While surviving a spinal cord injury is great, we want you to thrive. The only problem, is that most people who become paralyzed feel lost in the early days. Thriving in a newly paralyzed body is not easy to do. We all know family and friends, as much as they love us, cannot understand what we’re going through.
Therefore finding someone you can look up to and also has a spinal cord injury is one of the most important things to do the first year of your injury. If you’re lucky, the rehab hospital you’re at will introduce you to SCI folks. Very often they will invite someone to come to your room in the early days, who assures you that life can go on.
A great example of this is encapsulated in this photo from Tamara Mena, a SPINALpedia SCI Superstar, who started the Young Women’s Support Group at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. She was recruited by her rehab hospital to do SCI peer mentoring, and the effect she’s had on people over the years is monumental. “This picture means A LOT TO ME! It was a very special moment. Super sweet Chelsie Hill said, ‘You know who was the first girl in a wheelchair I met that helped me completely change my outlook on life? This girl right here!’ (as she’s pointing at me and then giving me a sweet hug).”
Tamara (pictured in the middle), with Chelsie (left).
“I’m overjoyed seeing them do so well. So we had to take a picture!!” says Tamara. “And this reminds me why I started the Young Women’s Support Group at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center!” Learn more about her support group here.
For those of you who also believe in the power of spinal cord peer mentoring, or want to experience it yourself, or who live somewhere where it’s not accessible in-person, we’re offering online peer mentoring opportunities for both mentors and mentees.
If you visit the Community area on our site and click either the “Mentors” or “Mentee” tab to explore. Each section lists all of the members who’ve listed themselves as willing mentors and mentees. If you’ve registered, make sure to specify in your profile that you would like to be involved in our mentoring program. If you do, you’ll be listed in these areas.
To begin a peer mentoring relationship, we offer private messaging between members on our site. Just find a mentor you think you may click with, or a mentee you think you can help, and send them a message. If you have any further questions, please contact us at email@example.com.