Julie, I hear you, I really do, on a lot of levels. I honestly think that we provide good examples to show you. Don’t take Sera’s word for it though, or mine, come and see the work that we are doing if you are skeptical. I’m not sure if you are still in Massachusetts but if you are or if you are close I hope that you can come and spend some time in our community. I’m not from Western Mass, I’m from the Boston area and I moved here knowing no one and having really sort of nothing. It’s a weird place, I’m not sure if you’ve been here. It feels like the damned boonies to me. I miss the city. I want to go home. And yet, how can I leave this community? This place is like nothing that exists anywhere else. And I’ve seen other places! Not just here in Massachusetts but all over and nothing looks like this. And it isn’t perfect! It isn’t perfect but it’s real and it works for a lot of people. It’s like this oasis out in this strange place. I feel lucky all of the time to be part of this community. I can’t imagine it not continuing to grow and thrive the way that it has in the almost 3 years that I have been here. I don’t have a certification. I don’t have any degrees. These things matter to so many people in so many places. I know so well how people don’t listen to me for these reasons. I am aware of that and I also don’t care. I am a college drop out and I am a Certified Peer Specialist drop out. I am also the team coordinator at this amazing place called Afiya. I also chose to become an Intentional Peer Support trainer, something that isn’t the certification that DMH wants (CPS) but is something that I personally believe in wholeheartedly. It was a choice and not something forced upon me. Yes, DMH wants CPS and so do a lot of other places I am sure. I will not go so far as to say that cutting the training out is the answer, there are so many valid trainings out there that I have chosen to go through and that are not required but that really help to be able to support so many different sorts of folks. Some examples that I feel that I have benefited from are Hearing Voices, Alternatives to Suicide and Intentional Peer Support. I have experiences with hearing voices and feelings of suicide but that isn’t always enough. I believe that valuable trainings plus your own experiences support you to be solid in your role as a “peer” (I don’t like that term) advocate. Also, I don’t believe that most of us here cut down on the activism piece! I believe you that a lot of places do but we aren’t a lot of places. Some of us are pretty radical! If you want to make a difference in the world, I say go for it! I hope that you find the right community to join up with or that you strike out on your own and succeed with that! It’s a noble cause! I believe that we are doing just that here and I hope that we can always continue to do so!