Our Peer Mentor Program launched in 2017, Thanks to Infinite Hero Foundation
Background: After the loss of program participant and combat infantry veteran Brian Walton to suicide in March 2016, Project Sanctuary’s graduate families and team members instantly felt called to reach out and connect with one another. When a search for a peer mentorship program that would provide a cadre of specific elements to both support veterans in need and preserve and support the peer mentors themselves found none that met our criteria, the idea for Walton’s Warriors was born.
Launch: With generous funding from Infinite Hero Foundation for the pilot, Project Sanctuary launched Walton’s Warriors Peer Mentorship Program at an organizational retreat in December 2016. The pilot program trained 20 peer mentors throughout 2017.
- Self-care: Since many of our peer mentors are living with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury themselves, establishing a routine for self-care and preservation is critical.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Resiliency and Reintegration: Utilizing a 30-module in-person and online training program created by Lt Col David Tharp, Psy.D., and CPT Daniel Williams, M.D., peer mentors will be equipped with the tools to thrive following combat trauma.
- Peer Mentorship 101: Outlining professional boundaries, confidentiality, red flags, and crisis management tools, our peer mentors will approach each mentorship relationship with the training to help their peers navigate any challenge.
Walton’s Warriors kicked off its first cohort retreat in February 2017. In February 2018, we launched our second cohort. A tiered structure, with framework for upward mobility, Walton’s Warriors aims to be the nation’s go-to peer mentorship training program. The program features built-in support for all peer mentors through weekly peer mentor check-ins to ensure self-preservation.