Certified Peer Specialist, Project HOME

Posted by Project HOME on August 29, 2016


Project HOME is a Philadelphia non-profit organization empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, health care, and education. Our mission is to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. Join us.

We are currently looking for a part-time CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST for our Stephen Klein Wellness Center and certain residential locations in Philadelphia, PA. The CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST will provide education, support, and coaching for Project HOME residential clients participating in the Peer Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) Study in partnership with Columbia University. The Peer GLB Study involves a group-based educational, skill-building, and healthy lifestyle program designed to increase healthy eating and exercise in overweight and obese individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). The Certified Peer Specialist works closely with Project HOME residential and healthcare staff (i.e. case managers and clinical teams) as well as the research team to lead group-based education sessions designed to help individuals with SMI achieve lasting health behavior changes, lose weight and improve their overall physical health.


  • Training: Participate in training for this study. This involves travel with the study team to complete a 2-day Group Lifestyle Balance training workshop in New York, NY. This also involves additional nutrition and exercise training sessions, as well as follow-up instruction regarding use of visual aids, self-monitoring tools, and other program components as needed.
  • GLB Coaching: Includes leading and facilitating healthy lifestyle group-based sessions involving a healthy lifestyle curriculum and nutrition sessions, exercise groups, and health promotion support under the supervision of study and agency staff. Responsibilities include drawing from personal experiences recovering from mental illness to validate clients’ experiences and to provide education, guidance, support, and encouragement to clients to actively engage in exercise and increase healthy eating. Reinforce GLB curriculum and professional recommendations for increasing regular physical activity and healthy eating during face-to-face encounters with clients and conduct 1-on-1 sessions with participants who miss group sessions. Encourage and support participants with goal-setting, problem-solving and self-monitoring.
  • Role Modeling: Setting examples of positive healthy lifestyle change, including regular participation in GLB group sessions, participation in regular physical activities, increasing healthy eating, and self-monitoring physical activity and diet.
  • Teamwork: Collaborate with Project HOME and Columbia University staff to assist clients with referrals and escorts to health care providers for medical clearances, as well as conducting participant outreach and engagement to maximize recruitment, participation and retention in the GLB study. Collaborate with the GLB study team to promote a team culture in which mental health, health professionals and peer specialists work together to support clients’ healthy lifestyle change. Provide on-going education to help non-peer team members better understand clients’ unique and subjective experience and perceptions.
  • Documentation and reporting: Maintain written and computerized records, compile reports, and complete other program documentation as needed, including tracking client attendance at all group sessions. Assist with tracking project expenses, including client transportation reimbursements for group sessions.
  • Team Meetings: Participate in case conferences, weekly supervision, staff meetings, and perform other duties as required.


  • High School Diploma or GED required.
  • Completion of Philadelphia’s Certified Peer Specialist training program is REQUIRED or must be obtained within the first year of employment.
  • Personal experience adopting a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and diet, and willingness to encourage and inspire others to do so through wellness support and coaching is required.
  • Direct experience as a consumer of public mental health services is preferred, as is prior paid or volunteer work experience with adults with serious mental illnesses.
  • Prior experience leading or co-leading group activities is preferred.
  • Strong commitment to the rights and abilities of persons with serious mental illness to pursue a healthy lifestyle; and have access to helpful, adequate, competent supports and services to promote wellness and health behavior change.


  • Patience, creativity, flexibility, compassion, and sensitivity to persons with disabilities and other minority populations.
  • Ability to work well with others and in groups, strong teamwork, and excellent communication skills.
  • Prior experience using a smart phone, email, and the Internet preferred.
  • Bilingual English/Spanish is preferred, not required.

Project HOME is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All offers of employment are contingent on successful completion of a drug screen and background checks.


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