Photo of two people smiling at the camera and serving food. There are other people in the background not looking at the camera also serving food.

Pathways Vermont Community Center

What is Peer Support ?

Peer support is an approach to building relationships that are mutual and genuine. Mutual means that something is only working if it’s working for both/all parties. Genuine means that we are going to show up ready to connect on a human-to-human level as a learner and not an expert. Peer support staff are chosen for their ability to relate and connect with others in part because of their life experience. They are able to relate to distress, marginalization, and oppression because they have been through it.

Peer Support May Be Helpful If Someone:

  • Is looking for a connection or to be heard
  • Is interesting in exploring alternative perspectives to make sense of their experience
  • Would like to get connected to a community/group/etc.
  • Isn’t understanding or being understood by other providers and needs a “translator” or mediator
  • Has an advocacy need
  • Would like to practice judgment-free connection with others in person or remotely
  • Would like to talk to another person who has had a similar experience (it’s possible that no one on our team has had this particular experience, but we try to connect people and find that shared experience)
  • Is feeling traumatized or harmed by treatment/the system
  • Is looking for support or information on reducing, changing, or eliminating psychiatric drugs

One-on-One Peer Support & Employment Support

*If you are seeking peer support or connection, please call the Pathways Vermont Support Line at (833) VT – TALKS  or attend one of our virtual groups listed at the bottom of this page!

The Pathways Vermont Community Center, located at 279 N. Winooski Avenue, Burlington, is staffed by individuals who identify as having lived experience with issues such as mental health crises, trauma, substance use, and homelessness. Staff are trained to provide what is referred to as “peer support.” Peer Support is a service delivery distinct from traditional mental health services. The peer approach to services encourages individuals to draw from their own lived experience when connecting with and supporting others. This unique approach to relationships with service recipients has been proven effective in engaging individuals who might otherwise avoid mental health services and at promoting hope, resiliency and well-being.

We are currently offering flexible individual peer support and employment support services, meeting one-on-one with folks in-person or remotely. These meetings are held by Center staff, and can be scheduled around an individual’s needs. Employment support can include help with job seeking, resume development, cover letter writing, and more. If you’re interested in connecting for peer support, employment support, and/or being added to the PVCC newsletter, contact [email protected], or give us a call 802-777-4633.

PVCC Facilitated Groups

We offer weekly facilitated Peer Support Zoom Groups through our Center.  These groups are open to anyone over 18, and are facilitated by Pathways staff. As a security measure for first time attendees we ask that you reach out to us directly to express interest in the group – [email protected] or 802-777-4633.

Drop-in Peer Support:  Mon-Fri 10am-1pm  | Pathways Community Center 279 N. Winooski Ave, Burlington | The Community Center is now open M-F from 10am-1pm offering drop-in peer support with our various staff.  Swing by to connect with our staff, availability on a first come first serve basis.

PVCC Van Trips: Pathways Community Center has access to a van for going on outings.  Please check-in monthly for a new list of trips, or send us your ideas of where you’d like to see us go.  Space is limited, please RSVP with interest, and we will try to accommodate as many folks as best we can

Laughter Yoga: Monday 1:15pm-2:15pm EST In-Person and on Zoom | | Laughter Yoga was founded in India in 1995, by Dr. Madan Kataria, M.D., and his wife Madhuri, a yoga teacher. It combines gentle yogic breathing techniques with genuine, spontaneous laughter exercises. Dr. Kataria developed Laughter Yoga inspired by several scientific papers he had read on the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of genuine, spontaneous laughter. Anyone can do this practice; no yoga mat, or special clothing, required. Come as you are for a gentle, fun, easy, restorative session to start your week off feeling good.

Hearing Voices: Tuesdays 3pm-4pm EST In-Person  |  The Hearing Voices group upholds a fundamental belief that there are many ways to understand the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences.  We seek to utilize this alternative approach to coping with emotional distress that is empowering and useful to those with lived experience or mental health challenges and which does not start from the assumption that we have a chronic illness.  We are a peer support group which seeks to build mutual understanding about voice hearing and other phenomena which are a common part of having lived experience or mental health challenges.  We hope to empower each other through sharing our stories and those strategies and coping skills which have benefited us on our journeys.

Writing Circle: Tuesdays 4pm-5:30pm EST In-Person and on Zoom | | The Writing Circle is a facilitated space to write creatively in community with one another.  Facilitators choose monthly themes, and folks get time to write and time to share during each meeting.

Anxiety Relief Group : Wednesday 4pm-5:30pm EST Zoom Group  | | Anxiety Relief Group is a safe setting for relaxing and exploring your feelings with others through gentle socialization and self expression. Building up what makes you centered and strong.

Community Cooking : Wednesday 6pm-8pm EST |  Join Pathways staff and volunteers to cook a yummy meal together. Every week we chop vegetables, chat about our lives, and dance to music. The food we cook is first served to the chefs and volunteers, then to the Pathways Community Center and the Food Not Bombs daily free lunch. No cooking experience necessary!

Fourteen people standing in a group in front of a wall and screen.

Upcoming Events

Community Center staff aims to create a vibrant community that supports resilience through collective learning, creative exploration, and mutual support. Join us at an upcoming event! Click here to see the current month’s calendar.

Peer Assisted Vocational Employment (PAVE)

At Pathways Vermont, we value your preferences and dreams. We want to provide you with 100% free and high-quality employment support. We explore your individual likes, needs, and barriers towards employment, to help guide you towards a career that best suits you!

Our employment services live at the Pathways Vermont Community Center where we offer drop-in employment support as well as one-on-one long-term support to help you in your search. We can help with everything from job searching, resume aid, interview preparation, and ongoing follow-up through collaboration and a peer-to-peer approach.

We work with all individuals 18 and older. Through a collaboration with HireAbility Vermont, we offer further specialized assistance for individuals between the age of 18 and 40 who identify as an individual with a disability (physical, mental, intellectual, etc.). HireAbility Vermont can assist with work related expenses to move towards employment goals from training to attire, assistive technology, and transportation costs.

If you would like to explore vocational support through PAVE, please contact [email protected] or stop by our Community Center at 279 N. Winooski Ave in Burlington between 10 am -1 pm, Monday – Friday.


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