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Individualized Peer Support

FreeSource is continuously working to cultivate a stable of volunteers with different gifts and talents to provide both remote and in-person assistance throughout the St. Louis area to help people learn skills or find resources or look for jobs or opportunities for greater self-actualization. These volunteers meet individually with people remotely or in person at libraries or other public institutions and take as many visits as necessary to help them figure out how to use a mouse, or figure out the best bus route, or figure out something that has to do with Medicare Part B, or figure out how to write a résumé, or figure out where to go for cheap theremin lessons, or more than likely, simply figure out who would be best equipped to help figure out these things.

Volunteers provide a personal learning and support network for one another, and people receiving assistance from volunteers may one day become full-fledged volunteers themselves.

The Process

FreeSource's process of peer mentorship is very informal, and begins with a discussion and documentation of a concrete goal, as well as an estimation regarding how long and how many meetings it may take to achieve said goal. The goal may be broken down into as many sub-goals as necessary, and time estimates are flexible and adjusted as warranted. For example, an individual may have a goal of securing employment. There are many potential sub-goals nested within that goal, such as writing a résumé and learning how to submit an online application - goals which may have further sub-goals nested within them.

Flexibility in regard to expectations is extremely important, as is setting a clear goal or sub-goal that can be accomplished at each meeting so that all individuals involved in the goal-seeking process have something immediate to show for their efforts. This could be something ostensibly very small, but every step along the way is extremely important and should be recognized, documented (so that people can reflect upon, and be motivated by, how hard they've worked in pursuit of their overarching goal), and built upon.

More information about how you can engage in the peer mentorship process will be coming soon.