, go to L&F Advocates Program | Lost&Found (resilienttoday.org).