Job Opening: Peer Support Specialist

Join our great team of peer support specialists! It can change your life and the lives of other self-advocates!

Peer support specialists will:

– Learn how to do the job.
– Get matched with clients who need help.
– Meet with clients online or in person to help them build the lives they want.
– Fill out a log to track their work hours.
– Get support from a coach to do all these things.

Peer support specialists will be paid $15/hour. They will be paid for training and for hours they work with clients. They will work between 5 and 7 hours per month from August 2021 – March 2022.

Peer support specialists must:

– Be strong self-advocates.
– Like helping people.
– Know or learn how to use email, Zoom, and the web (we will teach you).
– Like working with a coach or teacher.
– Have or be on the interest list for a Medicaid waiver: Community Based Alternatives (CBA), Community Living Assistance & Support Services (CLASS), Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD), Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP), Texas Home Living (TxHmL), Home and Community-based Services (HCS); or Community First Choice (CFC).
– Have experience getting services in one or more areas: Person-directed planning, Employment/Education, Transportation, Housing, Independent Living Skills.

To apply, fill out the application online by clicking this link:

Peer Support Specialist Application

You can get help from a trusted person to fill out the application. You can also get help from our Virtual Pilot Coach by clicking this link and emailing him:

Email Virtual Pilot Coach

Please share this information with anyone you think would be a great peer support specialist!

Seeking Virtual Coach for Peer Support Project

Our first pilot was a success. Now we want to expand!

We are seeking a Virtual Coach. The coach will recruit and match new peer support specialists and clients. They will help peer support specialists and clients fill out their applications online. They will help train peer support specialists online. They will help peer support specialists set up and hold client meetings. They will make sure all paperwork—surveys, timesheets, etc.—is completed on time.

The coach could be a staff member from an organization such as a local ARC, LIDDA, behavioral health service center, managed care provider, etc. Our project would support a part of that staff member’s salary. Or this person could be independent. They could be an experienced self-advocacy chapter leader, service provider, even a parent or caregiver for people with IDD.

The person must have experience helping people with IDD plan the lives they want and get the services they need. They must have great technology and mentoring skills. They must very organized so that data is collected on time and with accuracy.

This person will work on the project for 10 months, from July 2021 through April 2022. The job should take about 20 hours per week. Some months will have more hours, some fewer. This is a contract position. Please contact us if you are interested or if your organization wants to get involved.

This is an exciting project with a promising future. A successful pilot may be expanded in the 2022-2023 project year. Get involved today!

P.S.—We will be recruiting for new peer support specialists and clients in the next few months. Stay tuned for that announcement!

First Peer Support Specialists Trained!

Our first group of peer support specialists was trained last month. Self-advocates from ARC Beaumont had four days of training over Zoom, including courses on:

– Talking and listening

– Being a strong self-advocate

– Helping others through peer support

These amazing self-advocates learned valuable skills like active listening, keeping conversations going, problem solving, and handling conflict. Courses were presented on Zoom using content we created in Moodle, an online learning tool.

Peer support specialists will now start providing services to clients. They will meet with clients matched to them several times a month. They will help clients:

– Explore their needs, wants, hopes and dreams.

– Set goals and make plans to reach them.

– Make decisions and solve problems as they work toward their goals.

– Find needed services to help reach their goals.

Participants were surveyed to see how they felt about the training. All parts of the training received high marks. Peer Support specialists especially liked learning how to believe in yourself and learning how to do the job of a peer support specialist. Contact us for more information about our program.

Free Tech Videos!

The team at self-advocate central has posted free videos on using Google apps and Zoom. The videos are short, simple, and easy to follow. They include lessons on:

  • How to set up a Google account;
  • How to use Gmail;
  • How to use Google Calendar;
  • How to use Zoom; and
  • How to use Google Forms.

The videos can be viewed for free on YouTube or Vimeo.

The videos were created for the Peer Supports Specialist project, but can be used by anyone who wants to learn to use technology. Feel free to share the links above!

ARC Beaumont Selected as First Pilot Site

The UMMS/SES team will train Peer Support Specialists at its first pilot site—The ARC of Greater Beaumont—this Fall. Beaumont was chosen for its strong group of self-advocates, the experience of its staff, and Jefferson County’s demographics.

“We wanted a location that reflected the demographics of the state as a whole. Working in Beaumont will give us a great idea of the challenges and successes we can expect as we expand statewide. Partnering with an organization that has an established and vibrant community self-advocates is a bonus,” says Cynthia Burrow, Project Director and owner of Strategic Education Solutions.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Jefferson County who receive or are on the interest list for Medicaid waivers can apply for free peer support through the program. People of diverse ethnicities, language needs, and socioeconomic status, and those for whom transportation and geographical isolation may be challenging, are encouraged to apply.

Fill out the application online. Service decisions will be made in October-November of 2020.

Project Welcome: Peer Support Specialists

About the project

Our project will teach self-advocates to help others with IDD live the lives they choose. In our first year, we’ll write the training curriculum. Starting in year 2, we’ll teach a growing group of coaches and peer support specialists. Use the form on the right to join our mailing list and get project updates.

Join us at the Texas Advocates Conference

Project staff will be at the Texas Advocates annual conference in San Antonio, August 2-4. We will give a workshop presentation about this exciting new project. We will also have an exhibit table. Come by and meet our staff. Enter our raffle to win a restaurant gift card!

Make your voice heard

We want our project to meet your needs.  To make sure that happens, please:

  1. Take our online survey. Tell us what kind of help you want and need. Service providers–Please share this link with your clients!
  2. Volunteer for our curriculum review panel. You will review our program and tell us what you think. You must have access to a computer or other device and have Web access.  You must be able to use email and to do surveys online. If you are interested, email us.
Meet our team!