Developing Agency-Based
Peer Mentoring Programs to
Support Community Reintegration
for Adults in Recovery
Tina Gelpi, James D. Ervin, & Thomas Tamer
FGCU & SWFAS TLC – Fort Myers, FL
Florida Partners in Crisis (FLPIC)
Florida Association of Drug Court Professionals (FADCP)
2012 Annual Conference & Justice Institute
Friday, July 13, 2012
Identify key principles of community-campus
partnerships for developing an innovative program
to address community reintegration needs of
persons in recovery.
Describe the process of developing and
implementing two agency-based peer mentoring
programs for adults in recovery and their initial
Compare and contrast the roles of sponsors to
support recovery and mentors to support
community reintegration.
Our Story to Tell
• Through community-campus partnerships, two
agency-based peer mentoring programs to support
community reintegration of adults in recovery from
substance addictions are being established.
• The process of developing these programs, one for
women and one for men, and the initial outcomes of
the program development process will be shared.
Principles of Community-Campus
• Agree upon mission, values, goals, and measurable
• Display mutual trust, respect, genuineness, and
• Build upon identified strengths and assets and address
areas that need improvement
• Balance power and share resources among partners
• Communicate openly, including listening, developing a
common language, and validating/clarifying the
meaning of terms
Principles of Community-Campus
• Establish roles, norms, and processes for the
partnership with the input and agreement of all
• Provide feedback to, among, and from all partners to
continuously improve the partnership and its outcomes
• Share credit for the partnership's accomplishments
• Take time to develop and evolve the partnership over
(, 2008)
Second Chance Act
Adult Mentoring Grant RFP
• Began with guidance from Second Chance Act Grant
– “…designed to help communities…address the challenges
posed by offender reentry and recidivism reduction.”
• “Reentry” from jail – initial focus
– “…not a specific program, but rather a research-driven
process that starts when an offender is initially
incarcerated and ends when the offender has been
successfully reintegrated in his or her community as a lawabiding citizen.”
Second Chance Act Adult Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit
Organizations Competitive Grant Announcement (2011)
Second Chance Act
Adult Mentoring Grant RFP
• Reentry process
– Includes programs to “ensure a safe and
successful transition from prison or jail to the
– “Mentoring of offenders can be a significant
element of a successful reentry strategy.”
Second Chance Act Adult Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit
Organizations Competitive Grant Announcement (2011)
Second Chance Act Mentoring Grant
• SWFL Community Foundation funding
– Received by Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) &
community partners
• In response to input from participating
community partners
– Shifted to developing a community reintegration
support program for adults participating in addiction
recovery services rather than exiting from prison or jail
Second Chance Act Mentoring Grant
• Sponsor role
– Supporting recovery
• Mentor role
– Supporting community reintegration while
maintaining recovery
– Community reintegration – surviving and thriving as a
contributing member of a community
• Group vs. pair vs. individual support
• Anticipated benefits/outcomes for participants
Needs Assessment
@ After the Rain (ATR)
• Responded to Executive Director’s interest in
developing a program for women “to give back”
• Focus group discussions facilitated by FGCU
Occupational Therapy graduate students & faculty
– To identify peer support needs of graduates and current
residents of ATR transitional living program
– Initially reviewed Courage to Change Interactive
Journaling® System through focus group discussions
– Interest was indicated in a program that was gender
specific and not corrections-oriented
Needs Assessment
@ After the Rain (ATR)
Themes from program planning discussions with
women preparing to be peer mentors –
1) Roles – Transition from the role of substance
abuser to the role of peer mentee, then peer
From “I played volleyball in college; it was the love of
my life and it become non-existent. Just drugs and
alcohol took over my life.”
To “We aren’t those people anymore. We have become
something totally different.”
Needs Assessment
@ After the Rain (ATR)
2) Routines – Transition from the damaging routines
of substance addiction to creating healthy,
productive alternatives daily
– From “I knew how to drink and drug and that took
up my whole day and that was about it.”
– To “Start new interests and do what you can to
pursue them.”
Needs Assessment
@ After the Rain (ATR)
3) Emotions – Transition from suppressing to
expressing feelings and emotions
– From “I was so detached from my feelings that I
truly had myself convinced that there weren’t any.”
– To “…it’s the ladies that live here, because she came
before me and she might have an emotion I don’t
have, this one taught me another emotion, each one
of them has brought things back.”
Needs Assessment
@ After the Rain (ATR)
4) Values – Transition from compromising to embracing
core values
– From “I compromised everything, all of my values.
Getting high and staying high was better than
– To “I expect them to give what I gave to them,
because that’s the only way we can all be here…to
be able to give back that smile, that love, that hug.”
Peer Mentoring Program
@ After the Rain (ATR)
• Establishing, supporting, and celebrating
achievement of community reintegration goals
• Learning about areas of occupation (activities of daily
living – basic and instrumental, education, work, play,
leisure, rest/sleep, and social participation – peers,
family, and community)
• Considering supporting vs. non-supporting roles,
habits, routines, rituals, values, and personal &
community resources
• Receiving/offering peer support from mentors and
other mentees
Peer Mentoring Program
@ After the Rain (ATR)
• Outcomes to be determined
– Mentor/Mentee demographics
– Personal occupation-based goal setting and achievement
– Quality of Life – WHOQOL-BREF
• “…how you feel about your quality of life, health, or other areas
of your life” (World Health Organization, 1998)
• Domains – 1) Physical, 2) Psychological, 3) Social relationships,
4) Environment
– Exit interview (qualitative)
Peer Mentoring Program
@ Southwest FL Addiction Services
Transitional Living Center (SWFAS TLC)
• Responded to Managing Director’s request to develop
a peer mentoring program for men in recovery
• Program advisors
– James D. Ervin – Resident of SWFAS halfway house;
completing Certified Recovery Peer Specialist training
– Thomas Tamer – Resident of SWFAS permanent supportive
• Collaborating with FGCU Occupational Therapy and Community
Health faculty and graduate/undergraduate students
Peer Mentoring Program
@ Southwest FL Addiction Services
Transitional Living Center (SWFAS TLC)
James D. Ervin • Community reintegration
– My reentry
– The needs I faced and lacked
– What reintegration means to me
• Developing a peer mentoring program
– Sponsor
– Mentor
– The difference (Sponsor vs. Mentor)
Peer Mentoring Program
@ Southwest FL Addiction Services
Transitional Living Center (SWFAS TLC)
• Purpose
– Identifying barriers
– Being in touch with community resources
• Creating a Peer Mentoring Program for Men
– Building on something familiar (football)
– Developing a theme
– Encouraging change
• Ultimate goal
– Outcomes for participants, agency, and community
Looking Ahead
• Peer Mentoring Program – Further develop and
modify based on participant input & feedback; seek
program support in the community
– To support community reintegration of a person in
• Further define the role of a peer mentor vs. the role
of a sponsor as complementary supports for a
person in recovery living in the community
• Respond to gender-specific interests and needs
Contact Information
Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS)
• James D. Ervin
• Thomas Tamer
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU)
• Tina Gelpi, OTD, OTR/L – Department of
Occupational Therapy & Community Health
– [email protected]

Developing Agency-Based Peer Mentoring Programs to Support