Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Peer Support at MCIL

MCIL puts peer support and information on the road.

By Janice Craven, MCIL Independent Living Team

Janice Craven
Since coming to MCIL full-time in February 2014, I have had the opportunity to be involved in 2 very exciting projects. Previously, I was the Assistant Director of a Pre-School for 16 years, so working at MCIL was a new and exciting challenge for me.

The Peer-To-Peer Mentoring Project is funded by TennCare as part of the federal Money Follows the Person program.  The purpose of Peer-To-Peer is to Transition CHOICES Members out of Nursing Facilities and into the Community. Peer mentors, who also have a disability, work with the members pre- and post-transition to assist them in learning or brushing up on “survival skills” they will need to live in their own home.

Members are required to complete the CHOICES training and may also choose to learn more about Budgeting Your Money, Housing 101, Organizing and Prioritizing Your Life, Managing Your Supports, How To Be Your Own Best Advocate and Stress Management. In keeping with Independent Living philosophy of “nothing about us without us,” peer mentors are trained to be a trustworthy friend to walk the path to Independence alongside the Member.

Members are expected to actively participate in making decisions about how they want to live and work with the Mentor to make their dream of living independently come true!

In September 2014, MCIL ON THE ROAD began what we thought was going to be rather daunting task of doing outreach into the under-served areas of Millington and Tipton County. There are many people in these areas who have a wide range of disabilities but minimal resources available to meet their needs. There is little or no knowledge of the few supports in place and often no transportation available to use the services.

The time I have spent “on the road” has flown by and no doubt there is much work yet to be done. In the coming months, MCIL will continue to work toward helping the residents in these close-knit, often forgotten areas to acquire and develop the skills needed to live where and how they wish. MCIL ON THE ROAD has been met with great enthusiasm and support from many organizations in Millington and Tipton County.  We look forward to establishing more relationships with those who share our dream of inclusion in all aspects of Community Life for people who have any type of disability.

I recently attended a meeting with others who work primarily with people who have a disability. At the conclusion, the facilitator stated that what we are doing if not a JOB but rather a CALLING. I can honestly say this is how I’ve felt from the first day I had the privilege of becoming a member of the MCIL team.

The Road to Freedom Bus