Building Inclusive Communities Through Peer Mentoring: A Tool for Change
Keywords:inclusion; postsecondary education; intelletual disability; peer mentoring
Qualitative research was conducted to unearth the personal and professional impact on peer mentors who volunteer to support students with ID in an inclusive postsecondary program. 344 written reflections provided by 85 peer mentors over a ten-year period were analyzed using Grounded Theory. Results focus on three categories, including 1) Professional Learning; 2) Intrapersonal Learning; and 3) Broadening Friendship Networks. A fourth category, Challenging [dis]ability, demonstrated an impact of the peer mentoring experience that extended beyond personal and professional benefits gained by peer mentors, with implications for altering societal views of individuals with disabilities, recognizing abilities over disabilities.