A presentation by Antonio Maturo, director of Portage’s Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers Program, on the foundations and core principles of the therapeutic community to MIRE (Movement for Integration and Retention in Employment) staff members, has led to a change in the structure of the employment reintegration program.
Whereas the learning and growing process had always been rooted in the peer support of other participants inside the group, now the concept of peer role modelling is more prominent, with a transfer of learning from one group to another.
For several months now, recent MIRE graduates have been more involved in welcoming and initiating the next group into the program. They have a list of responsibilities, including presenting the program, allocating tasks, and conducting meetings. By seeing first-hand how well the graduates have done, new participants are even more inspired for the journey ahead. The coaching process fosters a greater sense of competency for the graduates and belonging for the newcomers, and it helps reinforce the community spirit.