Thomas Tyson is the inaugural Peer Advocacy Fellow at Steel Smiling, an “Organization-in-Residence” of Neighborhood Allies. In this role, Thomas leverages his lived experiences and training as a Certified Peer to facilitate critical Peer Support Services through a blend of community support groups, mental health check-ins and other community wellness activities. Peer Support provides a platform for individuals to share their stories, offer guidance, as well as a listening ear. Through the power of lived experiences, community members empower each other to overcome obstacles, build resilience, and navigate the intricacies of personal growth.
In Thomas’ previous role as a Life Skills Trainer, he also served in a Peer Support capacity, encouraging program participants to discuss their needs and goals, develop plans and strategies for wellness, and to develop self-efficacy. Additionally, Thomas has served as a Youth Advocate and Mentor, advocating for youth in court settings and supporting their overall wellness throughout the process. He has also participated in Steel Smiling’s Beams to Bridges program at the Kingsley Association and got connected to resources through the Black Mental Health Fund prior to his tenure with the organization.
Thomas’ professional interests lie in the promotion of mental health and wellness and dismantling of stigma for Black Men, specifically. Thomas is also deeply passionate about supporting those community members who are experiencing either the criminal justice system or the juvenile justice system, as he acknowledges the propensity for these systems to cause further harm and detract from wellness.