Hi, I’m Jennie. I was born with TOF-PA and MAPCAs. I want to tell you a little bit about my experience being an ACHA Peer Mentor, why it’s made such a difference in my life, and why I encourage others to consider applying to be one, too.
In 2014 I went to the ACHA National Conference in Chicago. One of the seminars I attended was all about Peer Mentors and what they do. I had some knowledge about the program because I had been matched with a peer mentor two years before when I was getting ready to have my first ICD implanted. That was a scary time, but my Peer Mentor helped ease my concerns and made such a difference in my surgery preparations. So, when ACHA mentioned during the seminar they would be taking applications for new peer mentors, I knew I had to apply.
By 2015, I had been accepted and completed training, and I was now a full-fledged Peer Mentor! So many emotions ran through me, and still do to this day with every match. I get a little anxious or nervous because I want to be the best Peer Mentor I can to that person. But I also feel so much gratitude and joy knowing I can be there for someone, especially since I’ve been on the other side of things and know what a difference this position makes. I’m sure many of you reading this can attest that getting to talk with others who have gone through a similar experience is a special opportunity. That sense of connection is especially powerful when you go through situations like we do.
As Peer Mentors, we get three months to help our match set goals that will guide them through a myriad of situations. Sometimes it’s a member preparing for a surgery and unsure of what to expect. Other times it’s helping a patient advocate for themselves when communicating with their care team, or helping them to find the appropriate ACHD care. We also have Peer Mentors that are loved ones or caregivers of patients, and they provide such a wealth of knowledge coming from that perspective.
One thing I truly appreciate about the program is that we value diversity and know that different backgrounds and points of view will only aid in enhancing the program and expanding the range of members we can help. This is just one of the many reasons why I love being a Peer Mentor and why I recommend others consider applying to be one as well.
The application period to become a Peer Mentor is open through March 31, 2023. Click here to apply.
Add yours below.
The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.
The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.