From the Founder's Desk

December 2022

Phyllis L. Rodgers, Founder & CEO

Warm Greetings & Well Wishes to ALL


December 2022 already has the feeling of a distant memory. Twenty-one years ago,

Peer Plus Education and Training Advocates was but a mere thought that came to me during a critical time in my life. The daily onslaught of tension, negativity and stress was rearing ugly heads from everywhere. Added to those challenges was the fact that I had little focus or direction on what my next steps would or could be. You have heard many stories of how and why Peer Plus came into existence, but let me briefly share that story one more time.


There was (and continues to be, for that matter) a need to bring essential health information to underserved communities all over the Midwest, and for that information to be delivered in ways and formats that were both understandable and meaningful. Three friends decided to give the fledging idea of a health organization a try, and here we are, many years later. First, thank you to Khandi Dotson and Corella Payne for their unwavering commitment to the mission and vision of the agency. Additionally, none of this would have happened without Eloise Dotson, and the professionalism, time and efforts she made to register and legitimize Peer Plus.

Over the years, we have been “boots on the ground” and the voice for many. Our volunteer community continues to expand and evolve, providing us with support and services that has helped Peer Plus broaden our services and to be the anchor for so many families in need. 

We thank you for your support and will continue to bring you relevant and useful health and wellness information in 2023.

Be well. Be safe. Be mindful to take good care

of youas you do for those in your care.



Peer Plus is proud to welcome our new corporate partners:

Mark Your Calendar!

Look out for details on these 2023 Peer Plus events:

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26th, 1 - 3 p.m.

In honor of Black History Month, Peer Plus will host a community health fair, "Jumpstart Your Health and Wellness," in partnership with

The University of Chicago, at Providence Missionary Baptist Church, located at 8401 S. Ashland, Chicago. Free screenings, vendors, speakers.

MARCH - Colorectal Cancer Awareness & Women’s Month

APRIL - Minority Health Month             

JUNE - Juneteenth & Black Family Cancer Awareness Week (June 15-21)

SEPTEMBER - Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

OCTOBER - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and

the Peer Plus Annual Fundraiser Gala (Oct. 1st)

Recent Activities

Supplies for the Delta

Peer Plus shipped COVID-19 test kits

to support Freddie White-Johnson, founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation, which is being built in Ruleville, Mississippi. Since 2004, the nonprofit has provided cancer screenings and educational outreach, especially in hard-to-reach rural populations. To learn more, visit

Impressive Leadership

Peer Plus Founder Phyllis Rodgers (far left) was a guest of YWCA Chief Empowerment Officer Loren Simmons (right) at a special 50th Annual Leader Luncheon on Nov. 17th at the Chicago Hyatt Regency. The theme, "Because of Her," was a tribute to the movement and mission of the organization and "a nod to the countless women who are part of the YWCA's legacy of impact."

Church Health Ministry

Dr. Andre T. Dejean (right), medical director of the Norma Jean Sanders Free Clinic (4608 S. Greenwood, Chicago) hosted a free "Health Fair & Market" on Dec. 14th. Kim Angelo from Exact Sciences joined the Peer Plus exhibit table to talk with community residents about the importance of colorectal screenings. About 20 vendors provided screenings, product info and healthcare tips and guidance.

Parental Development

On Dec. 16th Peer Plus Ambassador Jami Newbon (left) was a featured speaker at the workshop: "My Angry Child: What Must I do? Strategies to Control Angry Feelings." The two-part program was facilitated by

Dr. Frankie Swoope-Bynum (right), owner of First Impression printing, and held at the Hilton Oak Lawn. Attendees learned how to be calm and loving as they work with their children through difficult times.

Resources for Seniors

Peer Plus participated in a "Senior Resource Fair" on Nov. 3rd in partnership with Christine Bowden and the Community Senior Business Institute, in Bronzeville. Presenters and vendors covered a variety of topics, including health and life insurance, transportation resources and Medicare.

Words of Encouragement


(L to R: Peer Plus Ambassador Carla Ford, event co-organizer Donna Hodge and Carla's son Johnathan.)

"This Holiday Season, my son and I had the distinct honor of representing Peer Plus at the Chicago Toy Giveaway held at the Wintrust Arena. When we arrived, hundreds of volunteers from all over the City had already been at work for hours, wrapping gifts and organizing new clothes and furniture. It was humbling to be a part of a concerted effort to bless someone during Christmas. The excitement was all over the place. Just imagining the smiles of the kids and grownups brought a joyful ring of chatter and laughter in the air. And we were happy to come in during our time and relieve the early workers. As Phyllis Rodgers says, "We are here to serve." My son and I wanted to make Peer Plus proud that we would do a good job at whatever help was needed. Thank you, Phyllis Rodgers, for entrusting us with your mandate. It was a blast!" Carla & Johnathan Ford


A Christmas Collaboration

"Thank you SO much for funding the most amazing “Winter Wonderland” party for our kids and teens here at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois! Our kids had a party where they got a special stop in three rooms of the hospital. First stop was to the North Pole, where they each got three tickets to pick out toys to take home! Next stop was the Family Lounge for a delicious hot Portillo's lunch! And the last stop was to the playroom party with cookie decorating, holiday games, and winter crafts galore. Your support helped us create this wonderland and bring joy during a stressful time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!"

D. Thornquist, UIC Health

Enjoy some GREAT Holiday music:

(Scroll down until you see the 

"Christmas Music Player" playlist.)

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