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Peer Navigators nourishing others in meaningful ways

Did you know that peer navigators/workers who have been successful in their Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery journey can remarkably help others experiencing the same situations? According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.

Powerful and effective examples of peer support services related to vaccine equity efforts are happening through the ITR Rise Up Central Kansas Health Equity Action Recovery Team (HEART). Referred to as 'peer navigators', these brave men and women are working hard on their recovery journeys to help others stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the instances of relapse. ITR Rise Up Central Kansas HEART Project Coordinator Amy Ferguson recently gathered several peer navigators to help distribute food through the Live Like Jesus Today Ministries that is based in Ellinwood, Kan. The mission of Live Like Jesus Today Ministries is to use a faith-based approach to reach communities for Jesus through relational mission works. Not only have Amy and the Peer Navigators been able to help Buzz and Cliffan Birney of Live Like Jesus Today Ministries distribute food to those in need, they have also helped nourish the souls of those who are walking the recovery journey as well. Amy and the Peer Navigators use their lived experiences to promote physical, psychological, and emotional safety so as to create opportunities for SUD persons to rebuild a sense of control, respect and empowerment. What a great way to nourish others in such a collaborative approach! With continued building of trust in having candid conversations on the importance of a lifetime of vaccines and supporting food distribution efforts, these efforts certainly help others with a sustained recovery process!

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