Our Peer Support Team

Our Wellness ...Our Truth

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 -

Theresa grew up in the Bay Area but left at 18 to pursue college in Oregon and a career as a Firefighter/Paramedic in Maryland. After struggling with mental health issues in 2013, she made her way back to San Mateo in 2017 to be closer to family. She began working for Heart and Soul’s HOPE program in May 2019, and has really enjoyed working with her coworkers and peers. She also enjoys reading, Sudoku and Kakuro, board games, and puzzles when she has a chance.

- Theresa Romeyn, HOPE Peer Mentor - 

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 -

Hi, I’m Mark Leavitt. I’m a H.O.P.E. Peer Mentor with Heart and Soul. Since being hospitalized due to my own mental health challenges about five years ago, I have been working towards building a life that is in line with my values, in order to maintain my wellness and remain in recovery. Doing so led me to working as a team building facilitator at the University of California San Diego’s Challenge Course, as an outdoor educator with a company called Positive Adventures, then as an outdoor adventure instructor at a summer camp called Avid4 Adventure, and most recently, as a Peer Mentor with Heart and Soul. Working for Heart and Soul is rewarding because I get to support others in their recovery while maintaining my own, by being immersed in a culture of wellness and support. 

- Mark Leavitt, HOPE Peer Mentor -

Heading into my fourth year with Heart & Soul as a peer support specialist, I’m feeling more grateful, more excited, and more connected. I’m grateful to be a part of this organization that’s made up of passionate, compassionate, caring, supportive, and innovative people. I’m excited about the co-creation of an environment with our peer participants and our staff that support us in becoming more of ourselves. And I’m feeling more connected than ever with those I serve, the very people I’m learning from and learning with. Together, we are making this world a better place with each interaction. Thank you, each and everyone of you for walking alongside me on this journey of compassion, advocacy, reflection, and empowerment. 

- Xibin Wu, Peer Support Specialist - 

Living with a mental health diagnosis, I’ve had a journey that didn’t involve true recovery until my introduction to peer support. My view of the behavioral landscape changed when I wasn’t seen as a patient, but treated with compassion as a peer. Since then I’ve wanted to lead my life in practice of this compassion and wellness that I received, and since joining the H.O.P.E. team I’ve been able to do just so! I’m grateful to be involved in the commitment of contributing to recovery and health.  

- Jessicka Knight, HOPE Peer Mentor - 

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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