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Author Topic: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs  (Read 1704 times)

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Offline poet

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  • Posts: 934
  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« on: November 11, 2006, 07:59:45 AM »
My a.s.o. has reportedly been talking around setting up a mentoring program for over a year.  It has gotten far enough along to find an organisation in Boston which, if there were at least 10 people interested, would come to the Cape to train them.  Concerns?  A social/caseworker has expressed reasonable concern that she knows people only so well, especially if they are new.  If she were responsible for matching mentor with mentee, even after training, ground rules, etc., couldn't something go wrong between the two and wouldn't that come right back to her desk as referee?  Which I would agree is a real concern, that no matter how clear the lines are drawn, if you provide two people with contact info., you can't control well enough what happens from that point and any a.s.o. must be first concerned about itself and its survival.  A client has said that we wouldn't talk about drugs, healthcare, etc.  We would have a program for someone who needed someone along to his/her first meeting at the a.s.o. or a lift to an appointment (which sounds less mentor program and more buddy program along the lines of G.M.H.C.).  I have pointed everyone in the direction of poz's own mentor option which, to date, has netted no mentees for me as potential mentor, which may or may not indicate something about the concept and the needs.  The plus is that with poz's system, the onus falls back on disclaimers and poz and not an a.s.o.

Any comments would be helpful.  Do or did you find yourself in need of a mentor, a buddy, a peer support group?  What would/did it look like to you?  Have you been involved as a mentor, as someone setting up a program?  How did it evolve?  What precautions were taken, if any, with, say, contact?  I should add that the group discussing this topic agreed that contact made between two participants at an a.s.o. meeting are encouraged and considered neutral, being made between two consenting adults.  The next level is reached when the a.s.o. sponsors such contact more directly as with a mentor/mentee program.  Thanks! Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Moffie65

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Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 10:05:59 AM »
You would drop this one on a Saturday morning!

Wow, this is what I was talking about when I said this is a Support Forum, and it is chock full of fabulous resource material.  It just so happens that I am in the midst of creating the first ever HIV/AIDS Peer Support Group in our community.  Finding a rent free location was the greatest challenge so far, but we just firmed that up and so now we are trying to convince the clients that "Peer" means HIV+ and not an Hispanic Housewife, Retired Widows or other confusing issues.  It looks like the largest hurdle will be in helping them to understand that this is simply a support group to help them deal with HIV.  Funny isn't it, that when we are creating something for the first time and not doing so in a Metropolitan Area of large size; we then are faced with issues and details that nobody would have ever thought of.

I will be watching this thread very closely, and I do have some further thoughts on the quandry that you illustrate here, with the Mentor versus Support Group comparrison.  VEERRRY Interesting.

In Love,
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline chemistry001

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    • http://www.mygaydar.com/chemistry001
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2006, 10:14:56 AM »
I've had quite a bit of experience of mentoring, but in the educational field. While studying at University i was a big part of a mentoring scheme that helped dis-advantaged school children.
Not quite the same as your looking at, but we still had rules/code of conduct that we had to follow. If you think it would be of any help then i would be happy to tell you bout what we did.

Mentoring plays such a huge part in many peoples lives, so well done in getting something set up.

Paul xx
Diagnosed 01/08/06
CD4-9, VL->500,000, CD4% 1
Started on Sustiva/combivir 22/08/06 changed to kivexa 18/09/06
02/10/06
CD4-50, VL-1496, CD4% 5
04/12/06
CD4-112, VL-125, CD4% 7.5
22/02/07
CD4-121, VL-<50, CD4% 9
29/05/07
CD4-125, VL-71,(re-done 149), CD4% 11
25/09/07
CD4 -231, VL-74, CD4% 15
Cant remember the next few dates
17/01/08  Kaletra and Truvada
CD4 - 281, VL-115
06/03/08
CD4 - 287, VL-178

Offline Jnm594

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  • Posts: 111
  • Fight! Fight! Fight the Good Fight!
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2006, 04:34:17 PM »
I am acutally mentoring a current social work student as part of a program at my local ASO and I have found it very enlightening. The goal is to enlighten the students to what they should expect and give them some real life lessons on being a caseworker in whatever social work field they go into.

I have found it beneficial to myself as well because I get a feeling of satisfaction explaining the ins and outs to them and they have been resonsive hearing it from a different perspective.

When I first tested positive I would have given my left one for someone to be my mentor but in my area there wasn't anyone available to do that. So I had to do a lot of research and learning on my own and seek out whatever I could find (i.e. driving 60 miles one way to the nearest support group, etc.) Had a mentor been available I would have taken advantage of that oppurtunity without question.

Since there are no current local support groups, and very, very little in the way of anything social here I would be the first one to champion any kind of support for others so they don't feel alone, ever.

I can understand the concerns of liabliity from the caseworkers and playing referee is not a position they would want to be in but at the same time is it worth worrying more about the what if's instead of the why not's? Is it fair to let those concerns stand in the way of helping even one scared person? A reasonable person with a minimum of understanding of limits, boundaries, etc. should be able to handle it and who better to help another person with what they are experiencing but someone who has been through it already.

Just my .02 and thanks for a great topic and good luck!

When it gets hard I always listen to my favorite song of all time..........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJEYu3KgWCE

Offline Jnm594

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  • Posts: 111
  • Fight! Fight! Fight the Good Fight!
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2006, 04:35:42 PM »
Someday I'm going to learn how to use spellcheck, Geez...Sorry for the bad spelling!
When it gets hard I always listen to my favorite song of all time..........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJEYu3KgWCE

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: re: peer support, mentoring programs
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2006, 05:47:27 PM »
(Please note that I fixed my spelling error above.  Sorry everyone!)  Thanks for the replies to date.  I should add (having come back from working with the mentally challenged for the day and avoiding, for the moment, my medication admisitration reading) that one simple solution would be to have the mentoring done in house, meaning that the conversation would, informally, be available for hearing which would lessen the likelihood of something going offtopic from the agreed to boundaries.  The office is small enough to allow this.  Option two would be to have computer terminals available in the two Cape offices as well as listings of local libraries for free access to this very website.  That's for mentoring.  Going to support groups, there is one in one town which has a large enough population to support it.  Apparently there could be in my town, after hours, the key given to someone (non-administrator).  But as any of you who have run groups knows (and as Moffie has reminded us) a support group (non-closed) is only as good as its balance.  I ran a drop-in group which I tried to keep in balance between newly diagnosed and regulars.  It's a trick to do.  While the other town has a gay male population, my suspicion is that here the group would be more mixed, male, female, gay, straight and that, too, can cause imbalance.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Eldon

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Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2006, 07:18:43 PM »
Hey Poet,

Moffie is definitely the one you would want to converse with concerning support groups. As far as mentoring goes, that is an excellent idea to give them access to this website as well as www.poz.com on their site there is a section on mentoring.

Keep us posted on how this unfolds.


Make the BEST of each Day!

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2006, 08:10:23 PM »
We have a new Peer Coaching program starting now.  I have been told of it's development at the Planning Counsil meetings but not part of the planning process.

Our ASO, Face to Face is offering a program which centers on individual instruction on how to identify, set and achieve personal life goals.  This is a natural connection to the Community Reconnect program which I am one of the founding members.  In our community the Peer Coaches are mostly graduates of the AIDS Leadership Academy which is organized through Food for Thought, our AIDS Food Bank.

In our program the Peer Coaches will meet weekly with the individual either in-home, by phone, email or whatever is most convenient.  They are offering support in setting realistic goals in their lives, outline steps to achieve these goals, take effective action and create a momentum.  This is a very promising program.  For a client to get involved with this service, they would need to call the Volunteer  Coordinator at the ASO.  I wish you the best on the Cape.  Have the best day
Michael

www.Commission-on-AIDS.org

Offline IzPoz

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  • God, grant me the serenity...
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2006, 11:39:14 PM »
Win,

Here in FTL, it's not easy to find a peer group that's not held at times that are impossible for me to make, or not in a bad neighborhood, or even a hetero group.  There is one hetero group I know of, but it's too far for me to try to go to.

I've found myself lately wanting to reach out to my peers, share my experiences, and to just feel like I'm not doing this alone now that my husband is no longer here.

I suppose that's why I've begun participating in forums and seeing where I fit in.
The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly. ~ Chesterton G. K.

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2006, 05:40:13 AM »
Working backwards (because it's before coffee) to IzPoz, you remind us that this is like AA groups, that it's not enough to have, if we are talking about peer support groups, that is, 'a' peer support group.  The group or groups need to mesh with the populations which may vary, the times people have time, the location which is reachable or for which the a.s.o. provides transportation.  Thanks! To Michael, also thanks.  You are picking up the process.  To Eldon, finally, yes, except that in my single test, having my profile in the mentoring area for a month: nothing.  On the other hand, having computers available to access these forums and all of their sections, given that you get a worldwide perspective: brilliant, no?  The only missing factor/angle is local.  Where, locally, the foodbanks are.  Where locally the healthcare providers are.  So I am all for making use of the forums and only patching in the local.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline newt

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Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2006, 07:36:39 PM »
I think, I think, I think....

I think peer support means one HIV-positive person to another, and they often wanna talk 1-on-1 about life, the universe and everything, share their views on treatment, sex, disclosure, how and when etc, & talk about life some more, football, films, family, holidays, which drug rehab is a good un n stuff, as they see fit, n the social workers needs to keep out or else it don't work. If ASOs and their staff can't treat us like adults then all is lost from the start.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2006, 05:25:27 AM »
I agree, Matt.  With a but.  :)  Yes, a number of clients/consumers (as one is termed) want to ability, via caseworkers, to be able to talk about the birds, the bees, life, death, hiv, work, etc. with other clients/consumers.  As long as the information being passed between them cannot be said to be under the umbrella of the a.s.o., that's great.  A caseworker has raised, and I would agree with her raising, that when a conversation leads to claims, when a 'buddy' encounter leads to theft (of cash, of property) which, if we compare this to home health aides coming into someone's home and which is why such home health aides are bonded by the firm sending them out, we have something which means well, but could come back to the doorstep of the a.s.o./caseworker. 

If we keep any 'buddy' program really general and not seeming to come from the a.s.o. there is protection of it.  If we try a mentor program using a phone which is located at the a.s.o. or which uses resources such as this or have a drop-in support group which is run by someone on behalf of the a.s.o. during a fixed time at a safe location such as the a.s.o. which allows participants to exchange phone numbers to be buddies for each other, these are ways to do the needed service without coming back to haunt the a.s.o. Ditto using computers at the a.s.o. and public libraries (all free to use) for this resource plus a section on the a.s.o.'s own website which discusses things of local interest, then we have another way of meeting the needs.

I agree with you that we should be able to meet and greet.  As long as we meet and greet outside of the a.s.o. that's perfect.  When the a.s.o. can, in some way, be said to have brought the parties together directly, we have problems which, in my opinion, have to be thought through first.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Jeffreyj

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Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2006, 09:49:36 AM »
I've been to two HIV support groups in Phoenix. I find them pretty damned useless, as everyone invariably uses the group as a dating service. Most disappointing. AIDSMED is far more helpful.

No contest really.
Positive since 1985

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: re: peer suuport, mentoring programs
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2006, 01:56:44 PM »
Now I would ask the question are the groups closed or open?  The group I ran was a drop-in, which is why the reasons guys came to it went from 'I just found out' to 'here's what went on this week with my health' (this being pre-cocktail).  It's a stretch and difficult to keep on course as facilitator, to keep everyone happy that they got something from the time spent, that 'too much time' was not given over to the newly diagnosed and that 'too much time' was not alloted to the regulars or a regular.   A closed group would mean that it's the same people each time, not open to newcomers so, in theory, a facilitator is better able to get the group from point a to point b.  This, of course, also assumes with a support group that the facilitator is trying to move the group from point a to point b as opposed to simply unlocking the space and staying out of things. 

It would be great to hear from Jeffreyj why he went to the support groups, what he wanted from them and perhaps why he feels that they didn't offer what he needed while offering chances to date.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

 


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