Who is a Peer Worker?

Peer workers are community residents who share similar life experiences with the participants in the programs they design and deliver.

"An effective Peer Worker is someone who is themselves. Someone who already had those characteristics that make them able to connect with their neighbours, their friends, other people in their community. An effective Peer Worker is someone who can relate to people. An effective Peer Worker is someone who can listen well and respond to the needs within the community, someone who can facilitate groups and bring people together in a context where they can learn from each other."

Dan Vandebelt, Peer Program Coordinator

These peer workers are trained and certified by Region of Waterloo Public Health (as either Community Nutrition Workers or Peer Health Workers) in health knowledge and skills that they then share with their peers.

Each year, 25-35 peer workers run over 150 different programs which are developed by the community site depending on the neighbourhood's particular strengths and needs. These programs reach over 3000 people each year.
Region of Waterloo Public Health provides all new Peer Health Workers and Community Nutrition Workers 13-week training. Learn more from the two-page overview

"I really just facilitate the parents getting a chance to talk to each other about those parenting topics. I don't come in as the expert, but just facilitate that we've all been there, and we're all working through these parenting struggles, and decisions and joys together."

Peer Health Worker