Positive Peer Culture (PPC) — Building Strengths in Youth


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PPC is a peer-helping model designed to improve social competence and cultivate strengths in youth. Care and concern for others is the defining element of PPC. —California Evidence-Based Clearing House

PPC provides advanced research-based strategies for creating positive climates in schools, juvenile justice, residential treatment, group homes, and community settings. Youth who are not bonded to adults often gravitate to other disconnected peers and engage in high-risk behavior. Punishment only fuels conflict with authority and builds a subculture of bullying and negative peer influence. PPC is specifically designed to build respectful relationships and enlist young people in prosocial helping roles. Co-authored by Larry Brendtro and Beate Kreisle, this course draws on decades of research and practice with troubled and traumatized youth. Key goals for this course are to develop inspired staff teams, engage youth as peer helpers, and ensure program fidelity. Assessment instruments are provided for both staff and youth to identify Circle of Courage Strengths and Supports in young persons and to evaluate progress in creating Cultures of Respect where all young persons can grow and thrive.

PPC Course Learning Objectives

  1. Identify Indigenous and Western knowledge about building egalitarian cultures of respect.
  2. Review research on group dynamics and peer influence in autocratic or democratic settings.
  3. Use Circle of Courage principles and strategies for teaching youth:
    • Trust: Restoring Belonging
    • Talent: Resolving Problems
    • Power: Sharing Responsibility
    • Purpose: Serving Others
  4. Develop cohesive, participatory staff teams that focus on needs of youth.
  5. Explore strategies for conducting formal and informal peer-helping groups.
  6. Maintain program quality with indices of positive and problematic groups.


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