Five Months and Counting – Peer Group Update

Dear Fellow Graduates

It is hard to believe it will be August this Saturday and also hard to believe we have been in pandemic for five months. I am writing to all of you to give you an update on what is happening with the Graduates Peer Group and to let you know what will happen in September. Please make a special effort to join us at the September meeting on September 16th, it is important to our future.

I started the group in 2017. The reason I started the group is because rehab patients I spoke with had concerns about staying on track after graduating. I personally went through this, having graduated in 2013, and I found it very lonely and difficult to keep myself motivated. I thought it would be great if we could have a peer support group to continue our education and help each other stay on track. Frankly one of my primary reasons for becoming a volunteer in the rehab program was to stay close to the program and the motivation and education it provides.

We have had a good run.

Our programming has been excellent with meetings as large as 64 people in a class but normally we averaged 18 to 22. When Covid – 19 hit we had to cancel our normal events and we have done “on-line” meetings but attendance has dropped to 10-12 people. We know part of the drop in attendance is simply folks prefer live meetings and there are some grads who do not have enough internet power to participate in the Zoom meetings. The Central East LHIN cardiac rehab program has also gone on line and this will make it difficult to recruit new peer group members until we get back to something close to normal.

We will have a bright and important future.

Our plan is to try to sustain the group until such time as things become closer to normal. We have developed a business strategy which we will make available in September. Importantly the mission of the group is being modified to include advocacy projects. We intend to advocate for resources and infrastructure in the community. An example is advocating for more indoor walking facilities as new facilities are built, or, looking for financial breaks for our group at fitness facilities and so on. We have also restructured to include an advisory panel to help guide programming for our group. The panel will include professional resources and some of you fellow graduates. We will also be linking in as part of an alumni program being developed by the Central East LHIN.

Preparing our programming, staying connected with resource partners, recruiting members and generally managing the business of the club is a lot of work. We are more than happy to do it but will not continue if there is limited interest from you the members. We are planning online programs for the near future, until Covid-19 is under control. Please make a special effort to join us at the September meeting on September 16th, it is important to our future.

Mike