The Louisiana Association of Peer Support
In 2010, Executive Director and Founder Lora Bonnet began developing an idea to create an organized peer driven association with a mission to provide assistance, advocacy, and programs to individuals who provide peer support in Louisiana. Her idea was well received and The Louisiana Association of Peer Support (LAPS) was created. The purpose and vision of LAPS has driven the development of the association and continue to provide the foundation for which the growth of LAPS is based on.
The Purpose of LAPS
The purpose of LAPS is to strengthen the leadership, skills, effectiveness, and efficiency of those who provide peer support, including, but not limited to: Peer Specialists, Addiction Mentors, Family Support Mentors/Liaisons, Youth-to-Youth Mentors and other Facilitators/ Educators/Individuals of various health/disability populations in Louisiana who provide peer support.
LAPS aims to positively evolve the Louisiana system of care to be more responsive to and inclusive of Peer Support, to be accomplished through research, education, training, public policy education, workforce development and opportunity creation, and special projects.
The Vision of LAPS
LAPS will focus on the lives and journeys of Mental Health Consumers through a person centered recovery approach and systemic integration into all facets of the mental health system of services. This integration will be demonstrated by training and supporting Peer Support Specialists and Providers and employing them pervasively among system partners.
The Development of LAPS
In 2011 Mark Thomas, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Louisiana (MHAL) began working with LAPS to develop the association's framework. MHAL and the LAPS Board of Directors implemented a plan to become a subsidiary of MHAL.
John Ferrone of The TA Café in Tallahassee, Florida currently provides technical assistance to LAPS which includes board development, grant applications, and business modeling.
In 2014 LAPS began hosting summits across the state inviting peer supporters an opportunity to offer input about their needs and desires for the association and for LAPS to introduce their role to the peers. The summits have provided the association valuable information to build a customized association that promotes
value of peer support in the community and workplace by means of advocacy, education, research and service.
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