Certified peer specialists have many roles at Perry Wellness Center. These individuals have dealt with mental illness or substance abuse in their own lives and received specialized training in helping others on their paths to recovery. CPS staff serve as role models, instructors, and morale boosters for the peers who attend the center.
Each day, certified peer specialists lead peer group sessions on a variety of topics. On one recent morning, the topic was particularly relevant for the season: kindness in giving and appreciation in receiving.
One peer summarized what he had learned about accepting gifts from others: “Whenever we receive a gift, no matter how big or small, we must remember that the gift giver took time to select a gift, pay for it, and deliver it to us. We need to be appreciative of the gifts and the thought behind it.”
CPS Sarah Teal led the group and explained the choice of topic. “We make an effort to discuss topics relative to the season,” she said. “In spring and summer, we talk about sports and competition. With the Christmas holidays, our message to peers is about kindness, goodness, and appreciation.”
She continued, “The group’s involvement was good, and they expressed their appreciation for all of the good things at Perry Wellness Center.”
In the photo above, Sara Teal leads a group discussion with socially distanced and masked peers and staff.