The Peer Community of Practice!

Last week I had a chance to attend the Peers Community of Practice session as part of the Accessibility Services Team. At this session, peer staff from the Academic Success Team, Accessibility Services Team and the Health and Wellness Team came together. We shared our roles, departmental programs and services, and how to make warm referrals. We also talked about how these three departments are interconnected with each other.

During this session, I had a chance to meet people of many calibres. I met some staff who were graduate students and some who were undergraduates and they all were in a unique field of study. Every peer staff member was skillfully trained to meet the expectations that were set out for them. The Peer Supporters from the Health and Wellness Team are all Masters of Social Work students. I was unaware of the Peer Supporters services at the Health and Wellness before this session. I found this service very useful since getting appointments on short notice can be difficult. This service is helpful to students who are seeking support and would like to talk to someone on a one-on-one basis right away.¬†The peer staff from Academic Success provide learning strategy assistance, referrals and information about resources and study skills.‚Äč The peer staff from the Accessibility Services help students navigate the university helping them connect with resources and answer questions about their accommodations.

When it came to the three departments working together, I found that the peers were interconnected. The Academic Success team helped students navigate resources provided by UofT. They would also help students who identify as living with a disability connect to Accessibility Services which then would be able to provide them with accommodations and mentoring. During times of distress, the students were encouraged to reach out to the Peer Supporters at the Health and Wellness centre. This session was the first time this year that peer staff from these three departments reached out and conversed with each other. We also discussed hypothetical situations and how we would handle them as a group of three departments. I found this session to be helpful and informative. I believe that there are many resources at UofT available for students but they are just not known to every student as much as we want them to be. Interdepartmental Communities of Practice allow student leaders to become more aware of the programming and services offered throughout the university.

A graphic of one person typing on a laptop, and another person using their phone. The poster reads "Peer support service. Struggling? Drop in for real-time support. Chat with a trained U of T peer." This service is located at the Health & Wellness department.
The Health & Wellness Peer Support Service

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