The Peer Educator Program consists of community representatives who work side-by-side with our staff to engage people in services and promote agency programs. Program Peers are an integral part of the recruitment strategy for all of the agency’s prevention initiatives. Peer Educators should be members of the target population or having firsthand knowledge of the target populations and community in which they reside and/or gather. The program also serves as a resource for Peers to learn more about reproductive health, sexuality and other health concerns.
Peers help staff complete a lot of activities, including:
- Participate in outreach events (for example, street outreach or a special event)
- Refer people they know to agency services or other services available in the community
- Help staff prepare for a special event by making safer sex kits or organizing other outreach materials
- Help plan and carry out a special event or a community testing event
- Help contribute to ACR Health social media pages
- Help facilitate an educational session or group
- Be a guest speaker at a special event or an educational session
- Learn how to become a trained Testing Counselor and help staff test community members for HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections
Peer Delivered Syringe Exchange
The Peer Delivered Syringe Exchange service allows highly trained Peers access to safer injection supplies to distribute among drug using networks. This helps the Syringe Exchange Program provide services to people who don’t feel comfortable or don’t wish to participate in our office or mobile unit services.
The agency reimburses peers for their time and effort by providing a peer stipend for work completed. Incentives are also available for participation in specific training sessions throughout the year. Peers meet monthly in each region and are supported by staff and managers on an ongoing basis.
Those interested in becoming a peer must complete a Peer Educator Application and participate in all sessions of a Peer Training class. With successful completion of training, peers are given the chance to shadow staff in the community and then decide if they would like to continue with the program or not. Participation in Peer Services is completely voluntary.