Welcome to Shepherd Center’s Peer Support Program

A community built on understanding, connection, and growth. 

At Shepherd Center, we believe in the power of Peer Support, and we invite you to join our community of compassionate individuals who have been down a similar path as you.

Our Peer Support program is a community like no other, led by former patients and caregivers who have firsthand knowledge of the diverse and unique challenges you may be facing. We’re here to offer you a safe and welcoming space, where you can connect with individuals who truly understand and can relate to what you are going through.

How Peer Support Helps Each Other 

By connecting with others who share similar experiences, you can learn from their stories and gain insights you might not find elsewhere. Our Peer Support community serves as a vast repository of knowledge about resources available to you during and beyond your rehabilitation journey, from learning about returning home to navigating the challenges of daily life and getting back to school or work.

Research shows that patients and families who connect with each other through peer groups experience successful rehabilitation and are more likely to sustain that success even after returning home. Our peer groups are here to help you every step of the way.

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Share and Learn

Share your experiences and learn from others who have been on a similar journey, gaining valuable insights and building a sense of camaraderie.

Graphic of computer, phone, book, and sports ball "growing" from a flower pot

Access Resources

Discover the wealth of resources available as you progress through your rehabilitation journey and daily living after returning to your community.

Graphic concept of a social network with peoples heads interconnected by lines

Build Your Network

Create a support network of individuals who truly understand your experiences and challenges.

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Plan for the Future

Gain insights into returning home, resuming school or work, navigating accessibility barriers, and facing life after rehabilitation.

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Foster Positive Relationships

Develop and maintain meaningful and supportive relationships with parents, children, family, friends, and others.

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Intimate Partner Support

Explore how to manage the changes in your intimate relationships with the guidance of those who have gone through it themselves.

Megan Collins, spinal cord injury survivor, smiles while seated in her wheelchair
Peer Support Patient Testimonial

The first peer support mentor that I had was a beautiful woman who had been in a chair since she was 12. Seeing someone still confident, still beautiful, still active in a chair showed me that I could be that as well. That's when my motivation turned from the rehabilitation of walking to the rehabilitation of my full self and know that it'll be okay.

Megan Collins
Former Patient
Spinal Cord Injury Survivor Peer Support Group

Peer Support Groups 

We have many Peer Support Groups that include patients, families, caregivers, and community members. These groups have formed over the years, and more are on the way.

A spinal cord injury patient holds a balloon animal while smiling with his daughter and wife at a peer support event.
Spinal Cord Injury Survivor Peer Support

A support group of current and former patients with spinal cord injury.

A brain injury patient poses with a Shepherd staff member while at a peer support dinner.
Brain Injury Survivor Peer Support

A support group of current and former patients with brain injury.

A group of family members and caregivers sport various balloon animals and crowns at a peer support event.
Family Peer Support

A support group of family members and caregivers of individuals with spinal cord and/or brain Injury.

A patient works with Exercise Physiologist Meghan Santander to strengthen her muscles by lifting light weights. Weight training can strengthen weakened muscles caused by multiple sclerosis.
Demyelination Community Peer Support

A support group for patients with demyelination conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, or neuromyelitis optica, and other related conditions.

A client from the SHARE Military Initiative smiles while gardening. He is wearing a t-shirt that reads, "Army."
SHARE Military Initiative Support Group

A support group open to current and former clients of our SHARE Military Initiative.

A group of adolescents and teens make silly faces while seated in their wheelchairs.
Adolescent and Young Adult Peer Support

This mentor-based program is for inpatient adolescents aged 14-21 with Spinal Cord Injuries and/or mild Brain Injuries who intend to return to school.

Dr. Russell Gore checks the eye gaze of a patient following a concussion.

A support group for patients of Shepherd Center’s Complex Concussion Clinic.

How We Meet and Connect

Shepherd Center’s Peer Support Program relies on empathy-rich communication to assist patients and families through their stages of change and rediscovery as empowerment for independent living.

Connecting with someone who genuinely comprehends what you're going through is truly meaningful. That's why we offer various ways for you to engage with our Peer Support community.

Our Peer Support opportunities extend far beyond traditional one-on-one sessions.

  • We host group meetings, inviting individuals from various backgrounds to come together and foster meaningful connections.
  • During group dinners, community outings, and seasonal events, you'll get to experience the joys of camaraderie as you explore life beyond the Shepherd Center.
  • We offer education classes and co-treatment sessions with your therapist, ensuring you have access to all the resources you need on your journey to recovery.
  • We also facilitate virtual meetings via phone, FaceTime, and other digital platforms. 

Our goal is to make Peer Support easily accessible so that you never feel alone on your journey.

Peer Support Liaison, Mariellen Jacobs, poses behind a lifesize photo frame with two Shepherd patients. The frame reads, "Peer Support Spring Fling 2023."

You Are Welcome Here!

If you're considering becoming part of one of our Peer Support groups, we encourage you to take that step and experience the benefits firsthand. We assure you that you'll find a welcoming community eager to embrace you as part of our Shepherd Center family.  Everyone's journey is unique; there's no judgment here – only compassion and understanding. Maybe you’d even make a great addition to our team of volunteers!

Join a Peer Support Group