Peer Education - Project TRUST

The work you started with TOUCH knows no boundaries. You have changed the world. The High School Peer Educators become protectors of children wherever their life takes them, resources for their own children, and of other parents. Many of them choose a career that includes prevention/support or education occupations directly as a result of their participation.
So am I committed to Illusion’s Peer Education Program? You betcha!
— Jean Bratvold, Peer Education Advisor for 25 years in Bagley, Minnesota

The Peer Education Program has successfully broken through and transformed the fear that often surrounds difficult and controversial social issues.

Established in 1981 Illusion's Peer Education was one of the first of its kind established in the country. Project Trust, Illusion Theater’s innovative and award-winning Peer Education Program, gives agencies, schools and other groups the right to perform Illusion Theater's educational plays for their own communities. Illusion Theater has reached over 500,ooo children, adolescents and adults at 30 sites in 24 states. 

The most popular Peer Education model is TRUST: Teaching, Reaching Using Students and Theater

At TRUST sites, high school students perform Illusion’s educational plays for the elementary, middle and high schools in their communities.

Illusion Peer Education Program is dedicated to bringing the transforming power of theater to youth; to use youth to youth education to address important personal and social issues; to empower students, teachers and communities to deliver important prevention messages; to use a compelling theater-based education model that fosters the healthy development of the Peer Educators actors and their audiences, and empower them to become change agents in their community. Peer Education sites receive scripts, training, performance direction, evaluation and on-going technical assistance from the Theater’s staff of trained professionals.

Twenty eight percent of Minnesota school districts have used Illusion Theater's performances as part of their curricula. This year's Peer Education Partnerships include Fairmont, Blue Earth, Harbor City School in Duluth, MN, Lincoln Nebraska, Staten Island, New York and Juneau, Alaska. 

Our Lincoln TRUST Team performed 52 times to approximately 8,200 students, parents and professionals. It has been a terrific learning experience for the student actors and has allowed us to take our message of violence prevention statewide.
— Susan Letheby, Project Director Project Trust, Lincoln Nebraska.

Peer Education Scripts available

The play centers around eight high school students running their own radio show and website. These students portray the stations DJs, engineer and a cast of comedy players for the radio’s wild and wacky skits and routines. A key element of the play is the documentary footage of real people’s stories filmed expressly for CLEAR the AIR. Also included is a soundtrack of music for various segments. (Grades 5-9)

All the frankness, fun and failure that happens in high school comes out in this interactive performance piece built from stories of older teens who tell their truths to younger teens— so the new teens entering high school can avoid some of the pitfalls the older students experienced. Over the course of the performance the teen audience gets to interact and discuss how they would act if they were in the situation, deepening the impact and long-term benefits of the work. 

This program addresses eating healthy and exercising involving youth and their families. Key messages include get up and get active, stop the Pop, Turn off the TV,  Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies a Day. The play includes scenes, music and dance. (Grades 3-7)



Explains the continuum of touches from good to confusing to bad – and teaches children personal body safety protection and prevention skills. Scenes address topics such as good and playful touch, bullying, cyber-bullying, cat fishing, cyber impersonation, and sexual abuse (non-touch and touch). (Grades 2-5)

Focuses on ways to channel anger constructively and prevent violence and harassment. Scenes address topics such as name-calling, bullying, family violence, peer fighting, conflict resolution, racial and sexual harassment and sexual abuse. (Grades 3-6)

Deals with harassment and violence prevention. This play addresses issues of stereotypes, sexual and racial harassment, conflict resolution, eating disorders, dating violence, diversity and respect. (Grades 7-12)

For more information about  Illusion's Peer Education Program, contact Karen Gundlach, Director of Education.

I have been involved with TOUCH and The Albert Lea TRUST Team for many years. Using theater to teach by example and entertainment is a unique and effective way to educate and prepare children to face the many dangers in this world. We wish they wouldn’t have to face them but realistically we know that they will.
We all have a tendency to throw up our hands and wonder what we can do to fix whatever it is in our society that has gone so wrong. There are few opportunities to “fix” before something happens. This TOUCH play and our TRUST Troupe provide one of those rare opportunities.
— Sue Jorgensen, Director Albert Lea TRUST Troupe
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