RESPECT InstituteRecently, nine peers and two Perry Wellness Center staff members attended two days of training by the RESPECT Institute. The training, held at the Americus-Sumter Chamber of Commerce, was designed to assist individuals in telling their personal stories about mental illness and recovery.

The first day of training led to an assignment for peers to write out their stories. On day two, each individual took his or her turn at the podium, sharing the story with those assembled. Following each presentation, each participant offered three pieces of advice that were based upon their experience in recovery. The group then assisted each member in developing a clear message, including educational elements, so that others might also learn from their stories.

The accompanying training helped participants attain greater confidence in public speaking, as well as providing an opportunity for sharing dialogue among individuals who had experienced personal trauma in their lives.

The sessions were facilitated by RESPECT Institute Georgia creator Joel Slack and his assistant, Lindsey Sizemore. Staff members and monitors from PWC were Chelsea Hodges and Lezlie Poole.

 After each day’s session, peer and staff made the three-minute walk back to the Perry Wellness Center campus, sharing impressions of the day. In the above photo, Chelsea Hodges, left, and Lezlie Poole flank peers Nakia Rhona, Shanesha Edge, and Kaylon Holt on one such walk along Rees Park.

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