Community Organization:
 
Massachusetts United for Connection and Healing (M.U.C.H.)

Massachusetts United for Connection and Healing (M.U.C.H.) is a network for the Peer Support workforce and community which has been developed with the following goals: 

    1. To strengthen skills for individuals following incarceration and other marginalized groups,
    2. To increase information-sharing about recovery resources, and
    3. To create healing connections across Massachusetts between incarcerated individuals and peer support and recovery communities.

In 2019, M.U.C.H. started to build a coalition across the Commonwealth to facilitate and develop infrastructure for Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) in-person networking events, webinars, and opportunities to learn and connect as a workforce with the vision of creating a learning collaborative.

One of our main goals is to focus on proactively building a network that is inclusive of populations that have historically not had a voice: marginalized, underserved communities, communities of color, and those returning from incarceration, hospitalization, or treatment. M.U.C.H. will use this platform to engage, recruit, support, and assist returning citizens as they re-integrate back into community. As importantly, M.U.C.H. will use this opportunity to shed light on inequalities and work collectively to identify gaps in support needed by returning citizens. In addition to our Peer Bridger, who works directly with people coming back to community from hospital settings, we are starting a Reentry Support & Practice Group for those whose lives have been impacted by incarceration. Furthermore, we have integrated a reentry module into the CPS training so that peers coming into this workforce can be as prepared as possible to support this population. We have also, for the first time, enrolled people who are currently incarcerated or are under supervision to take the CPS training so that they may become CPSs after release. We plan to leverage our existing partnerships with current providers as well as create new strategies to address this very important issue. With this multi-pronged approach, we will speak to the issue of incarceration and reentry while having peers be involved with every part of the reentry process -“Nothing about us without us!”  

“…proactively building a network that is inclusive of populations that have historically not had a voice: marginalized, underserved communities, communities of color, and those returning from incarceration, hospitalization, or treatment…”

Guided by the principles of Peer Support, Restorative Justice, and true collaboration, M.U.C.H. believes that we can create an environment for returning citizens that is healing, not only for them, but for the community as well.

We know that this is a complex issue which will take big ideas and hard conversations, so we welcome feedback and suggestions from all. For contact information or to join our advisory group, visit our website.

Co-Authors

George Halfkenny, CPS
Project Director, M.U.C.H. Network 
M.U.C.H. Network Webpage

 

Brenda Vezina
CEO & Executive Director, Kiva Centers

Community Organization: Massachusetts United for Connection and Healing (M.U.C.H.)