GMSA has been partnering with Provider Agencies in Vermont and the VT Care Partners to explore developing a VT Peer Mentoring program. Peer mentoring is when a person with a disability hires or asks another person with a disability to support them to learn something new or speak up about something. For instance: someone who has strong independent living skills might teach someone who is less experienced about how to build independent living skills they might need to live on their own. We are also exploring what other states like Michigan are doing in the areas of Peer Mentoring. One area where peer mentoring could be key is helping people with disabilities to live healthy lifestyles.
What is Peer Mentoring?
Peer mentoring is a person with a disability teaching another person with a disability how to do something. The peer doing the teaching is called a mentor. Mentors can be paid or unpaid. Mentors are role-models not supervisors. They encourage a peer to make their own decisions. Over time both people grow and feel stronger.
Members of Green Mountain Self-Advocates said peer mentoring is:
- “Giving advice but don’t control the situation.”
- “A peer understands both what you need done and how you need to do it.”
- “To have people to talk to and get support from.”
- “Peer support is sometimes more valuable than support from family or staff.”
“To me peer mentoring is about giving hope to others who have challenges similar to my own.”