Peer Support Centre launches partnership with CARED

Support sessions now available twice a week for Black and Indigenous and/or Persons of Colour

The Peer Support Centre has partnered with the Committee Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination to offer specific support to BIPOC students.

The Peer Support Centre (PSC) has partnered with the Committee Against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (CARED) to provide support for Black and Indigenous and/or Persons of Colour (BIPOC).

The new service, which opened its doors for the first time on Oct. 8, aims to provide specific support from self-identified BIPOC volunteers to self-identified BIPOC students. Bunisha Samuels, AMS social issues commissioner, said currently six volunteers have received both PSC and SIC training.

“We’ve heard really good results thus far,” Samuels said in an interview with The Journal. “We’re hoping we can expand out our reach. This will be one of the first times that we’re enacting a collaboration like this, which is really exciting.”

Pointing to the Education on Queer Issues Projects Committee, Samuels added the goal after this year is to expand the initiative to other groups like the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think that would be the next expansion from PSC and CARED, depending on the feedback we receive at the end of the year,” she said.

Samuels said the initiative started two years ago when Ramna Safeer, the Society’s 2017-18 Social Issues Commissioner, identified a gap in support for different marginalized communities who may have been intimidated by or didn’t see a support system within the PSC.

Based on that research, Samuels said Myriam-Morênikê Djossou, the 2018-19 social issues commissioner, and Mia Berloni, the 2018-19 PSC head manager, submitted a proposal to combine CARED with the PSC to account for the gap in support available to racialized students.

Samuels said during her transition into her role, she and Andie Rexdiemer, the 2019-20 PSC head manager, were introduced to the initiative and were able to bring it to fruition.

“I think being a part of the BIPOC community, there aren’t many avenues to seek out professional support mechanisms specifically for different issues you may be experiencing, racialized or not,” she said. “Being able to go to someone, especially another peer, to discuss different incidents you might be experiencing is vital in our growth and collaboration as a community.”

Rexdiemer said the Centre is always looking for areas to grow in a written statement to The Journal.

“We take student feedback seriously,” Rexdiemer wrote. “It is imperative that we remain open-minded to all student voices so the support we provide to our Peers improves every term.”

Like Samuels, Rexdiemer said a goal of the partnership between the PSC and CARED is to provide a safe avenue of support for BIPOC students.

“During the development of this initiative, we have been mindful of the compassion fatigue many supporters experience when providing emotional labour. There are only so many resources students can seek out before they get stretched thin,” she said. “A goal of PSC x CARED is to provide another safe space on-campus for self-identified BIPOCs to receive empathetic, non-judgemental, confidential support—for anything and everything.”

Sessions available through the PSC and CARED initiative are available in the JDUC on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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