Our Peer Support Team

Our Wellness ...Our Truth

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Recovery is important for me so I can help other people, to share my experience and continue to set my goals and accomplish them in the mental health field. In the 3 years months, I've been working with Heart and Soul, I am enjoying engaging participants. I have compassion for everyone. I enjoy bowling, cooking and being a member of California Clubhouse, as well as working for Heart and Soul.

- Yvette Agua, Peer Support Specialist -

The importance of recovery for me is having a better quality of life. If you work on yourself and reach out to others, you can remain stable and free from drugs, and be somewhat happy. That's why these programs are important, so you don't feel alone. I have worked with Heart and Soul for 10 years. I enjoy helping and encouraging others to acquire their goals and maintain their independence. Most important, I like to show clients that I care. My hobbies are listening to music, dancing and cooking. When working at our Drop-in Centers, my motto is: "We Rise By Lifting Others".

- Karen St. Leon, Peer Support Specialist -

Recovery is important to me for two reasons: 1: I got to reconnect with my peers and family in a way to more acceptance without prejudice. 2: Life has a way of striking a balance. I lost and regained my balance. I have worked with Heart and Soul since June 2006, as a Peer Support Specialist. I like to organize. I like that I have helped bring people together and heal my peers. This work gives me a humanitarian sense of purpose. I love to cook. I like to be somewhat political about my association with mental health. We do this as a group. I love participation with work mates and peers. My hobbies are tennis, oil painting, writing music, reading, visiting with friends, gourmet cooking, church going, concert going, art collection and supporting others on the internet.

- Sara Eccleston, Peer Support Specialist -

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My name is Darryl Stubblefield and I am a man of long term recovery from mental health challenges, physical abuse, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and verbal abuse. I was able to overcome these diseases by being able to talk to people who I could trust not to tell my story to anybody else. And that helped make my life livable again. I have almost 8 years of being absent from drugs & alcohol and all the other things. Now I am a Peer Mentor, helping other people emerge from the bottom to the best of their lives.

Have a great day you deserve it!

- Darryl Stubblefield, HOPE Peer Mentor -

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I spent three years homeless in Santa Cruz, unable to get any services because that County is so overloaded with need, under-serviced, and unable to provide for all those who need help. I got to San Mateo after my son came and picked me up and got me out of that mess. Went to detox, then to MHA’s Spring Street Shelter. I started going to NAMI while I was still in the shelter, and got some training. Also I started going to the Insight Meditation Center at that time. With help from Spring Street staff, I got my housing voucher from San Mateo County Department of Housing, moved into my own apartment, and I was hired as a Peer Support worker at Heart and Soul soon after that. Heart and Soul has been an integral part of my personal growth and recovery process. I'm grateful to work here, and hope to be here for years to come. Thank you all.

- Daniel Jackson, Peer Support Specialist -

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I have been working in the Health Care field for over 10 years but I’ve never done Peer Mentoring. I always wanted to, however getting employed was difficult because of my past incarceration. I felt that my bad decisions in life could be a good example to young folks of what not to do. I felt, if only I could share my experience with the youth, I could reach them. We all have a way with words and I felt if I could talk to them with a motivational speech, if I could captivate their imagination and change their Hearts, then they could decide on choosing a life of Family, Education and Equality, and not have to suffer as I did. They could avoid incarceration, and not neglect their family with a dishonest character.

I found my niche here at Heart and Soul, beginning with challenging Peer Mentor work. I feel if I can support these Brothers and Sisters of Humanity, then when my time comes to help the Youth, I’ll be ready and able with ease to communicate with them and be a positive influence.    

- Michael Dunn, HOPE Peer Mentor - 

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Hello. My name is Chris Hoover and I have been a peer support worker with Heart And Soul since its inception. I have about forty years experience with mental health challenges. After I lost my career in television broadcasting I went to live with my parents family. I started acting out and becoming hostile to the point where a restraining order was issued. That began a long period of homelessness. Finally in 1994 I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and prescribed clozapine. In 1998 I completed a peer counseling  course. I am thankful to work for such an organization where I can help others who like myself deal with their challenges daily while on the journey through recovery.

- Chris Hoover, Peer Support Specialist -

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Liana has been with Heart & Soul since 2018, and is a Bay Area native, living on the Peninsula most her life. Right away Liana knew she wanted to be part of the Heart & Soul family and give back to her community by providing her peers with the knowledge, experience and social support in helping individuals of her community achieve wellness. She’s a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and strives to work with others to build a safe and excepting society. 

Since the Shelter In Place order began, she has been diligently providing support to her peers by staying in touch over phone and Zoom daily. Liana has stayed in her own wellness by spending time with her two children playing board games, cooking, watching Disney movies and snuggling with their beloved bunny "BB".

- Liana Garza, Peer Support Specialist -

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I am in long term recovery.

I love mental health and giving back what I have learned in recovery.

I maintain my recovery through meditation and journaling.  

- Brenda Nicholson, HOPE Mentor Coordinator -