Discover a New Sense of Meaning and Purpose by Becoming a TAPS Peer Mentor
Author: Michelle Knuppe
Peer Mentors are the foundation of the TAPS mission to provide compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a military loved one. Mentors offer support in ways that only someone who has walked the unique path of military loss can provide.
Survivors often express gratitude for the support they received from a mentor, and choose to pursue Peer Mentor training themselves because of a desire to give back and as a way to honor their loved one. What they discover is continued healing, posttraumatic growth, and resilience as they connect with their mentee to listen and offer support based on their shared experience of grief.
I discovered this myself as I mentored other surviving spouses. Listening and sharing my story - my journey of sudden loss, raising two boys on my own, navigating our ups and downs along the way, and even my journey of dating and getting married again - helped me see the growth my boys and I had experienced over the years. While conversations with my mentees were providing support to them and validating their experiences, I also found that those conversations helped me build confidence, and made me proud knowing I was honoring my husband, Mike.
If you are a survivor who is 18 months past your loss, we invite you to consider becoming a TAPS Peer Mentor. These two steps will get you started, and you will have robust support from our Peer Mentor Program team as you prepare to help others.
Complete a short application. This provides the Peer Mentor Team with important information that is used to pair you with a mentee based on your shared experiences and interests.
Sign up for a training session. We offer in-person and online training options, both of which include 4 hours of engaging, interactive content to equip you with the tools and skills needed to support your mentee. You will also get to know other mentors and build connections with a new group of survivors.
You may feel that perhaps you aren’t ready to become a support for another survivor. Remember, especially if you have attended TAPS events in the past, every time you share space with other survivors and listen to their stories, you are already exercising a key Peer Mentor skill. And you are likely already caring for others in this way. So let us come alongside you, and provide you with some additional tools to support you as you walk this journey with other survivors.
The TAPS Peer Mentor program offers you the opportunity to develop a new sense of meaning and purpose as you provide strength and encouragement to other survivors. We are ready to meet you where you are and explore how the Peer Mentor Program can be a helpful next step in your survivor journey. Visit TAPS Peer Mentors to learn more.
Michelle Knuppe is the Director of the TAPS Peer Mentor Program and the surviving spouse of U.S. Army CW3 Mike Mason.