During National Volunteer Week, we’re taking a moment to celebrate an important group of volunteers here at Magee: Peer Mentors. Because of the Peer Mentor Program, people who are living with a life-changing disability have the opportunity to talk with someone with a similar disability who has not only adjusted but is living a good life again. When the unthinkable happens to someone, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a future. Peer mentors provide a picture of what is possible and share tips and resources that have helped them along the way.
The Peer Mentor Program at Magee consists of specially trained volunteers who have survived a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, or amputation and have learned to cope with their disability. Peers are matched based on level of injury, social situations, age, gender, marital status, recreational interests, and vocational experience.
The Addictions Mentor Program is designed to offer those who struggle with addiction issues the opportunity to talk with a specially-selected and trained person who has experience as an addictions advocate. This program is for in-patients only. There are also specialty areas for peers with experience in ostomies and wounds.
In addition to one-on-one mentors, the Peer Mentor Program also offers support in group settings:
- The SCI Family Peer Support Group – specially-trained families who have experienced the disability of a loved one. They share their experiences, insights, and coping strategies with those who are new to Magee and the spinal cord injury experience.
- The SCI Resource and Support Group provides opportunities for individuals with a spinal cord injury, as well as their family and friends, to interact and relate on a level where everyone “gets it.” Through discussions, resources are shared, support is given, and a great camaraderie is born.
- The Brain Injury Care Group – Specially-trained brain injury survivors, their families, and a clinical neuropsychologist provide support and education in a confidential environment.
- The Stroke Family Care Group consists of specially-trained survivors and their families. They share their experiences and offer needed information, resources, reassurance, and helpful, practical tips.
When patients and their families find hope in the Peer Mentor Program, their feedback speaks for itself. One caregiver says, “It’s good to be with others who can tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel.” Another participant says simply, “The Peer Mentor Program is a source for life.”