Shared from inMotion | Volume 30, Issue 4 | July/August 2020, Page 30
By Nicole Gross, Peer Support Programs Manager
Imagine waking up after a life-altering tragedy and feeling there is no one who could truly relate to your new reality. Picture a child growing up with a limb difference believing they are the only one facing this challenge. Envision a local community with individuals and families impacted by limb loss or limb difference and never knowing they lived minutes apart. The Amputee Coalition often learns of people feeling disconnected and lacking resources. We also hear from community members who did not receive peer support during their recovery and wish they had this type of connection with someone who lived a shared experience. The Amputee Coalition seeks to fill these voids by providing support services and resources to the limb loss and limb difference community. Our Certified Peer Visitor Program and National Support Group Network are two such means in which this is achieved. The Certified Peer Visitor (CPV) Program, is a nationally recognized program with the goal of aiding individuals and families impacted by limb loss and limb difference. It is the only program that has been proven to improve post amputation surgery outcomes for patients. Amputee Coalition Certified Peer Visitors are dedicated individuals who share a passion for helping others and utilize personal experiences, knowledge and resources to achieve this goal. They provide hope, support and encouragement like no other. CPVs are required to meet numerous criteria prior to attending the CPV Training Program, including but not limited to:
- living with limb loss or limb difference for at least one year or being a family member who is caring for a loved one with limb loss or limb difference;
- submission of a CPV application;
- providing nonfamily member references; and
- passing a background check.
Qualified candidates attend a one-day certification training taught by volunteer Certified Peer Visitor Trainers and involve extensive role-playing, listening skills, group discussion, and training comprehension assessments. Upon successful completion of our CPV trainings, these professionally trained volunteers become a part of the Amputee Coalition’s active roster, gain access to complimentary resource materials and the Amputee Coalition Support App. When officially certified, these Peer Visitors are now fully equipped to begin networking and seeking opportunities to provide in-person and virtual peer visits in their communities on behalf of the Amputee Coalition. Another way individuals in our community can learn to help others is by becoming a Support Group Leader. The Amputee Coalition’s National Support Group Network has over 400 registered support groups throughout the country. Registered Support Group Leaders volunteer time to engage, support, and empower their local communities impacted by limb loss or limb difference. Support Group Leaders have relevant connections to the limb loss and limb difference community. They do not need to be living with limb loss or limb difference to lead a support group for our community members. The Amputee Coalition provides resource materials to registered support groups at no cost that can be shared with group members. Once a year, the Amputee Coalition hosts a free Support Group Leader Summit where fellow Support Group Leaders from around the country engage in seminars, group discussions, and networking opportunities. Additional resources and networking opportunities for registered Support Group Leaders occur during the Coalition’s new Tea Time Tuesdays and bi-monthly Support Group Leader Zoom calls. The Amputee Coalition’s volunteer-led programs are at the core of our ability to effect change. The positive influence we can have on our own life journey is profound when we find a renewed sense of purpose in helping others. We hope you will join us. Together we can make a real difference. To learn more about these opportunities to learn and help others, please call 888-267-5669 ext. 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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