The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for people with substance use disorders and in recovery, as the social isolation and stress can increase susceptibility to substance misuse, addiction, and relapse. If you or someone close to you has been impacted by alcohol or drug abuse, either during or before the pandemic, then you understand the critical importance of a good support system for individuals and families who are recovering from substance addiction.
The Peer Volunteer Program (PVP), a collaborative effort between PG&E, IBEW and ESC, was designed to provide help and support for PG&E employees who are dealing with alcohol or substance use disorders. Peer Volunteers are PG&E employees who are either in recovery or who have lived with a loved one with an alcohol or substance use disorder. They each have at least two years of sobriety, and many Peers have 10+ years clean and sober. The Peers have come together in their sobriety to assist others who also have a desire to become clean and sober.
Each Peer has been trained by the Employee Assistance Program and has a working knowledge of the substance use disorder treatment facilities in their respective territories and that are also covered by the company’s insurance. The Peers are not licensed mental health professionals, but have access to one if needed. They are available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide free, confidential services to employees, as well as family members who are seeking support in coping with a loved one’s addiction. Together, they’ve helped dozens of their fellow employees get the help they need, without judgement.
Each year, the PVP hosts a small ceremony to recognize the Peers who have gone above and beyond to assist their co-workers.
As a memorial to PVP co-founder and long-time union staffer Roger Stalcup, the Stalcup Award gives recognition to Peers who have demonstrated outstanding service to their PG&E fellow employees, their families, and/or the PVP. This year, the Stalcup award was given to IBEW 1245 member Rebecca Singleton-Willson, a senior service representative and co-chair of the PVP. Read here moving story here.
In honor of PVP co-founder and former PG&E executive Bob Haywood, the Bob Haywood Award gives recognition to non-Peers who have gone above and beyond to promote and support the PVP. This year’s recipient of the Haywood Award is Brent Turner, an IBEW 1245 retiree who has continued to work with the PVP in retirement.
Local 1245 commends Sister Singleton-Willson and Brother Turner, as well as the rest of the Peers, for their dedication and commitment to supporting others in recovery.
If you’d like to learn more and get involved with the PVP, or if you’re seeking support for a substance addiction, please visit http://www.peervolunteers.org/.