A change agent’s reward


I am eagerly awaiting my check from Milwaukee County to help pay my college tuition. In January I will start attending Southern New Hampshire University. There is an extension of the university located in Wisconsin and my participation in the change agents program aimed at revitalizing mental health care in Milwaukee earned me a stipend. I am expecting that the rest of my college expenses will be covered by financial aid from the university.

When I applied for college I did not realize how much change I was going to create. Our agency was a relatively small time player in the field when I applied to work here. Since then we have expanded far beyond what I had expected. And in this next year we will be growing once more. Although I sometimes struggle with the idea,  am probably one of the leading practitioners in Wellness Recovery Action Plans among certified peer specialists. In just a couple more weeks I will be a certified WRAP specialist.

We are intending to wrap ourselves around the people we assist and help steer them through change. I am also wrapping my head around what a difference this has meant for me. I just saw a pay stub from 2011 and it’s worth noting that I have earned more on my part time job than I did on my previous peer support job. So, change involves the status of peer specialists. The doors at the wards in the mental health complex announce that peer specialists may be found here and list a phone number where one can call us. The county agencies are hiring us and the pay and duties are much improved over what had been previously available.

I don’t know whether there are any more peer specialists who will be attending Southern New Hampshire University with me but the program was designed to value our experience the same as everyone else. And why not? We’re just the same as everyone else; just a little more fruity.

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