Peer Support, a Beacon (or Trailblazers) of inspiration of hope for recovery and wellness…
JustDane and our Peer Support Initiative provides a solution that helps formerly incarcerated individuals find success in life while making our community safer for all.
Someone who has been released from incarceration often finds reentry overwhelming. The world has changes, but the circumstances that may have contributed to their incarceration may still be present.
They need to have access and support to get a fresh start on a productive and purposeful life with the goal of preventing re-incarceration.
Peer Support Specialists are available as a resource of support, allowing peers to direct their own reentry process from a strength-based platform, giving the peer a sense of autonomy and pride over their own reentry journey.
The benefits of peer support are based on the premise that those peer specialists who possess lived experience are better able to relate to the peers they work with through a sense of mutuality, having encountered some of the similar challenges associated with mental health, substance use, and/or, pre and post incarceration.
In peer support, there is no power differential; but rather, it allows our reentry participants to avail themselves of a source of support they can relate to and turn to in both times of struggle and success – meeting them where they’re at.
In addition to the other reentry services JustDane has to offer, our Peer Support Initiative has been able to provide additional support services such as:
- Therapy sessions
- An Urban Agricultural paid training program
- Housing placement and rent assistance
- Employment and peer support services
- Additional training and education
- Advocacy for justice involved individuals facing the challenges of reentry
JustDane currently employs 4 individuals who serve as peer support specialists, but in total about 8 staff members have been state certified through the Department of Health Services.
All certified peer specialists receive formal training in trauma informed care, substance abuse and mental health, as well as possessing the first-hand experience that is necessary to truly understand the difficulties of the reentry process. Our staff engages in continual periodic training in an effort to fully understand and integrate peer support as it is meant to be provided across all of our programming.
JustDane’s Peer Support Initiative has been made possible through our funders: The City of Madison’s Office of Community Development, Dane County Human Services, as well as additional fundraising efforts by Just Dane and its many individual supporters through collaborations with Anesis Center For Marriage And Family Therapy, Neighborhood Food Solutions, Access Housing, the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Access to Independence, Jessie Crawford Recovery Center, and Vision Beyond Bars.