What Makes Peers, Peers – Meet Candii
What makes Canary Peers uniquely peers, are our workshop facilitators and mentors. Often when people learn about our programs, they can instantly tell we are using a different approach than most digital therapeutic services. That’s because all of our online workshops are facilitated or coached by workshop leaders who are living with a chronic condition or who are caregiving for a loved one. Many have had or currently have careers across a variety of sectors including education, healthcare, farming, accounting, wellness, and business. However, whatever their professional life might be, that “hat” is left at the door and for our workshops, they lead from the perspective of living with a condition themselves or as a caregiver. Workshop leaders are trained to follow a protocol and always have a mentor to fall back on if questions come up. Mentors are seasoned workshop leaders, who have been around the block and know when to alert a participant when they need to seek advice from a health care professional.
Recently, I caught up with the newest member of the Canary Peers team, Candii Dana. Candii has been a long-time workshop facilitator for over 10 years. She has joined the Canary Peers team to lead quality and engagement activities both inside and outside our services. What Candii loves most about a recent Caregiver workshop she facilitated was “how the participants adjust their outlook to be more positive with situations; which benefits them, their journey with managing their health, as well as having a positive impact on the caregiving they provide to their family.”
All our peers have taken the workshop themselves and are uniquely positioned to provide support and encouragement to others in the workshop. People with or caring for someone with a chronic condition often make the best facilitators because they serve as really good role models. Each week facilitators join workshop members in setting weekly goals or action plans. Our peers often tell me action plans are one of the reasons they like to facilitate workshops because it helps them to continue with their self-management practice and they learn something new from another workshop member each time they lead a workshop. Earlier research of using peers as workshop leaders has found the following about peer-led groups compared to professionally led groups; participants in the professionally led groups knew more, but peer-led groups did more.
We are proud of our dedicated workforce of over 40 peer facilitators and mentors, and excited to continue our journey together as we help participants achieve the health they need for the life they want.