Iowa Peer Network was founded in 2022 to provide a forum and opportunities for Peer Support Specialists, Family Peer Support Specialists, and Recovery Coaches to communicate and support each other. We receive our funding through a grant from the Iowa Department of Human Services. Our board and staff are both made up of a majority of people with lived experience.
Iowa Peer Network has three primary goals:
Engage, connect, and support Peer Support Specialists
Build Peer Support Specialists’ knowledge and skills
Strengthen the Peer Support Specialist workforce in Iowa
We also have a list of values that guide our work:
- Encourage individual ability and creativity
- Engage in continuous self-improvement
- Treat everyone with respect
- Have fun
- Have passion for our work
Director – Sara Knox
I started my human service career as a volunteer at a crisis hotline because I knew what it was like to feel hurt and isolated, and I wanted to give back to others who felt that way. I became trained as a Peer Support Specialist in 2015. I worked with the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative on creating the Peer and Family Peer Support Specialist trainings and wrote some of the training, including the unit on Trauma-Informed Care. I have experience working as a Peer Support Specialist and training and supervising Peer Support Specialists.
What I love about Peer Support: I think many of us experience trauma and suffering that feels meaningless at the time, but when we are able to help others who are experiencing those things, we give meaning to our own experiences and theirs. Peer Support demonstrates that our painful experiences can actually bring us closer together, and those relationships are what foster healing and growth.