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Peer Support Academy

A training opportunity for self-advocates
Peer Support Academy

Building leaders within the disability community

The Peer Support Academy is a training opportunity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become effective peer supporters for other individuals with disabilities, so they may lead self-directed and more fulfilling lives. Trainees receive a FREE three-day training course led by disABILITY LINK. Training includes tools and resources for guiding other peers to become better self-advocates, make their own choices and develop leadership skills. Completion of the Peer Support Academy also prepares individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to pursue potential paid employment opportunities as peer supporters.

About the Peer Support Academy

Intentional Collaboration

The Arc Tennessee partnered with Amerigroup and disABILITY LINK (Georgia’s Center for Independent Living) to create the Peer Support Academy.  Even though initial planning started in 2020, the academy officially launched in Spring 2021.  Ten individuals from all across Tennessee were selected as the inaugural class of peer supporters in March 2021, each graduating and receiving a training certification. 

Any individual with a disability who is interested in participating in the Peer Support Academy is encouraged to apply.  Applications are available periodically throughout the year.  The next Peer Support Academy training is scheduled for August 2021. Please visit this webpage in July to submit an application. Applications will be electronic, and each selected participant will be notified by late July.  

About disABILITY Link

The three-day peer support training is lead by disABILITY LINK, an organization led by and for people with disabilities, and promotes choice and full participation in community life. DisABILITY LINK is part of Georgia’s Center for Independent Living.

  • Authentic


    disABILITY LINK is a grassroots, peer-led, non-medical organization

  • Advocate


    disABILITY LINK advocates for human rights, not special rights

  • Supportive


    disABILITY LINK supports self-determination and choice

  • Inclusive


    disABILITY LINK promotes the inclusion and recognition of the talents and abilities of all individuals

  • Value people as people

    Value people as people

    disABILITY LINK values the inherent worth of each individual, all of whom deserve dignity and respect

Meet the disABILITY LINK trainers

Advocating for human rights, not special rights

Linda Pogue

Linda Pogue has 40+ years experience with supporting people internationally with disabilities to live in their community, live self-determined lives, and to advocate within the service, legal, and health systems. Linda is motivated with helping others develop leadership and communication skills,  become peer supporters, and to be recognized as fully contributing citizens.

Ken Mitchell

Ken Mitchell has a lifetime of self and system advocacy. His diverse career background includes experience in Recreational Therapy, Corporate Sales, and as a Paratrooper. He is recognized as a peer supporter in the disability community. Ken is also involved in a wide range of peer-led organizations. He attributes a great amount of his success to his “partner in crime”, Jesse Yellow Dog.

  • Kezia

    The Peer Support Academy training helped me to better understand the fundamentals of listening and how to succeed in approaching people. Peer Support Training is by far a life changing experience for me.

    – Kezia
  • Dylan

    Eventually Tennessee could become a model for the rest of the country to see the value of a strong and growing group of self advocates trained to provide much needed support for others in their journey.

    – Dylan, Peer Support Academy Coordinator
  • Molly

    Peer Support Academy helped me understand that we all have different perspective. Each of us are all at different points in life. I learned how to meet people with disabilities at their stage and empower them to succeed.

    – Molly

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