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A celebration of a recent graduate.

Arise Academy is thrilled to share the story of Larissa; a recent graduate and strong supporter of our programmes for the uplifting personal and professional skills gained throughout. Larissa explains the huge need for our programme and the way in which it’s delivered through a combination of online learning with a group of fellow learners and a tutor, along with workplace experience: “The demand for peer support workers in our community is sadly only increasing and a role in which say AI will never provide a solution. The way in which it is delivered online making it manageable, practical as well as flexible means it offers people whom ordinarily may not be able to consider study an option the opportunity of access.”

“I’m proud of what I have achieved and excited about what the future brings.”

Larissa started her New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Peer Support) (Level 4) in early 2023, when she was given an opportunity to pilot the programme.

She says, “I had already made a conscious decision to take time to work on myself seeking recovery, so I packed up my home of 8 years and moved into a supported living home. Initially I viewed my studies as just another way to keep myself safe, and remain focused and connected and gaining a qualification at the same time was a win win situation, however that later shifted as my studies progressed and I realised that I had so much to offer given my life experience, and I could put my many years of wasted potential to greater use.”

Larissa jumped into her online studies while working and volunteering her time at a local centre for mental health and addictions support. She found that she was able to balance her work and study well, with the quick feedback and support from her tutor, and was able to connect with the course content in ways that enhanced her personal life journey of recovery, and in her work experience. “What I learned from the modules has been both helpful and useful. The information was always delivered in a way in which was easy to digest and kept my interest. It allowed me to think and see other viewpoints I may not have considered. I learned a lot about myself through the work also and have been able to apply to my own recovery. My tutor was supportive and helpful and extremely encouraging and I always looked forward to her feedback.”

One of the focusses in the course content is developing goals, and strategies for achieving them. Larissa goes on to explain that her study helped her see her potential, abilities and ways she could use her lived experience to support others recovery journeys.

“Through doing my studies I became aware of the lack of support available to woman in recovery, both in the community and for those who are in custody due to their drug and alcohol issues. I put together a proposal for support in opening a support house for women. And I’m sitting here just under a year later [running my own women’s wellness centre].”

We couldn’t be more proud of Larissa, and everything she is doing to contribute to the community and the women around her… but most importantly, she’s developed a stronger sense of recovery, goals and resilience for her own life journey, pride in herself and a new-found sense of achievement.

“I’m proud of what I have achieved and excited about what the future brings.”



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