The SCI Peer Mentoring Program matches recently injured persons with trained mentors who are living successfully with SCI. The mentors, whom we have trained, provide support and guidance as the newly affected persons transition from the rehabilitation unit to the community. We pair mentees are paired with mentors based on common background and interests, while the newly injured person is still an inpatient. After mentees are discharged, their mentors support them for at least six months by phone, email, or in person.
The following are goals of our program:
- Educate newly injured persons about the physical, medical, social, vocational, and psychological aspects of SCI
- Provide emotional support and guidance
- Provide information regarding community organizations and resources
- Offer models of successful community integration for individuals with recent SCI
- Give mentors opportunities to build self-esteem and enhance their quality of life through service to others
Since our inception, we have trained 135 peer mentors with SCI in 13 peer mentor training sessions. We have matched more than 300 persons with recent SCI with peer mentors. Our popular program enhances mentees’ sense of empowerment, increases their knowledge about SCI and community resources, and augments their ability to communicate with professional and family members. We work closely with the New York Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association where we recruit many peer mentors.
We have created a training manual for the Peer Mentoring program, as well as a manual to help other organizations and agencies develop SCI Peer Mentoring programs. The training manuals were created with the support of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
If you would like to become a mentor or participate in peer mentoring training or would like to be paired with a mentor, please contact Richard (Woody) Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.