“An Exercise in Grief” with Heleema Berg & Deb Mejchar – December 2023 Supervisor’s CPS/CPPS Community of Practice
December 2023 CPS & CPPS Supervisor’s Community of Practice
“An Exercise in Grief”
with Heleema Berg & Debra Mejchar
December 21st, 2023 from 1:30 – 3:00 pm CT
- Debra Mejchar
Deb Mejchar has been a Certified Peer Specialist for six years. She has learned from the Peer Community and presented and shared in the CPS community for many years. Deb has lived experience of incarceration and recently retired as a WI Department of Corrections. Deb studied and became a grief counselor through University of Wisconsin, Madison 2014. Throughout her career she has facilitated individual and group grief counseling sessions
- Heleema Berg
Heleema has overcome many struggles in her lifetime. Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo. Heleema came to Wisconsin as a teenager. Her lived experience includes poverty, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, substance, and sexual abuse in her younger years that spilled over into her adult life causing her to be confined 6.5 years of overall incarceration in both prisons and county jails. Heleema received her HSED while at John Burke Center in 2010. Released in 2010 Heleema faced many battles to turn her life around to become an upstanding citizen in her community. Heleema began to unofficially meet with recently released and formerly incarcerated individuals, as well as individuals still incarcerated to offer support and insight on troubleshooting life after incarceration.Heleema began a Human Services program at Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, WI. In hopes of gaining a more professional aspect to giving back. Heleema began to volunteer at local shelters, and pantries, and continue to attend trainings geared towards multiple community issues, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, trauma-informed care, child maltreatment, and substance abuse issues. In 2020 in the mist of The Corona virus pandemic Heleema was an intern at a peer-support ran community center, where she facilitated and co-facilitated SMART Recovery, grief, forgiveness focused, self-improvement, and motivational groups. This internship drove Heleema to become more involved in substance abuse issues and fueled a fire inside of Heleema to walk with others in their journey of becoming sober and living a better quality of life. Heleema changed her focus in college to mental health and substance abuse.In 2021 Heleema Began as an intern at We All Rise African American Resource Center, where she was hired on as BYA (Black Youth Alliance) Wisconsin Community Coordinator, in this role Heleema would visit local schools in attempts to reach out to youth, offering after school preventative programs. While her passion to assist formerly incarcerated individuals grew, she switched roles to Crime Victim Advocate, a role in which she provided case management for individuals in the community both formerly incarcerated and not. While in this role Heleema never stopped learning and growing, she continued to attend multiple trainings every month to provide self-enrichment. During this time, she graduated the Gener8tor program, a course geared towards tech, and customer service learning. In her role at We All Rise AARC Heleema also facilitated workshops geared towards Sex Trafficking with an emphasis on women of color.In December 2021 Heleema graduated with an associate degree in Human Services, as well as a Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate. In January of 2022 Heleema began a new journey at a mental health, substance abuse correctional facility in Wisconsin, as a Recovery Support Specialist, where she offers her life experience to others in their own journey, offering hope, insight and motivation, sending a message that anything is possible with change and determination. Heleema became a Wisconsin Certified Peer Specialist in 2022, and a trainer for Wisconsin Certified Specialist in 2023.
Heleema brings her own personal motto: Do not let anyone put you in a box, including yourself, as you can do anything you want if you work hard for it and never give up, change is possible.
The exercise that we will be participating in is a chance for you as individuals to examine your own personal feelings on dying. This is a personal exercise, and we won’t be examining your responses nor will the other participants. This is a quiet exercise that will require you to consider your own feelings and thoughts throughout the exercise. Talking should be limited.
Feedback Survey/CEH Information:
We invite you to please fill out the evaluation survey link (click here) if you attended this community of practice gathering or if you watch the recording. The survey will close at 4:30pm on Thursday, January 4th. Certificates of Participation will be sent to those completing the evaluation form by 4:30pm on January 11th, 2024. No evaluation surveys will be accepted for CEH credit after the evaluation survey’s closing date/time.
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