Outreach, Peer Linking and Volunteer Programs

REES has three new programs to support people living with mental illness and addictions. The Peer Linking Program, the COOL Outreach Program and the Community Volunteer Training & Mentoring Project provide a variety of short and long term supports, depending on need.

Peer Community Links Program

The Peer Community Links (PCL) Program provides goal-focussed, time-limited individual support to help people with serious mental illness and/or addictions access community resources. The goal of the program is to enhance individual ability to meet basic support needs, to live more independently and to participate more actively in the community.

Peer workers will provide support with personal life, recreation, leisure, education and work activities through: working to identify and meet goals; 1:1 support with community integration; modeling, coaching and teaching social and life skills; helping to build confidence, reduce anxiety, and identify self-help strategies; making connections to community resources; and helping to identity and use community and natural supports.

COOL (Community Outreach, Options and Links) Program

The COOL Program is a new outreach program for people with mental health, addictions and/or concurrent disorders.

Three COOL Outreach Workers are available to provide a range of intensive supports, wherever they are needed in the community, at any point in an individual’s recovery process. Supports may include planning, crisis management, case management, problem-solving, advocacy, teaching skills, information, and help with access to community resources.

Community Volunteer Training Program

The Community Volunteer Training Program is a unique educational program designed for adults who currently volunteer with agencies that support people who face barriers such as mental health challenges, addictions, poverty and social isolation.  The training increases the capacity of volunteers to better support the clients they are working with by providing them with resources and information using a person centred approach.

Topics covered include:

  • Meeting your Volunteer Community
  • Exploring Intentional Change
  • Understanding Substance Use
  • Communication Skills
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Understanding Diverse Experiences
  • Understanding Complex Loss
  • Exploring Boundaries
  • Celebrating Resiliency and the Human Spirit

In the words of a volunteer participant, “I found the program to be really insightful, inspiring and educational…It was a chance to learn about how to support, speak to and most importantly the importance of listening to people, with the focus on those of marginalized groups.”

The program is a collaboration between Cool Aid’s REES Program and the Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health and is generously funded by the United Way of Greater Victoria.

The eight-week training is offered twice a year (Spring/Fall) and held on Tuesday evenings (5:30-8:30pm). Applications are available through your agency’s Volunteer Coordinator or by contacting Marna directly as listed below.


Lori Ferguson
Community Volunteer Training Program

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