John Donlin is a young man who readily shares his journey of moving out of his family home and into his own place. While John has disabilities it is very clear to anyone who meets him that he has great determination and desire to be independent. A couple of years ago, John was invited to attend a training in Lansing to become a Peer Mentor. Following the training, though, John said that right away nothing happened. In Kalamazoo, there really was not a system for him to use the training he had received. That is when John’s persistence paid off because now Peer Mentoring is a service people with disabilities can access. A system was created and now John is a paid Peer Mentor through Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
As a Peer Mentor, John can support people in many ways most importantly among them is sharing his journey. By telling his experiences, he can let people know about the resources that are available. He can be a partner as people seek to make changes in their lives and guide people toward greater personal responsibility for their own success.
Kalamazoo is very fortunate to have a leader like John Donlin working to help more people live lives as they choose. He is a person who can show us the way to make people with disabilities welcomed, supported and respected in our community.
For more information about Peer Mentoring contact Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at 269-373-6000 or visit www.kazoocmh.org.