My journey to becoming a Certified Peer Specialist for the State of GA USA


















My journey to becoming a Certified Peer Specialist for the State of GA USA

I was once again not chosen for the Georgia Certified Peer Specialist Training to be held in September in Albany. This is the 44th training to date. “Thank you for your interest in the September 2014 Peer Specialist Training. Unfortunately, we could not accept you at this time. The applicant pool for the upcoming training was large, and we can only accept 40 – 45 peers for each class. This factor made the selection process very difficult. We look forward to receiving your application for future training. Our next training will be held October 20 – 30 in Savannah, GA. The application will be available on our website at on August 25th.

I will be applying for the training in Savannah in October. I feel very fortunate that I was chosen as a scholarship applicant to attend The Georgia Peer Support Institute Training at Simpsonwood Lodge and read my manual daily. I feel very honored to be a part of such a wonderful program and the great mentors I have met. It is the pre – requisite to the CPS Training and I will continue to read in my manual and work harder on my CPS Essay Exam Application for Savannah in October. The application will be available August 25th and I will get started immediately working on and assembling my application. I prepared a project board on the 5 Stages of Recovery that I still need to present to my class and my peers. Due to other obligations I was unable to present the project but still plan to set a date in order to present this project and send the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network my full report.

The GPSI training that I attended was held at Simpsonwood Lodge and I was a scholarship recipient and proud to have been a part of the program. I had the opportunity to meet many great people, mentors and new friends while attending the conference. During my training at GPSI I studied the following: Comfort Agreement, Project Planning, Walking Miracle, Five Stages of Recovery, WRAP, SSI Work Incentives, Advocacy, Mutual Support Self Help DTR Combating Negative Self Talk, PICBA, Project Planning, Resources and Evaluations. I will work from this manual and my WRAP book to apply once again for the training in Savannah in October. I have full intention of presenting my project to New Rock and submitting the report to The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network. I plan to take care of this just as soon as possible. I am also currently reading Developing A Recovery and Wellness Lifestyle. A self – help guide. From The US Department of Health and Human Services that was handed out at the Georgia Peer Institute training I attended at Simpsonwood Lodge.

In the past while in college I worked as a juvenile tracker for The Southwest Key Program for Newton and Rockdale Counties and visited the children on probation in their home, school and work environments keeping an eye on them and reporting directly back to the courts their status and progress. I hope to one day become a part of The ACT Team and visit others in the community who are recovering from mental challenges. I enjoyed that position I held for a while as a juvenile tracker and feel that I would make a great addition to The ACT Team in visiting those recovering in their home and work environment’s assisting them in their self – help journey to recovery.

1000+ Georgia Certified Peer Specialists Since October 2001

The State has rectified their once mistake time and time again but it has changed nothing as far as the reunification process of me and my daughter’s and my ex- husband continuing to alienate and estrange us by the act of hate. I want this state of GA to know that there have been 1000+ Georgia Certified Peer Specialists Since October 2001. 

And the requirements include:

> Candidates must have diagnosis of mental illness or a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addictive disease and must desire to identify themselves as a person with mental illness current or former consumer of mental health services.

> Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and may be requested to provide a copy of this document.

> Must demonstrate strong reading comprehension and written communication skills as indicated on their responses on the pre – test which is part of the application.

> Must have demonstrated experience with leadership, advocacy or governance.

> Must be well grounded in recovery

These facts are taken directly from the Certified Peer Specialist brochure.

I have completed New Rock Day Treatment program, The Respect Institute, The Georgia Peer Institute Training and am now hopeful to one day be accepted to attend the Certified Peer Specialist Training. I have full intention on not giving up. I am determined to obtain my CPS Certification and be gainfully employed by the State of GA as a CPS. No matter how long the essay exam application process takes me. As there is no right or wrong answer it is all essay exam questions. Beginning to work on this today. Please continue to follow me on my journey to becoming a Certified Peer Specialist and thank you to all those who offered support, uplifting and a kind word when I was chosen as a scholarship recipient for the GPSI training classes. I thank you.

When I graduated college at Dekalb Technical College I received The Velocity Award for my program of study. It was entitled The Metamorphosis of a Dream so each and everytime I see a caterpillar or a butterfly my mind goes directly to college and the fact that I was a homemaker raising 5 children and attended over 2 years of college as well as worked in the legal field and got my degree in Business and Legal Administration and Paralegal Certification. Every time I see a caterpillar of a butterfly my mind instantly goes in reminiscing mode of my college days and the fact that “I can do this!” I can complete this CPS Certification training. I feel if I can attend college, work and raise 5 children that I just need to continue to apply until my application is finally chosen.

Student Success Stories :


“Metamorphosis of a Dream”

April Sasser, the mother of five, thought she would never get out of dead end jobs, and calls her experience with GVTC the Metamorphosis of a Dream Having four children and another on the way, April’s aspirations and hopes of attending college were dim. After being a domestic engineer for the better part of ten years, April says “I became consumed with the desire to heighten my level of knowledge by furthering my education, broadening my horizons and forever be released from the depths of dead end jobs. I wanted to demonstrate that stay at home mothers do possess the ability as well as capability of obtaining a college education and reaching their career goals. April believes her virtual experience through GVTC, along with her determination, desire and belief that something extraordinary can happen resulted in her “metamorphic” transformation.

In the Fall of 2000 with the support and encouragement of her family, April enrolled in the Business/Legal Office Assistant program. Her first challenge was to adjust her traditional school schedule around her family responsibilities. During her first quarter, April attended a workshop for Internet courses. She began her second quarter by taking Internet courses from the comfort of her own home. She says “I had the convenience of courses with a short walk from my bedroom to my computer. This was especially beneficial to e because if I had to attend on campus classes, I may not have een able to attend many of the classes. The online course allowed me to complete assignments at my convenience. The online procedures were very well explained and detailed which make it easily accessible for the student. The teachers were knowledgeable and informative and were always available and willing to assist or help with any questions or concerns over the course material. “April says that some of her fellow students call her the “online queen” because she takes so many online classes. Being an internet student offers many positive aspects as well as flexibility. Just as you receive a work ethics grade in your regular on site campus courses, you receive a work ethics grade for Internet courses. Out of the 18 classes required for my program of study, I completed 11 online through GVTC. I was always pleased with my experiences from the Internet courses and maintained good grades even though I was not in a regular classroom setting. With the assistance and support of the Internet course program and teachers and my devotion to school, the Internet courses I participated in were always a success. I am very proud to say that I have been a part of Georgia Virtual Technical College and Dekalb Technical College. I will be forever grateful and indebted to all those whether my family, friends, teachers and or administrators that have provided me with assistance, advice and encouragement. Apri looks forward to becoming a lawyer, but says she feels like something is missing since she stopped taking the online courses. April’s story doesn’t end there. When in the Business/Legal Office Assistant program of study, April incorporated classes from the Paralegal Program offered at Dekalb Technical College and obtained her Paralegal Certificate. She contaced the Newton County Department of Labor to discuss employment possibilities for an internship . After hearing April’s Story, Deborah Hoercher, a career specialist at the Newton County Department of Labor in Covington, asked April if she would be interested in telling her story to a group of her clients. Ms. Hoercher felt April’s story of devotion and persistence to her education and family could be beneficial to others. April agreed to speak to the group as a motivational speaker. In June of this year, April was the motivated speaker and was invited to come back and speak to additional groups in the future.

Apri, we wish you continued success!

August 2002 Volume 2 Issue 3 Velocity.

I have also written the introduction of the Paralegal Program at Dekalb Technical College chosen by Honorable Virgil Costley to write the introduction for the Paragraph.The Newsletter for The Georgia Association of Paralegals as a Charter Member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations in April of 2002.

Paralegal Studies at Dekalb Technical College

In the fall of 2001, Dekalb Technical College began the Paralegal Studies program at its Covington – Newton Campus. The student may choose to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate in the Paralegal program of study and may apply for and receive financial aid where applicable. The Paralegal Studies program  provides educational opportunities that will enable them to succeed as paralegals. The curriculum consists of components designed to develop written, oral, and analytical skills in the areas of humanities, behavioral sciences, and mathematics along with specific training in legal ethics, legal writing and research, the court system, civil and criminal litigation, real estate practices, bankruptcy, tort law and contract law. Special emphasis is impressed upon students that the legal proscription against the unauthorized practice of law by anyone who is not a  licensed attorney, as well as the ethical duties attendant to the attorney – client relationship.

For further information into the Paralegal Studies program, please contact the Dean of Instruction Mrs. Delores Gaddie of the Covington – Newton Campus, or the Paralegal Studies program advisor, former Newton County Juvenile Court Judge, Mr. Virgil Costley. Details may be obtained by calling 770-786-9522 or visiting via the World Wide Web.

Dekalb Technical College is currently in the preparational stages of organizing and implementing a charter association of the Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP) located in Atlanta, Georgia which is under the direction of the National Federation Paralegal Association (NFPA) The Association will allow membership of students as well as local legal assistants, paralegals and attorneys who are interested and would like to become a part of GAP/NFPA. Membership and affiliation with GAP/NFPA would allow for many positive benefits. Including national and local support, guidance and promotion of paralegals. For more information on the many benefits and membership information into GAP or NFPA please visit their website at or Additional details in regard to membership will be made public in the near future or you may contact the student activities coordinator of Dekalb Technical College, Mrs, Jane Bell – Russo at 770-786-9522

April Sasser

Student Liaison, Paralegal Studies Program/Legal Office Specialist Studies Program

Dekalb Tchnical College

Covington – Newton Campus

The Paragraph April 2002 page 9

I was honored to have been asked and to write this introduction article by Honorable Virgil Costley while in college.

“I can do this too!” I can become a Certified Peer Specialist for the State of Georgia and help others along their path to recovery. I have become dear friends with my peers and plan to continue to hold them near and dear to my heart and to continue to cherish the many mentors I have had along my life’s path.

Photo taken at :The Monastery of Our Lady of The Holy Spirit Conyers, GA










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