Being a newcomer and finding community and resources can be difficult, especially coming from a country that is not queer-friendly. It is for this reason that I am thankful to MAX, as I have found every space created and run by MAX to be warm, inviting and caring.
The peer support program at MAX is something that before immigrating to Canada, I could only have ever dreamed of. There is so much value in talking to someone who shares much of your experiences, it can be incredibly validating.
I have worked as a volunteer peer supporter since April 2020. I came into my role after being a participant at MAX’s Body Image group and one of the group facilitators presented us with the opportunity.
My experience in the Body Image Group was truly eye-opening. It was so validating to learn that others shared much of my experiences and how complex body image can be when you are attracted to the gender you identify with. I really appreciated what MAX had done by creating this group, and when the opportunity to become a Peer Supporter arose I felt as though this was the perfect opportunity to make an impact in the community.
I took a few days to mull it over, in which I thought a lot about what the role could potentially mean: the facilitator that presented the group with this role told us all that they did so because they saw us all as empathetic individuals that would offer a lot to this role. If I’m being honest, I doubted that I would be valuable in the position, but the extensive training involved reassured me! I found that the training took my natural skills as an empath and strengthened them.
I cannot express the feeling of knowing that I have validated and been there for someone in need during a call. The first time I did a call, I was so touched by the appreciation of the client at the end. I think it was also reaffirming for me to see that we are all going through something: and that as a Peer Supporter, I can be a part of someone’s journey just by listening.
I want guys to know that whatever you’re dealing with, MAX truly cares and we’re here to listen and support. If you need some Peer Support, we’re available 6-9 weeknights and 1-4 on weekends. You can reach out in the following ways:
- By phone – 613-702-8429
- Set up a video call – email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Through instant message – go to https://maxottawa.ca/programs/peer-support/ and click the blue button in the bottom right corner.
Peer Support volunteer