Community Transition Teams (CTT), as part of Correctional Health Services at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, are marking the recent Global Peer Support Celebration Day by honouring and acknowledging peer support workers.
For CTT, it is important to recognize the crucial services our peer support workers provide. By supporting clients and staff through the power of their own personal journeys, peers are a vital element of CTT's model of care and continue to be foundational to the program.
“CTT is indeed fortunate to have these amazing, inspiring individuals as an integral part of our team," says Melita Konn, program coordinator, CTT. “Our peers are 'good medicine' to clients by helping guide their care journeys through mental health and substance use, and into the continuum of recovery, integration and beyond."
To acknowledge the extraordinary work of our peers, we are proud to share their uplifting stories, in their own words. Their narratives are tough and poignant, but at the same time heartwarming, and brimming with hope, courage and optimism.
On behalf of CTT and Correctional Health Services teams, we extend a big thank you to all our peer support workers:
- Brad Cummins
- Charles Santa
- Dave Towers
- Ever Sabadash
- Greg McKay
- Jason Page
- Jillyan Macneil
- Petra Ludde
- Steve Pelland
We salute you and peer support workers everywhere, and wish you continued success in all your endeavours.
Brad Cummins, peer support worker, Okanagan Correctional Centre CTT
"The CTT team kept in constant contact with me and honestly, I don't know if I would have made it without their support. CTT continued to support me while in treatment and their encouragement was paramount." – Brad Cummins
"I struggled with substance use disorder for over 30 years, had been in and out of the criminal justice system and made multiple attempts at treatment and recovery. I was the first CTT client from the Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) and had a solid release plan. I was then moved from OCC to Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre (KRCC) with less than 30 days to release. KRCC CTT stepped in and a new plan was developed.
"I was very impressed with the coordination and the level of attention I received. One of the changes was I would have to wait over a month to attend treatment, rather than go directly from centre. This made me somewhat nervous, as I thought I would somehow talk myself out of needing to go. However, the CTT team kept in constant contact with me and honestly, I don't know if I would have made it without their support.
"CTT continued to support me while in treatment and their encouragement was paramount. I graduated from Bridgeway and shortly after, I was surprised when CTT encouraged me to apply for the peer support worker vacancy. I applied and was given the incredible opportunity to join the team! The rest, as they say, is history. I've now worked with CTT for over a year! I will forever be grateful for all the support I received from CTT."
Steve Pelland, coordinator, Peer Support Workers
"I have found a way to make use out of an otherwise very tragic and painful time in my life. My biggest hope is that others will not have to go through the depths of despair that I did, because they can learn from my experience." – Steve Pelland
"I started out with CTT as a client who was accessing the services back in 2018. Though it took a couple of years to gain traction, I eventually got released from a local correctional center in December of 2020. After completing a treatment program, I was offered the opportunity to be a peer support worker with CTT. I started out as a contract worker through Connective Society and once the expansion was announced in 2022, I became a full-time peer support worker with CTT.
"Since then, I have had the honour of serving our clients in many ways and I am currently the peer support worker coordinator for CTT's 10 teams across the province. I have also engaged with several partnerships and initiatives, including partnering with the Surrey Community Action Team to facilitate a certification program called Peer Connect. Peer Connect is a course that provides a certification to work as a peer support worker. We had a blended group of our CTT peers, as well as some of the Community Action Team peers successfully complete the course. There are many other training and partnership engagements that I have been blessed to be a part of over the last few years working with PHSA.
"For a guy who literally got released from jail with a half garbage bag of dirty clothes and nowhere to live three years ago, it is truly humbling. I also currently volunteer in the community doing speaker panels for a couple of 12-step fellowships, where we attend some of the local detoxes and share our stories and do outreach with the folks who are at the beginning of their healing journey. I have found a way to make use out of an otherwise very tragic and painful time in my life. My biggest hope is that others will not have to go through the depths of despair that I did, because they can learn from my experience."
Ever Sabadash, peer support worker, Surrey Pre-Trial Centre CTT
"Where I am now is behind the wheel of that very same vehicle that I was picked up in on the first day of my release! Who would have thought? Thank you CTT, for your support and guidance. I am forever grateful." – Ever Sabadash
"For myself, joining the CTT has in fact become a dream come true. I am so grateful to be a part of others' journey in the same way that CTT was a part of mine. I am setting personal and professional goals for myself that I never would have thought were possible, had I not walked the path that I am on.
"That path has led me to having the opportunity to providing support for individuals in need. Where I am now is behind the wheel of that very same vehicle that I was picked up in on the first day of my release! Who would have thought? Thank you CTT, for your support and guidance. I am forever grateful."