Our Peer Voice alumni are doing great things, which you probably already knew! Here are some updates on what folks have been up to…

Virginia Smith, graduating cohort of 2018:  “I have been really busy with Cornerstone Quarters (COSP). As you know we have set up the COSP with the help of the ART Grant from the Hogg Foundation and the Episcopal Foundation.  We have added a few projects to the COSP that will help our people in their recovery.  We purchased a Greenhouse and all the goodies that go with it.  The COSP members will be planting their own vegetables and also some flowers to be used to beautify the Victorian house we are housed in.  We have also set up a leadership training for all the members.  It will be for 10 weeks (1 1/2 hours per day).  The members had a meeting and discussed topics that they wanted to have our Leadership Trainer John Grubbs cover.  We also have a kitchen in our home and we have put 3 people through Food Handlers class and lunch is being served 3 days a week.  Cornerstone Quarters is gearing up to move out from under the umbrella of Community Health Core (our LMHA) and working towards self-sustainability as per the timeline set up in the Hogg ART grant.   We are also working on business and transitional plans.”

Kimberly Allen, graduating cohort of 2018, is the new Director of Operations at Omega Recovery, which is a counseling and wellness center that treats both substance use and mental health. According to their website, OMEGA “helps people who may be struggling to undergo a transformative evolution into a Self-Actualized state.” Congratulations, Kimberly!

On Wednesday, April 4th, Lisa Pous, graduating cohort of 2018, was the keynote speaker for the UT Austin Voices Against Violence, Take Back the Night event. Take Back the Night is a gender-inclusive event to illuminate the movement to end sexual violence and support survivors. The event was part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which takes place in April of each year. Congratulations, Lisa!

Nick Holstein, president of HUG ME Ink and part of graduating cohort 2016, has announced they will be hosting the 1st annual PEER-A-PALOOZA in San Antonio. The event is a health, wellness, and mental health empowerment conference. They are looking for peers to get involved in the planning committee.  If you are interested in applying to be on the Committee, please fill out the form here. Deadline to apply is by Friday, May 18th.

Romy Zarate, graduating cohort of 2015 and Stephanie Jack, graduating cohort of 2018 were guests on Community Connections. Romy presented in April 2018 on her work inside Cameron County Jails and the Rider 73 Peer Re-Entry Pilot. Stephanie was our featured guest in May 2018 and shared about her work as the Respite Team Lead at the Peers for Hope House in Houston.