With my work at PEAR and in every successful group I’ve been part of I have worked with people, not for people, nor did they work for me. The concept of we rather than the individual is vital to collaboration. I find it important to consider who can do what and value everyone’s role. Hierarchies or top down structure are not as effective as a true group activity. At P:EAR youth are given guidance and provided advice, a "power structure" is present, based on experience and knowledge, but the activities and programs revolve around what the kids are interested in doing and enthusiastic about learning. Some people are in a position to give while others are in a position to receive certain things, but we are all in the position and have the obligation to allow and encourage those around us to feel comfortable, seek connection and aid growth.
While at PEAR the youth and the staff eat the same food. Eating together is a chance to connect and share our perspective. When we do so we are validated or asked to reconsider where we are coming from. Either way growth is happening for both parties.
In the education programs the youth teach each other to do things like run the coffee stand. The person managing the stand was at one point the one learning how to make the espresso. The more experienced youth is now passing down the knowledge but they are also still learning. The respect is mutual, without someone to teacher the teacher would not be learning the role they are in when teaching. They work together to reach a goal.