Peer Mentoring is one of the core services provided by all centers for independent living (CILs). Peer Mentors are people with disabilities who provide mentoring and advice to other people with disabilities. This peer-based model provides a different viewpoint on handling life’s daily challenges, one based on shared understanding and shared experiences.
Consumers of Peer Mentoring services are assigned an Independent Living Coordinator (ILC) who works one-on-one with them to establish goals to achieve independence and develop strategies to reach those goals. Once the goals are achieved, the ILC will help to put supports in place to guarantee continued independence. Peer Mentors also share their knowledge through providing information and referral services in response to inquiries made by the public, one-to-one mentoring sessions, independent living skills training, and advocacy, whether on behalf of the consumer as an individual or as part of a group.
Peer Mentors help with any issues or topics related to living independently with a disability. Examples of common issues Peer Mentors help encounter are housing, employment, and returning to the community from a nursing home or other institutional setting. However, since Peer Mentors work with consumers on goals they set together, Peer Mentoring is by no means limited to these topics.