Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wayne County Peer Support Training

from Gerald Butler:


Wayne County Peer Support Training

This past Thursday there was a follow up training for Certified Peer Supporters in Wayne County. Veda Sharp kicked the day off with a very exciting and inspirational talk, setting a positive tone for the rest of the seminar. Leading the conference were Pam Werner of The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), Ike Powell and Larry Fricks, of the Appalachian Consulting Group of Georgia, the originators of the Peer Support movement. The time allotted Ms. Sharp was not enough for her to speak of all the exciting things taking place in Wayne County in regards to system transformation, however she did stress this: The entire Detroit Wayne County CMH administration (under her guidance) is 100% behind the Peer Support movement. In fact, this past week, the Peer Support Specialist movement was highlighted in a speech by Robert Ficano and in an article in the Detroit Free press.

Although some can take Ms. Sharp’s support for our struggles casually, it means the world to those of us in recovery. Anytime a leader says what Veda said, that tells us that leadership is one of the key ingredients we need to move forward in our recovery journeys. It is time for us to take our hopes and dreams off the shelf, build on what we know, want and can do, surround ourselves with those who support us and begin the journey to make them real. We can now focus our full attention on our recovery and those who would treat us as ‘Lesser Than’ must be wrong because the leaders of the system support recovery and provide us with the foundation of both respect and dignity.

Ms. Sharp could not speak about all of the positive things going on in Wayne County, so I’ll add one more thing. When the Guidance Center was awarded the ‘The Recovery Center of Excellence’ grant, naturally most folks assumed it would take a while to get things up and running. It seems they hit the ground running, and after talking with Kari Walker (Kari is the Guidance Center’s man on the front lines with us) I can see why. He knows deep in his heart how vital recovery is to us and he is dedicated to helping us spread the message of hope, as is the rest of the staff at the Guidance Center. They will soon have the recovery web site up and running and the address is With the leadership at the Guidance Center, its no wonder they’re off to a great start.

In addition to all of the great leadership, consumers remain in the forefront. The Peer Support Empowerment Committee (all primary consumers) has developed an exciting agenda. This years Empowerment Day/Recovery is Possible will be a day filled with individuals telling recovery stories, showing art work, singing songs from the heart, comedy acts, skits, photography, ETC. showing just how talented they are. Yes, the Freedom Train has left the station and more and more folks are climbing aboard daily. Hope to see you all on Empowerment Day 2008. If you would like to donate to this year’s event please contact Shirley Cockrell at Go-Getters/ 313-842-4046

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