A peer counselor is, by definition, a peer helper who is part of our integration team. Their goal is to assist our members in their rehabilitation process and their social needs accordingly. They meet people with spinal cord injuries in their environment to give them support and encourage them in their reintegration process.
They can offer:
- Emotional support: they listen to the member with empathy. They try to reduce the impact of challenging situations and encourage the member in the process of socialization.
- Personalised attention to each member: with a positive attitude, they acknowledge the member’s intrinsic value and can share their own qualities and successes.
- Practical support: the peer counselors can offer advice on a daily basis in order to help develop useful skills (how to organize the groceries, how to navigate safely, etc.). They can also offer support and advice in the necessary steps to a successful reintegration process (using adapted transport, adapting their vehicle, housing, etc.).
From their experience related to their own spinal cord injury, the volunteer peer counselors can help the member overcome obstacles and identify problems with the objective of stimulating his ability to move forward.
Active volunteer peer counselors:
Capitale-Nationale : Éric Gilbert
Eastern Townships : Valérie Guimond
Montérégie : Dominic Mercier
Laurentides : Martin Richer
Greater Montreal Area : Marie-Julie Dion (biography to come)
Objectives of this program:
To facilitate the realization of the role of MEMO-Qc regarding the rehabilitation and integration of our members at the beginning of their new lives, we wish to develop a presence and a source of support throughout the province of Quebec. We want to offer an equal quality of services and interventions throughout all regions of Quebec, from Montréal to Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean.
Specifically, we want to support anyone with a spinal cord injury throughout Quebec with respect to the principles of fairness and equality, and offer the appropriate support to our members to ensure quality integration. This will take place throughout the entire rehabilitation process, from the initial diagnosis in the hospital to their return to everyday life. Our main objective is to have volunteer peer counselors throughout Quebec and to be represented in all of the rehabilitation centres in the province.
Becoming a volunteer peer counselor:
Our peer counselors are volunteers who have completed at least one year post rehabilitation, and who are able to serve as examples for people with spinal cord injuries. They are recruited primarily by our integration counselors. In order to become volunteer peer counselors and be able to meet our member, they have to go through a phase of training by attending two workshops.
Our peer counselors are recruited according to the following criteria:
- They are living with a spinal cord injury;
- They have completed the rehabilitation process;
- They have lived in a stable state for at least one year;
- They are willing to share their personal story;
- They have an interest in supporting their peers and being role models for them;
- They have solid communication skills;
- They have an interest in activity organization;
- They are members of MEMO-Qc.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer peer counselor or if you want information about the program, please contact Vanessa-Anne Paré, Community organizer for Western Quebec (514 341-7272, ext. 233, or firstname.lastname@example.org); or with Édouard Boucher, Community organizer for Eastern Quebec (514 341-7272, ext. 223, or email@example.com).