Michele Ponist came to The Bridge 5 years ago. She said when she came to The Bridge, “immediately it felt like family. I went from not wanting to work or do anything, to working. I work here at The Bridge, and I get my services here. It’s very inspiring.”
From the time Michele started at The Bridge until recently, she held various jobs around The Bridge itself. Then, back in May of this year, she started working with Mary Stone, LMSW, the Road to Recovery (R2R) Program Director here, as a Peer Specialist. R2R is a minimally structured program, which aims to identify and address barriers to formal program participation. Together, Mary and Michele make up our 2-person R2R team.
Michele works with Mary 3 days a week in 5 of the Bridge community residences where they work with small groups of up to 9 residents on skills that will help equip them for Personalized Recovery Oriented Services Programs (PROS) and other structured programs. These skills include being in a group, wellness self-management, communication skills, travel skills, stress management and keeping a routine.
Many of the residents they speak to have never been in a group before. Michele is able to connect on a peer level and speak to them from experience about what being in a group is like and the benefits.
Michele said of her work, “everyone here is so nice to talk to. I wanted to give back and share what I’ve got. I hope that it will inspire others to be willing to take a chance and believe in themselves.”