What is the Peer & Family Support Program?

The best source of knowledge is experience. For people living with paralysis and their family members or caregivers, learning to navigate their changing world can be challenging and overwhelming at times.

That's why the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation created the Peer & Family Support Program for people living with paralysis, as well as those who care for them, to connect for hope, support, and a way forward.

Available across the country, our free peer-to-peer network helps everyone, from newly paralyzed individuals and their family members to people who have lived with paralysis for some time, by offering the personalized information and resources you need to live a fulfilling life.

What is a peer mentor?

A Reeve certified peer mentor is someone who wants to make a difference by helping and supporting members of the paralysis community. If you are a person who is impacted by paralysis, thriving in your own life and able to demonstrate skills that empower others, we encourage you to apply. We support you through expert training, certification, information and our private online community.

Approximately 7,000 people have been helped by our peer mentors located in 43 states.

Criteria for becoming a peer mentor

  • Have at least a year’s experience of living with paralysis or as a family member or caregiver of someone living with paralysis
  • Have the time to volunteer in the program
  • Have good interpersonal skills
  • Have a positive outlook and be thriving in life
  • Be knowledgeable about local community resources

How can a peer mentor help?

With years of real-world experience and access to an unparalleled amount of information and resources, your mentor is well equipped to offer help on a variety of topics like:

  • Transitioning home from a rehab center
  • Researching job or educational opportunities
  • Getting information on health and secondary conditions
  • Coping with the responsibilities and emotional challenges of being a caregiver
  • Building confidence and motivation
  • Navigating local, state, and national resources
  • Understanding the progress of research
  • And much, much more!

Make an impact

In only a matter of years, the Peer & Family Support Program has made an indelible mark on the paralysis community. Need proof? Take a look at some of our key stats:

  • We have conducted over 70 training sessions
  • We have certified peer mentors in 43 states
  • We have over 300 peer mentors
  • We have over 7,000 peers (people that have been or are being mentored)
  • We have dozens of partners

Here is what a peer recently said about the Peer & Family Support Program:

"Having a peer mentor has meant a lot to me as I have felt alone in a community of people without disabilities, even in my own house. No one understands what I am going through better than a peer mentor. I am working with Tom and he is helping me advocate for myself, providing accessible housing resources so that I can move out of my mom's house and helping me with a job search."

Download the latest Peer & Family Support Program brochure.

Candace Cable talks with Bill Cawley, Manager of the PFSP

Learn more about the Peer & Family Support Program in this recording of a webcast with Bill Cawley.