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peer services





This season:

YOUR IMPACT 125 reached 52 new youth clients 73 new adult clients >200 continuing clients

42 clients just completed treatment 93% developed a positive support network at discharge 70% of new clients show improved decision-making skills

Hey there, Welcome to the first feature of our quarterly PEER Services Newsletter! In each issue, you’ll see some statistics on how we’re doing, thanks to the support of great community members like you! You’ll also find written pieces by our team, agency announcements, and upcoming events. Enjoy this edition here, and please let us know what you’d like to read about by filling out a feedback card at peernews2017. We’re excited to bring new content and experiences from us to you, so we can’t wait to hear back! As always, thank you for your amazing committment to our community! Jenny Phan Development Director



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by Shari Brady, Adolescent Program Intern I lead a double life as an author and a licensed professional counselor. I decided to begin this new dual life in January of 2015 when I enrolled in the masters of counseling program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. And as someone who has been out of school for longer than some of my classmates have been on this planet, my return to grad school was downright terrifying. Eventually, the terror wore off, and I fully adjusted to being a student. My life revolved around studying at night and on weekends, and turning down social engagements to spend time writing papers. But then there was a final threshold to cross. I was going to become an intern. Becoming an intern at my age offers a few more apprehensions and reservations than interning when you’re younger. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be movies made about the subject. And as a writer, I see everything in terms of story, so my first day as the “intern”, I was ready for a day filled with all kinds of moments worthy of becoming a feature film adaptation. But the motion picture industry would not be interested in my first day of internship at PEER Services, since it was void of any kind of drama and conflict. My first task about ten minutes after I arrived, was to observe a brief intake with a walk-in client who came in looking for help. This unexpected client offered me an opportunity to see my supervisor Silvia Acosta in action and observe her style, attitude and effective way of communicating with teens. I was thoroughly impressed with her ability to immediately connect with the client and her mother. She was genuine, empathetic and kind. And when she asked routine intake questions, she did so in a nonjudgmental way, which made the client and her mother feel comfortable. I chose PEER Services as my internship site because they have a reputation as being highly effective place for addiction treatment, and I witnessed within the first hour of my first day, why PEER Services is so good at what they do.

“ ...My

motivation was to be part of the solution.

When I went back to school to enter into this profession, my motivation was to be part of the solution. The past nine months at PEER Services was not only a valuable experience in terms of my clinical skills, but I have been fortunate to work with people who demonstrated every day that they feel the same way I do. Throughout my time at PEER, I witnessed counselors assist clients find their inner motivation to make big changes in their life. I also learned how to ease the pain and anguish parents feel when their child is suffering from an addiction, and how to give parents support and compassion when they are working though their frustration and fear, especially when the only solution at the moment is to do nothing but wait. But while my heart goes out to the parents, at the same time I see their children’s struggle as an opportunity, or maybe even a gift. The teens who come to PEER, have a unique opportunity to make lifelong changes in how they look at life and learn skills to effectively deal with the inevitable challenges we all face as we travel throughout life. My experience at PEER Services will remain with me on my journey as a counselor, and I am grateful to have had such a great mentorship experience as well as work alongside such passionate and talented counselors.

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Big news:

TRANSITIONS ABOUND Spring is a time of change, and our agency is in an exciting new stage of potential to grow and adapt to our current health landscape.

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After 17 years with Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), Maureen McDonnell will be joining PEER Services as our new Executive Director on June 12th. During her time with TASC, Maureen designed and implemented the Justice & Health Initiative, a ground-breaking collaboration between the courts, jail, health system, community providers and funders to fully leverage the Affordable Care Act to improve public health and reduce recidivism. Throughout her career, Maureen has worked to create meaningful change in public systems that serve our most vulnerable community members. Her work to align medical and behavioral health with social services and the justice system has expanded opportunities for people to access these services instead of being incarcerated. Maureen believes that the opioid epidemic cries out for solutions that include medication-assisted treatment, and she looks forward to being able to enhance these critical areas. We are all thrilled to welcome her to the PEER team!


WHAT’S NEXT 7/20 to 8/12

Thrive in your college experience with College Boot Camp! Attend this workshop to learn more about dating safety, time management, substance use on campus, coping with stress and roommate relationships. For more information, visit or contact


Step Up for Recovery 2017 is on! For the third year, recovery advocates will climb up the twenty stories of Orrington Plaza to raise money for treatment scholarships for teens and adults struggling with addiction. Early bird registration will be active until the end of June, so sign up now to receive 25% off all fees for both individuals and teams at

“ PEER has been and still

is the anchor and support that has kept me hopeful. -MAT Client

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PEER Services - Spring 2017  

PEER Services is an addiction treatment and prevention nonprofit that has been serving northern Chicago for over 40 years.

PEER Services - Spring 2017  

PEER Services is an addiction treatment and prevention nonprofit that has been serving northern Chicago for over 40 years.