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Peninsula | LGBTI / Queer

Peninsula Family Service Expands LGBT Senior Peer Counseling Program; Welcomes Clients 55+
by KC
Monday Jun 20th, 2011 3:33 PM
Peninsula Family Service has expanded its LGBT Senior Peer Counseling Program--which offers San Mateo County older adults aged 55+ free peer counseling--via the addition of new volunteer peer counselors and a program coordinator. Part of the nonprofit's Older Adult Services, the program fills an unmet need for aging Baby Boomers by connecting them with trained volunteers in the same age group who have similar experience, wisdom, values and culture.
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Peninsula Family Service recently added three LGBT volunteer peer counselors and an LGBT Program Coordinator to its Senior Peer Counseling Program, part of its Older Adult Services. The additions will allow Peninsula Family Service to expand its services to the LGBT population and to offer a unique service to the aging Baby Boomer population. The program, available to older adults aged 55 and above, fills an unmet need by making available volunteers who are not only of the same age but have similar experience, wisdom, values and culture. The volunteers undertake a nine-week training course taught by licensed professionals and provide opportunities for interactions, encouragement and suggestions of resources to their clients. One of the few services of its kind on the Peninsula, the program provides a more accessible resource to adults who may have considered traveling to San Francisco or San Jose. Peninsula Family Service is currently accepting clients to its LGBT Senior Peer Counseling Program, offered free of charge and without the necessity of a referral to residents of San Mateo County.

“The LGBT Senior Peer Counseling Program offers up services that aren’t known in the area,” explains Arquimides Pacheco, the new LGBT Program Coordinator at Peninsula Family Service. “Our community is so youth-based. The big issues for LGBT older adults are identifying as LGBT and finding resources for someone who is older with people who can understand their experiences, because things have changed a lot.” The program currently offers one-on-one, peer-to-peer interactions, with hopes to add group sessions in the future.

The Senior Peer Counseling program is in its fourth year at Peninsula Family Service. Serving older adults aged 55 and above, the program offers peer counseling by volunteers of a similar age. At no cost to the client, the Senior Peer Counseling Program serves the LGBT community with issues such as loneliness, depression, caregiver problems, and illness-related problems. Sessions take place anywhere the client and peer counselor feel comfortable, including at the client’s home or at a local senior center. Information exchanged during the meetings is confidential, and privacy is assured. For more information on how to inquire about the program, call Peninsula Family Service at (650) 403-4300 and ask to speak about Senior Peer Counseling. The service is also open to clients who speak Spanish, Mandarin, Filipino, and Cantonese.