A Brief Tour of
Last updated 2020 Jul 29
Who is the PeerGalaxy Calendar for? Anyone seeking recovery from pandemic stress, emotional distress, grief, mental health, addictions, co-occurring substance use challenges and/or trauma. PeerGalaxy is an online community and portal for finding peer support and wellness activities.
Connecting with an individual having lived experience who can listen, understand, relate to and grow with us wherever we are in our journey is what we call PEER SUPPORT.
WELLNESS is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. WELLNESS is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. Offerings of WELLNESS ACTIVITIES can take many forms such as breathwork, guided art, movement, dance, chair yoga, meditation, sound, music, drum circles, journaling, book clubs, social inclusion, Tai Chi and more.
In spring of 2020, the PeerGalaxy Calendar was launched with a vision and goal to identify and provide real-time access to a rich menu of telephone and online peer support and wellness activities available around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, FREE or pay-as-you-can sliding scale.
Growing every day, the peer support and wellness offerings in the PeerGalaxy Calendar total over 10,000+ (~300+ per day) so far plus over 5,000+ hours of combined telephone peer support available through 25+ warmlines, some having multiple operators available simultaneously. Visitors can connect with someone live almost any time of the day, and if for some reason no-one is available to answer in person, links to videos and forums are available. Since launching the PeerGalaxy Calendar website, our web traffic statistics indicate that in 2020 PeerGalaxy had:
- Over 1.5 Million Hits
- Over 1/2 Million Pages Viewed
- Over 1/2 Million organic Shares / Impressions
- Over 110 Thousand Visits
- Over 7 Minutes Average Visit Duration
The PeerGalaxy web team is in the process of migrating and testing PeerGalaxy Calendar 2.1 Beta with added features for improved user experience, searchability, management, access and the ability for users to add events (subject to approval).
Lets review these new features:
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ACCESSIBILITY AND TRANSLATE LANGUAGE BUTTONS
We have an Accessibility Button for enhanced viewing and access options. This accessibility button is a bright pink circle with a white disability icon inside and appears on the right side, halfway down the page in the middle.
Clicking on the Accessibility Button opens a window titled “Accessibility Adjustments.” In this window you can turn on viewing profiles for specific user needs. For example the Epilepsy Safe Profile eliminates flashes and certain color profiles for users with Epilepsy, while the Visually Impaired Profile enhances the visuals displayed for users with a variety of visual impairments. There are also profiles to serve users with other disabilities and challenges. For persons with motor impairment, there is a key navigation profile which allows the user to operate the website using keyboard commands.
If the user does not wish to use one of the viewing profiles, they can customize the site by selecting options by selecting from the 3 areas immediately below the viewing profiles. These include Content Adjustments to modify how text is displayed, Color Adjustments to change the text colors and contrast and Orientation Adjustments to hide images, change cursor colors and more.
If you want to go back to the way the site was originally displayed, there is an option to reset settings and start over.
PeerGalaxy now provides language options for the website. Clicking on the purple Translate button located in the bottom left corner of the screen displays language options, each represented by a national flag – the flags for countries appear in alphabetical order from A to Z, horizontally left to right, several rows down. To select a language select the flag icon representing that language. To revert to English you would select the flag for the United States which is the first flag in the list. To select Spanish, click the flag for Spain which appears among countries with names beginning with ‘S’.
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CALENDAR VIEWS AND SEARCH FILTERS
Event Category Links
In the Event Category Links section there are several shortcut links to different “views” of the calendar. These views display events sorted into specific categories.
Clicking on an Event Category Link will take the user directly to a calendar displaying events in that category.
Below each calendar view there is a blue (Return to TOP) button that when clicked will take you back up to the list of Event Category Links near the top of the page.
Lets review each of the Event Category Links and learn about the events that they will display when selected.
All: This calendar view displays all of the offerings available as of today’s date. This link does display all of the events available in all categories. Bundled, all-day event listings appear at the top followed by time-specific events. See more on those two categories below.
Warmlines: This calendar view displays a list of telephone-accessible warmline services where peers can talk directly with peer supporters. Warmlines serve a wide variety of peers and often address specific topics or needs. This category generally does not include hotlines, crisis lines, or emergency services. However, due to the pandemic, the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline is listed and available 24/7.
Bundled Event Listings: This calendar view displays a list of organizations with offering multiple services and activities, generally too numerous to list as separate events. These listings often include a link to search for events and activities by location, by time of day, or other variables. Some services are available to multiple times daily, weekly, or monthly. A few listings in this category are available 24/7 as an online forum, message board, or as a series of videos.
Time Specific: This calendar view displays events and activities that occur on a specific date and/or time. This view excludes bundled events so you can quickly look through the offerings in the course of a day from morning to night and see what’s coming up now, soon, or next.
Adult: This calendar view displays events and activities for peer support, recovery and/or wellness appropriate for adults 18+ years old and above.
Family/Caregiver: This calendar view displays events and activities for peer support, recovery and/or wellness to address the needs of families, family members, caregivers and natural supports. Events in this category may also include events for children, youth and adolescents to be considered by the adult family/caregiver(s).
Young Adult: This calendar view displays events and activities for peer support, recovery and/or wellness especially designed for young adults, typically in the age range of 18-24. In addition, some young adults may be emancipated by age 16.
Webinars: This calendar view displays informational webinars, online presentations, dialogs and similar events on a variety of topics. This category usually does not include direct services, such as direct peer support.
Training: This link currently brings up a document in PDF format prepared by the Oregon Health Authority listing training events for peer supporters, including family support, youth support, and adult peer support – mental health and/or addictions recovery. At a later time, this may transition to a calendar view.
Special Events: This calendar view displays special events and activities such as virtual conferences, summits or gatherings that may include multiple stakeholders or communities of interest. Sometimes these events address timely topics and may involve multiple community groups or sectors.
Consumer / Stakeholder Input Opportunities: This calendar view displays events where consumers and stakeholders are invited to provide input on issues and decisions relevant to individual(s), family(s), and/or their community(s). Examples include public meetings with public comment, public hearings, listening sessions, public forums, town halls and other civic meetings.
*Remember after selecting a category and viewing that page you can always return to the top of the calendar page by using the (Return to TOP) button located below the calendar view for the event category you selected.
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CALENDAR DISPLAY OPTIONS
Now that we have reviewed options for searching by Event Categories let’s review more ways you can interact with the calendar views to search and find events.
Calendar Display Options
There is a drop-down for different display options including: Posterboard, Tile, Stream, Agenda, Week and Month views.
Each of these options lets you view events in a different format.
For example when you select Posterboard you see a short description of the event, the sponsors logo and its event category.
Pop-Up Event Details Display (Open & Close)
Clicking on an event will open up a pop-up event detail page with a description of the event and other event details.
To close the pop-up event detail page, click on the ‘x’ in the upper right corner of the popup event detail page.
Calendar Display Options continued
You can go back to the display button drop-down menu and select another view such as Agenda. In Agenda view it displays each event by title with date, time, and venue.
You can select any of the views that you are comfortable with including weekly or monthly views which will display events organized in a weekly or monthly screen.
Please notice that the display button shows your viewing option currently active for the calendar: Posterboard, Tile View, Stream View, Agenda, Weekly or Monthly
You can mark your favorite events by clicking on the clickable heart symbol button that appears after the event title name. You can unmark an event removing favorite status by clicking on the heart symbol button again.
SHARING BUTTONS *NEW*
There is a clickable sharing button with an arrow symbol or the word “share“. When you click on the share button it displays sharing options such as Facebook, Twitter, Print, Email and more. If you click or select one of the sharing options, your web browser will likely initiate the sharing option.
Clicking a social media share option such as Facebook, generally results in a new browser window with a preview of the share and the option to add additional text, along with a clickable button labeled “post” near the bottom right; upon clicking post, it will typically share and post the event link, along with any comments you added, to your social media page with the default audience settings you specify and/or grant permission to for viewing new posts. In some cases, the audience choice that appears may be your most recent one, rather than a default one.
Clicking print may initiate your default printer to print a hard copy.
Clicking email may initiate your default email program or ask you what email program you prefer to use on your computer such as Outlook.
SEARCH EVENTS BY KEYWORD OR PHRASE
Using the All Offerings calendar view as an example, check out the top of the calendar frame where there is a search button immediately to the right which will allow you to enter words or phrases to find matching events.
FILTERS TO SEARCH AND FIND EVENTS
In addition to new display options for calendar views, there are new SEARCH FILTERS provided at the top of each calendar. These SEARCH FILTERS appear at the top of each calendar page ( in any view).
Filters include but may not be limited to:
Categories, Tags, Venues, Organizers and Language.
When you click on a filter, a drop-down menu of options is displayed so you can select the term you want to search for. Once you have made a selection the calendar will display events that match that filter selection.
You can use any of the filters provided alone or in combination.
For example if you click on the Categories filter and select 1-adult peer support recovery and wellness from the drop down menu the calendar will display events that match that selection.
If you then click on the Tags filter and then select addiction from the drop down menu the calendar will refresh and display events that are included in the filter Category 1-adult peer support recovery and that have “addiction” as a Tag.
If you want to refine your search further you can select additional filters and choose from their drop down menus as well.
For example If you click on Venues you can further sort your search to include only those events offered over zoom or by a location, you could go even further by filtering by Organizers to choose a specific agency finally you could filter by language to find events provided in one of the languages provided in the drop down menu under language.
Please notice that when a filter is in use a dotted line appears under the filter and an X appears to the right of it. This tells you that a filter is active.
To turn off a filter just click on the ‘X’.
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ADDING AN EVENT
For users that want to create new events to the PeerGalaxy Calendar, the site now provides the option for anyone to add new events, subject to approval by the web team.
Located at top left of any calendar view there is an ADD EVENT button. Click this button to open the form for submitting a new event. Enter the information requested in each of the spaces provided to create the event listing submission.
Event Title Start by entering a Title for the event, you may wish to indicate the sponsor of the event and its venue in the title.
Starts In this row enter the date and time the event will begin.
Ends In this row enter the date and time the event ends.
All-day Check this box of the event does not have a specific start and end time.
ADD TIME ZONE Click on this box to select the time zone for the event. A drop down menu will appear with a list of timezones to select from.
ADD RECURRENCE Click on this button to select when this event will repeat. Click on the repeats menu to review the options for scheduling when the event repeats. Click on the option that best fits the schedule for your event and then enter the information requested to schedule the event.
Selecting Filters for the Event
The following areas are used to create search filters for your event.
Add a Tag Click in this box to open a menu of tags that can be used to identify your event. Click on the tag that you want and it will appear in green below the Add a Tag window. You can repeat the process to add as many tags as you need. If you want to remove a tag click on x that appears next to the selected tag ( in green) and it will be removed.
If you cannot find a Tag for your event it is possible to create a new tag by clicking on the NEW button to the right of the Add a tag box. Attention: Before creating a new tag please look through the list of available tags carefully and try to find an existing tag.
Add a Category Click in this box to see a drop down menu of event categories that you can select to help others search for your event. When you select a category it will appear on the screen in green. You can select additional categories by repeating the process. If you wish to remove a category you have already chosen click on the x that appears next to the green tag and it will be removed.
If you cannot find a Category that describes your event it is possible to create a new category by clicking on the NEW button to the right of the Add a category box. Attention: Before creating a new Category please look through the list of available categories carefully and try to find an existing category.
Add an Organizer Click in this box to see a drop down menu of event organizers. When you click on add an organizer a menu of organizations and agencies will appear to select from. Click on the organization that is sponsoring your event and it will appear below the Add an organizer box in green. If you wish to remove an organizer you have already chosen, click on the x that appears next to the green tag and it will be removed.
If you cannot find an organizer for your event it is possible to create a new category by clicking on the NEW button to the right of the Add a organizer box. Attention: Before creating a new organizer please look through the list of available organizers carefully to make sure it is not already listed.
Add a Venue Click in this box to see a drop down menu of physical locations and online access providers like Zoom, Skype etc. . When you click on add a venue a menu of options will appear. Click on the venue for your event and it will appear below the Add an Venue box in green. If you wish to remove a venue you have already chosen, click on the x that appears next to the green tag and it will be removed.
If you cannot find a venue for your event it is possible to create a new venue by clicking on the NEW button to the right of the Add a Venue box. Attention: Before creating a new venue please look through the list of available venues carefully to make sure it is not already listed.
Add a Language Click in this box to indicate the language that your event will be available in. When you click on Add a Language a menu of languages will appear. Click on the language for your event and it will appear below the Add an Venue box in green. If you wish to remove a language you have already chosen, click on the x that appears next to the green tag and it will be removed.
Contact Name Enter the name of the contact person for the event here.
Contact Email Enter the email that users can use in regard to the event.
Contact Phone Enter the phone number that users can use in regard to the event.
UPLOAD AN IMAGE Click on this button to include and image for your event. A window will open asking you to select a photo or image file. Select the image and click on the upload or open button to insert it into your event.
Description Use this space to enter a description of your event. You can type or paste text into the description window. There are some tools available for formatting the text including alignment and bolding.
SUBMIT EVENT Click on this button to submit your event. Before the event is published on the PeerGalaxy Calendar it will be reviewed by a system administrator.
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SUBSCRIBE TO A FEED
Another cool feature is the ability to subscribe and/or export events to a feed for your calendar. There is an ICS button in the lower left of the calendar view frame at the bottom. If you select the desired filters, you can save a feed that will let you automatically get events from this calendar added to yours.
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Thank you for your interest in PeerGalaxy. We are excited to share the newest PeerGalaxy Calendar features, vision and potential to reach even more people with telephone- and online access for Peer Support, Recovery and Wellness Activities.
Shout out of deep gratitude to our Visionary Community Supporters including Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Oregon Mental Health Consumer Association (OMHCA), Mental Health and Addictions Association of Oregon (MHAAO), Peer Support Solutions (PSS), Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition (OCSC), Folktime and all the others who supported bringing this PeerGalaxy Calendar to life.
Please contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any comments or questions about the PeerGalaxy Calendar. And most importantly, we ask you to check out and share this resource with your friends, families, networks, and anyone you feel could benefit. Thank you!!