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MIRECC Matters - Fall 2022

A publication of the VISN 5 MIRECC - MIRECC Matters - Putting Recovery into Practice

The New Community Living Bridge Program Completes its “Pioneer” Cohort

graphic of a Bridge

The Community Living Bridge (CLB) is a just-developing program for Veterans using PRRC services. A MIRECC team designed it after conversations with PRRC staff about the difficulties that some Veterans have in creating or resuming community-engagement they find satisfying, and the limited ways that PRRC services can assist Veterans trying out new way in “real life” outside the VA.

After many conversations and studying relevant research and programs in other places, Alicia Lucksted, Tracy Robertson, Jason Peer, and Amy Drapalski designed CLB to help Veterans attending PRRC build their own “bridges” to satisfying involvement in communities of their choice. We were assisted by two psychology interns in different years – Caitlin Gaske, and most recently, LaDonna Gleason.

Three things make CLB unique. First, “community” is much more than where you sleep or spend time. It also includes your social interactions with others, your civic involvement in the well being of communities you care about, and what you create and do that is of value in those communities (employment, volunteering, artisan, community projects, etc). Bigger than just physical neighborhood, community also includes networks you feel affinity with (Veterans, culture, religion, etc.) and interactions not bounded by physical location, such as online. Second, the CLB program starts off with just four 90-minute “Jump Start” workshops to learn and practice Action Planning applied to community involvement. Third, once a Veteran completes those (in any order) they “graduate” to Part 3 which is the core of CLB: 6 months of individual Peer Coaching to support the Veteran in crafting community engagement that’s fits their values and preferences.

Over the past year, three intrepid Veterans attending the Baltimore PRRC volunteered to be CLB Pioneers – the very first people to try out the program, with Tracy Robertson as their Peer Coach. At the same time, LaDonna Gleason conducted a “process evaluation” by interviewing them, Tracy, and other key people for candid feedback and reflections at numerous points in the 8 month program.

These “pioneers” completed CLB several months ago, and we are very grateful for their feedback in helping us polish the program. In the Fall we plan to begin a larger pilot at Baltimore and Perry Point. Contact Alicia if you would like more information: Alicia.Lucksted@va.gov

 

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