NIPS is a basic peer support community using the tools and assumptions of basic peer support to make the world a better place, specifically by creating peer support communities withing various populations who are seeking to better themselves and in social change movements seeking specific improvements in the world.
Typically, we begin with one or more residential, weekend workshops where a group of leaders in a population or social movement come together to learn these basic tools and establish the peer support relationships among one another which is the basis of our model.
We do not seek to compete with existing organizations in any population or movement, rather to put these tools in their hands. We expect that peer support will help eliminate some of the competition which makes our movements less effective.
We do seek to dramatically increase the number of people involveed in any popuation or movement, to develop local communities led by volunteers, to provide the political power requried for any significant change. Along with noted academics like Harvard’s Theda Scokpol hat the absence of large, local, grassroots communities has been the reason for the absence of significant social change, at least in the UNited States in the last fifty years. We were pleased to see Pulitzer Prize winning joutnalist and New York Times writer Tina Rosenberg, cite the importance of peer support organiztions for social change in here 2011 book, “Join the Club.” If not other organization exists at that local level or nationally, we expect members of our communities to form them.
The tools of NIPS Peer Support are described in that section of the website:
Weekend, residential workshops;
One-on-one listening turns between peers, in person or by phone.
Peer support groups, either face-to-face or by phone;
Topic Discussion Groups for peers to share information and identify problems;
Action Groups where peers loosely coordinate by sharing information, commit to individual actions in each others presence (and sometimes working together) and then take listening turns on what might get in the way of completing the actions they have just committed to;
Listening Days (formerly called “listening projects” where peers use the tool of uninterrupted listening with members of the public to increase the clarity of public opinion and the effectiveness of public action on the specific problem area.
In a local NIPS Peer Support Community deal, we expect our members to be holding regular one on one listening turns with each other, one or more peer support groups meeting, at least one Action Group to be meeting connecting the various organizations working on the issue, and regular Topic Group Discussion session being held to share information and identify problems to be addressed by additional Action Groups. We expect Action Groups to form around actions not currently being considered, such as Non-Violent Direct Action or Listening Days.
Listening Days will be held frequently to help the public move forward on the issue.
If the success of this model is a profound as it was in its first application with returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, we expect to see significant progress on the issues we tackle beginning with climate change.