The Peer Mentoring program which was piloted in Christchurch in 2016, is now into its next round of training and matching.
The program aims to train and support clients who feel able to support other clients with blind and low vision matters. Mentors attend a two and half day training program where they learn more about what mentoring is and receive the tools needed to support others. Trained Mentors are then matched with fellow clients who would like support from someone who has true empathy and understanding of blindness or low vision. Mentors and mentees are carefully matched based on common interests, areas of skill or need, along with age, life stage and gender. The mentor and mentee connect on a regular basis and build trust and rapport, which leads to crucial conversations and encouragement for people to achieve rehabilitation goals and have a sounding board for the daily challenges they are facing. One area that has been a recurring topic of conversation between mentors and mentees is around other people’s reaction and attitude towards them when using mobility aids or adaptive equipment. Being able to talk about these experiences with someone else who truly understands and can share strategies to deal with these, is hugely empowering.
The Peer Mentoring program has 15 trained mentors in the South Island and is soon to train another 10 in the North Island. If you think you are someone that would like to use your experience to support others as a mentor or if you would like the support of the program as a mentee, please get in touch with the CLE team.
In the South Island contact Heather McGill on 03 375 4327. In the North Island, please contact Felicity Hutcheson on 04 380 2145.