Peer Support

CIVIC’s Leadership Council identified peer support as one of the visitation movement’s four main priorities.  Our goal is to provide peer support to one another by creating a space for immigration detention visitors to plan together, dream together, console one another, and encourage one another in our common efforts.

On September’s national monthly call, we talked about supporting one another as leaders, understanding that leading and building a visitation program is a spiritual and emotional undertaking as much as it is about building a strategic plan and coordinating visits.

Sara Mullally, member of CIVIC’s Leadership Council and coordinator of the Arkansas-based visitation program, suggested these two books: Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others and Self-Nurture: Learning to Care for Yourself As Effectively As You Care for Everyone Else.

We also shared with members a beautiful piece by Rev. Eric Dawson, who reminds us of the importance of rituals: “…We often assume that the rituals are religious but they don’t have to be. The possibility for rituals pop up in unusual places.  You have to look for them but they are there.  In the cadence of laptop typing, the rhythms of rush–hour traffic, popping of chewed gum by a child on the bus.  And even in airport security lines.  Seeing these patterns allows us mini moments to see the world and ourselves a little differently…”

A visitor volunteer, Mary Helen Doherty, in California reminded me today about the importance of keeping the dialogue about peer support alive when she shared with me this website.  It looks like immigration detention visitor volunteers are not the only ones focusing on community care.  Let’s keep the conversation going…