Exploring Healthy relationships


Born: November 25, 2015

Purpose: Support networks are one of the biggest protective factors in the lives of young people.  Buddy educates about the importance of healthy relationships.

Current Location: Mount Nittany Middle School Library,  656 Brandywine Drive, State College, PA 16801

Created by:  Delta and RIT program students in collaboration with Mel Forkner Lesher, Mark Pilato, Chris Bittner, Nancy Vicere and Marisa Vicere

Sponsored by: State College Area School District


“Life is all about connections and relationships. Healthy ones let us feel great about ourselves and help inspire us.” – MNMS student

Exploring healthy relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships is an important part of life at all ages, but especially among youth and adolescents.  Studies have shown that a sense of belonging with both peers and family members is a strong protective factor which can decrease the likelihood of potentially harmful behaviors such as substance abuse, dropping out of school, and dangerous or violent behaviors.

Working together to build a Stomper

Through a specially designed curriculum and with the help of expert speakers, students participated in discussions and activities focused on the elements of healthy relationships with friends, family and even oneself.  The students also learned about what we can do about bullying, the importance of respect, and positive ways to communicate.

Mount Nittany Middle School participants named this Stomper, “Buddy,” reflecting the importance of being there for one another.

Our discussions:

What is a healthy relationship?

Relationships are an important part of our lives. The connections we make can help us through difficult times and also celebrate the great times. However, relationships are not always easy.

A healthy relationship builds us up and has a foundation of trust, respect, and honesty. It allows us to be ourselves and to have independent thoughts.

There are many types of relationships; ones with friends, family, community members, teachers, etc. Each relationship will add something different to our lives.

One thing remains consistent though, and that is we should always feel safe in a relationship.

How to maintain a healthy relationship:

  • Speak up! It’s best to talk about how you are feeling, rather than letting things build up inside you
  • Have mutual respect
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Be supportive to one another
  • Offer encouragement and reassurance. Work to build each other up
  • Respect privacy. Healthy relationships require space
  • Be yourself
  • Have independent thoughts
  • Remain true to your values and beliefs  

Types of relationships:

  • ​Parents
  • Siblings
  • Extended Family
  • Friends
  • Teachers
  • Pets
  • Community
  • Work groups
  • Romantic


Relationships by Claire, MNMS Student


I’ve been in and out of them.​
A healthy relationship is something where you don’t need to be scared of the other person.
A healthy relationship is something where you don’t feel victimized or uncomfortable around them.
A healthy relationship should make you feel like you are the most important thing to someone for the period of time that they’re with you.
A healthy relationship is something that should make you happy.
But – a healthy relationship IS NOT a relationship where everything is perfect.
In fact, a “perfect” relationship is probably the most unhealthy of them all.
If you don’t argue or don’t disagree on anything, then it means that you’re hiding something from the other person, which can result in a terrible ending to what you once had.
If you let everything boil up inside you: everything you wanted to say, but didn’t want to start an argument, just remember the place that’s holding all those feelings isn’t going to hold it all.
One day, everything – everything that you had bottled up is going to explode.
Things are going to come out that you never thought you would say to them before.
It’ll change everything.
Remember that perfect relationships aren’t perfect at all


I’ve been in and out of them.
Healthy relationships are something that shouldn’t always be positive.
The two people in one don’t have to be the same.
Difference is crucial.
Just imagine, two best friends, both on competitive sports teams.
This sport they play is the biggest part of their life, really.
This sport is so important to them, and both of them will want to be the best.
They would hate to be outshone by anyone – let alone someone so close to them, right?
This causes tension.
This causes anger.
This causes a need to beat them, let alone how much they mean to you.
That’s not healthy, is it?
Difference is crucial.
Difference is a test.
Would you be able to embrace somebody’s differences?
Would you be supportive of what they do, even if you wouldn’t ever do something like it?
Could you accept the fact that they don’t like what you love?
The ability to cope with the fact that someone is different than you are is as crucial as the differences themselves.
Remember that before you try to change to get someone to like you.

People set traps.

Don’t let yourself fall into one.

Buddy, our Mount Nittany Middle School Stomper was made possible through the generous support of State College Area School District, Mount Nittany Middle School, and our partners.

Our Artists: Chris Bittner, Mel Forkner Lesher, Marisa Vicere, Nancy Vicere

Curriculum Development: Marisa Vicere

Mount Nittany Middle School Counselors: Linda Brown, Robert Fox, Doug Romig

Our Partners: Pam Monk, Playwright and Journalist; Dr. Peter Montminy, Psychologist; Carol Lindsey, Drum Circle Leader; Amelia McGinnis, LCSW; Mary Edwin, Former School Counselor; Kevin Duquette, Former School Counselor; Ali Turley, Youth Service Bureau; Rhonda Stern, Art Therapist; Vicki Giulian, LSW; Dr. Rachel Love, Psychologist






Hi Friend!

I was created by the Mount Nittany Middle School Students, to spread awareness for building and maintaining healthy relationships, and how it is an important part of everyone’s lives, at all ages. I’m curious, how do you set boundaries when it comes to the relationships in your life?

Love, Buddy

More Stompers


Centre County Mental Health Organizations


Julian Woods Community


PA Youth Move and Systems of Care Partnership

There is help. There is hope.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, please reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text PA to 741741

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Trans Life Line: 1-877-565-8860