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Product Information The Peer Empowerment Program (PEP) A complete Toolkit for Planning and Implementing Mentoring Programs Within Community-Based Human Servicce Organizations

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The Peer Empowerment Proram (PEP) is a toolkit that provides the materials and directions you need to start a peer-to-peer mentoring program within a community-based human service organization. The PEP toolkit provides you with guidance on planning and customizing your own Peer Empowerment Program (PEP), using the suggested framework. It gives advice on how to select, train, and sustain mentors, as well as instructions for preparing and supporting mentees. The PEP Tookit is complete with content, worksheets, and other tools you will need to launch and operate your mentoring program.

The focus of PEP is to build the confidence and competence of newer direct support staff and help them get off to a good start in the support role. This is done by putting in place a program that matches and supports volunteers from your pool of experienced direct support professionals (the mentors) with less experienced staff (the mentees). The partners work together to support and socialize mentees to the organization and to identify the mentees' skill development goals and the ways they will work together to achieve these goals through a partnership. In PEP, mentoring is not left to chance; it is planned as an intentional relationship with mutually negotiated goals regarding the direction and activities that the mentoring partnership will share.

One primary goal of the PEP is to support new hires in feeling welcomed into the organization and to help them quickly "learn the ropes" about all aspects of their job as a direct support professional. This includes learning information from "insiders" about how the organization really operates. We know that many people who quit direct support work soon after being hired would stay longer if they had better support, direction and training. Mentoring makes it more likely that new hires will stay longer because they will have the help they need when they need it. This fact, along with the relatively low cost of implementing a mentoring program, makes mentoring a win-win situation for employers and employees.

Mentoring is one of the useful workforce development strategies that agencies can use to calm the stormy seas of turnover by reducing unnecessary early termination. Mentoring can help people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds understand how cultural norms may affect their work and can help people from different backgrounds work together as a more cohesive team. Mentoring is a two-way street that brings rewards to the mentor as well as the mentee. Often the experienced employee is eager for new projects and challenges to refresh his or her perspective and renew the energy and excitement important to good work. Perhaps the greatest beneficiaries of mentoring are the people who receive direct service support. When longer term employees who care deeply about the people they serve model the respect, creativity, and skills that are the result of deep knowledge about the preferences and dreams of service recipients, valued outcomes are more likely to occur.
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