We want to recognize two of our team members for completing the coursework to become Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS). Through the Peer Support Expansion Initiative held by the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania – Yulanda Myers and Jessica Leighton recently completed the year-long course that certifies them as peer specialists. Peer Recovery Specialists are people who have lived experience and have been through life experiences like those they support. They have been successful in personal recovery and have firsthand knowledge of the healing process.

While Yulanda and Jessica had a unique recovery journey, one thing they both have in common is their utilization of the recovery community resources such as sponsors and peer support. Then they were inspired to pursue their own desire of giving back to others that are going through similar substance use and/or mental health recovery journeys. Becoming a Certified Recovery Specialist takes months of extensive classroom learning and achieving at least 18 months of sobriety. Yulanda also completed an additional certification to become a CFRS or Certified Family Recovery Specialist.

While a peer support specialist does not substitute or replace treatment with a healthcare provider when it is needed, they can provide a unique layer of support. Both Jessica and Yulanda are working at our NIA House, a SAFE home located in Coatesville, PA.  In addition to housing, the NIA house program provides supportive services that focus on key factors that impact successful reentry for women’s economic empowerment, long-term housing, healing from trauma, health and well-being, peer support, and family reunification.

The program also includes a leadership development program to develop women into future leaders to act on issues impacting their lives. Dan Rowan, Peer Service Enhancement Initiative (PSEI) Program Coordinator, says “Yulanda, Jessica and all our PSEI Students have done a remarkable job in dedicating themselves to providing quality peer support to individuals in need throughout Chester County.  The “Power of Peer” that our students exemplify allows them to reach people, to connect, to understand and bring positive change in incredible ways.”