Building an Effective Peer Support Program - Online Course Manual

Publication Information

About this Manual

Peer support is such a cornerstone of the independent living movement that it’s easy to take it for granted. And often people use the term without defining it because they presume that everyone defines it the same. Not surprisingly however, there are still differences of opinion among Centers for Independent Living (CILs) after all these years about what peer support should look like. Such diversity is healthy and should be encouraged. By the same token, it may be beneficial for new people in IL to learn some of the historical underpinnings of peer support in general and as it pertains to IL specifically. It may also be useful for more experienced IL folks to revisit some of the roots of peer support to refresh their understanding.

In this manual, we provide some of that historical information and give an overview of some of the most prevalent thinking about what peer support is, why it’s important, and how to do it. We are asking you to review this material whether you are new to peer support or an old hand. We hope you will find this information affirming or confirming, if not enlightening. We also suggest you keep this background information as a resource for training newly hired staff at your center. You might also find some of the information and references provided helpful in writing funding proposals or marketing materials for your programs and services.

The manual also contains a description and resources from a CIL peer support program that has a proven track record.