The Shanti Project

Peer Support Training

Shanti’s Volunteer Services Mission
Shanti advances its vision of healthy individuals, organizations, and communities through exemplary training and education, volunteer services, practical and emotional support, counseling, research and publications and transformative leadership.

The Shanti Model of Peer Support
The Shanti model of peer support is a philosophy and a set of tools that trained volunteers can use to meet a broad range of client needs.

Basis of the Mode
The Shanti model of peer support is based on the belief that most people with life-threatening illnesses – such as HIV and breast cancer– can handle their emotional and practical challenges more effectively if they receive caring support in an ongoing relationship with a trained volunteer.

The word “Shanti” is the Sanskrit word for “inner peace.” Shanti is the place we find in ourselves…

  • when we have performed a simple act of service that matters to someone else;
  • when we are being with another person in just the right way;
  • when we feel truly connected.

For some people, the word “service” may hold negative connotations. For example, women have been taught to serve others while denying their own needs. The word “service” may also be associated with slavery or servitude, with what many have experienced as the rigidity in military service, bureaucracy in civil service or condescension in the social services.

In the context of the Shanti model, however, the word “service” means something entirely different. Shanti perceives service as an act of mutuality in which both the giver and the receiver benefit. We offer service when we perform a caring act, given freely, out of compassion. When a Shanti volunteer offers his/herself in service to another person s/he is performing work of the heart. Ultimately, through service, both giver and receiver become more fully human.

Basic Skills
The Shanti volunteer utilizes three basic skills in working with the client:

  • Listening from the heart (listening with an open heart, being willing to be touched by another),
  • Speaking from the heart (speaking authentically, expressing true feelings),
  • Acting from the heart in service to another person (actions based on compassion, caring, a desire to be of service).

The Peer Support Volunteer Training
Shanti peer support volunteers are trained to provide support over the course of a 26-hour training. This training includes experiential exercises, client and volunteer panels, and presentations and discussions on a variety of topics (including clinical issues, psychosocial issues and grief)

The Shanti Model is a harm reduction-based, active listening model that allows our volunteers to be who they truly are while providing compassionate, non-judgmental support to a wide range of clients.

“We do not serve the weak or the broken. What we serve is the wholeness in each other and the wholeness in life. The part in you that I serve is the same part that is strengthened in me when I serve. Unlike helping or fixing or rescuing, service is mutual”

- Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grand Father’s Blessings

To learn more or sign up for a training, please contact Volunteer Services at (415) 674-4708 or by email.

Peer Support Trainings

Spring 2016
Friday, March 18th
6 - 9:30pm
Saturday, March 19th
9am - 5:30pm
Sunday, March 20th
9am - 5:30pm
Wednesday, March 23rd
6 - 9:30pm

Please note that interested volunteers must attend ALL of the training dates listed above.

Direct Service Volunteer Application

For more information, please contact Volunteer Services via email or call 415-674-4708.

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