Each month we feature a peer specialist to recognize and celebrate their amazing efforts. This month we’re introducing you to Yolanda, a mother of three boys from Chicago, Illinois. Yolanda works for Perspectives in the Supportive Housing Program as a Peer specialist and a Program Liaison. She is also a Certified Nursing Assistant at a group home in St. Louis Park, MN. Keep reading to learn more about Yolanda’s experiences as a peer specialist!
Q: What inspired you to become a peer specialist?
A: I was inspired to become a Peer Specialist after completing the program at Perspectives, where I am an alumni. I was hired by Perspectives, and as one of the older ladies in the program, I worked really hard and tried to be a role model. I did exactly what I told them I would do - I stayed clean, made outside meetings, got a sponsor, attended group at Perspectives, became employed and worked on my mental health. The staff believed in me when I hit rock bottom and they supported me and my son.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a peer specialist?
A: I enjoy giving back what was so freely given to me. I enjoy supporting the ladies at Perspectives, giving them hope, seeing them work hard and start believing in themselves. I enjoy watching them learn to live without the use of drugs and alcohol, seeing them become productive members of society, mothers to their children, good employees and good neighbors. I enjoy watching them give themselves a chance to be free!
Q: What keeps you going on tough days?
A: My higher power, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and the support of my sponsor and co-workers.
Q: What have you learned through your journey as a specialist?
A: I’ve learned that I can only carry the message of recovery, but I can’t carry the addict!
Q: What piece of advice would you give to new peer specialists?
A: You must be open minded, give suggestions not advice, be supportive, don’t make it about you, listen to what they are not saying, be honest, and don’t judge.
Q: Tell us a little about your experience using Recovree.
A: Recovree allowed my clients to be free, to say what they were afraid to say to me in person and to be more open. It also allowed me to see what they were not saying.
Q: How has Recovree helped you in your role as a peer specialist?
A: Recovree allowed me the opportunity to address things that needed to be address and instead of pulling teeth, it actually gave me a chance to get closer to the women I work with.
Q: Any other comments?
A: I am excited to continue to use the app!