Rachel Alston and Kimberly Coverly: the Helping People


Bethany Eckstrom


Credit: Connie Rogers-Lantrip. Used with permission.In order to recognize the self-esteem issues common for middle school students, seniors Rachel Alston and Kimberly Coverly have brought a support group to Cabrillo Middle School’s sixth grade female students.

In this after-school support group, Alston and Coverly lead nine girls in activities that focus on body image, stress-relief, building confidence, and communication skills. They have led projects like creating collages out of magazine clippings.

“We both struggled with self-esteem in middle school, so we thought that together we could tackle a lot of their problems,” Coverly said.

Once a week, Alston and Coverly visit the group after school. The students’ enthusiasm and appreciation for the meetings are clear, since they regularly ask if the sessions can be longer or more frequent.

“I wish when I was in middle school, I had something like that,” Alston said. “They’re such sweet girls, so it’s cool to see them grow and kind of bond with each other.”

They facillitate organized “truth circles” that allow the girls to give and receive advice about issues in their lives.

“It’s given friendships between the girls that can show them that no one’s alone in this,” Alston said. “They can have that support group that they necessarily may not have at home or at school, so this after-school program has kind of given them the tools to go through middle school and high school with a good self-esteem.”

Alston and Coverly have focused their group on sixth graders, because of the difficult transition from elementary school to middle school. However, they feel confident that once the girls move on to seventh grade, they will be equipped with all the tools they need to maintain a good self-image.

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