What is the MnCAN Peer Mentor Program?
The Peer Mentor Program is an opportunity for people with aphasia to learn from and support one another directly.
A mentor is a person who is further along the journey of living successfully with aphasia and is matched with a mentee who is of similar age and interest level for encouragement and support.
The purpose is to create a safe environment to increase a mentee’s self confidence in communication and to expand life participation through regular meetings with a peer.
Mentors have been through a similar medical course and know what living with aphasia is all about. They have some experience in seeking more complex communication situations. They challenge themselves to be involved in their communities.
What is a mentor?
• a person with aphasia, at least one year post, who listens to and shares life experiences with another individual with aphasia and can personally relate to communication difficulties of aphasia
•someone with aphasia who has been instructed in supported conversation strategies, particularly as it relates to the person he/she will be mentoring
•he/she exemplifies these qualities: volunteer, encourager, role model, advisor, sounding board, and confidant; Mentors are not therapists, teachers, case managers or counselors.
Who can be a mentee?
•any person with aphasia who seeks companionship and encouragement from someone further down the road of living successfully with aphasia.
•someone with aphasia who desires increased participation in life
How does the program work?
The program is facilitated by the MnCAN Director with the support of the Aphasia Group facilitators. Facilitators or persons from the community may recommend a mentor or refer a mentee to the program by contacting the Director at julia@MnCAN.org or by calling 612-524-8802.
The mentor and mentee are matched according to similar interests and age level. Each is given an informational fact sheet about the program and contact information regarding their mentor/mentee.
The director/facilitator will meet with the mentor and mentee for the first 15 minutes of the first meeting to review the program and to facilitate communication. The mentor and mentee meet once a week for at least one hour for an 8-week period. The meetings can be by skype, but a face to face meeting is preferred. Ideas for get-togethers include traditional sit-down conversations or outings such as shopping, dinner out, sporting events or activities, or meeting in one another’s home.
At the conclusion of the 8-week period, the mentor and mentee complete a written survey regarding their satisfaction with the program and provide feedback and ideas for the program. They may decide to continue the relationship informally at that point, if desired.