What is a peer support specialist? A peer support specialist is a person with "lived experience" who has been trained to support those who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma, or substance use. Their personal experience of these challenges provides peer support specialists with the expertise that professional training cannot replicate


Pueblo County has an excellent community of peer support specialists ready to help individuals navigate their recovery journey. If you are looking for additional support, feel free to contact any of these individuals to get started.


The information provided by the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) on the Peer Support Database is for general informational purposes only. All information on this site is provided in good faith, however PDPHE makes no representation or promotion of any kind regarding the accuracy, qualifications, or completeness of any information on this site.
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Contact: mailto:[email protected] or 719-470-0023

Bio: Hi, my name is Becca! I work at Friendly Harbor as a Peer Support Specialist. I have 3 pet Rats who are my world! Creativity is in my soul. I can get lost for hours doing anything artistic. For years I struggled with addiction, alcoholism and my mental health. Through recovery, therapy, hard work, and a good support system I have found a new life. Recovery has opened up a whole new world to me, one worth living. Each day, I believe, is a new opportunity for growth and another day to be grateful for this life I have now. It is my dream to give hope to others who are struggling, and support them in their journey to happiness and freedom.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-671-5937

Bio: Bill received a lot of support when he was going through his "tough" years of substance abuse and untreated mental illness. Now that he's back on his feet, he enjoys providing Peer Support to others as a way of paying it forward.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-470-0899

Bio: Daulton enjoys comic books, tattoos and music. He has two dogs. He primarily works in the Behavioral Health Treatment Court program and takes Parkview referrals. (Parkview sends Friendly Harbor referrals for people who consent to be contacted after an ER visit.)

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-545-2746 ext. 462

Bio: My name is Denita Kessack. I am a Peer Specialist at Crestone Recovery Services at Health Solutions. I have worked in this field for 3 ½ years, providing support to those who struggle with substance use, alcohol use, and mental health. Starting at a very young age, I myself struggled with substance use as well as suicidality and felt like I could not find my place in this world. As a woman who has been in recovery now for the last decade, I have worked diligently in overcoming such obstacles in my life to get to a place of peace and balance. From addiction, relentless survival tactics, and prison, I now dedicate my life to adding support to those from similar backgrounds in achieving a foundation of stability, self-love and recovery through empowerment so they too can overcome their own obstacles, essentially achieving their own peace and balance as well.

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Contact: 719-744-9957

Bio: Hi, everyone; I am Derrick Downs, a peer support specialist thru Friendly Harbor. I was born and raised on the river banks in Coosa County, Alabama. I spent four years in the military, mainly in a combat zone (Iraq). Soon after returning home from my last deployment and being discharged in 2007, I self-medicated. I was now battling substance abuse and entirely dependent on alcohol. I have spent the past 15 years either incarcerated, homeless, or lying to myself and saying tomorrow will be different. It wasn’t until 2021 I had had enough, and with the assistance of the Veterans Treatment Court, I finally received the help needed to deal with the issues no one else could understand unless they had lived them. I have since been sober and fully committed to helping others that suffer just as I did. I bring a relatable story to the table of conversation. The Veteran Mentors VTC has to offer gave me the courage to attend college, where I am now flourishing and doing something positive with my life. I am now a full-time student at Pueblo Community College, intensely involved with the college atmosphere. I have found that educating ourselves is the next best step after choosing sobriety; through education, we can set a bar for ourselves and achievable goals. I am now a Veteran Mentor with VTC as living proof that a person suffering willing to accept the help offered can thrive. My wife and I are now heavily involved with the community assisting those in need, “Giving Back to Give Back.”

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-548-9867

Bio: Dominique works in the Circle of Parents and Parkview referrals areas of the Harbor. She is also an Army veteran and volunteers her work with veterans in the Special Courts. She also facilitates NAMI Southeast meetings. She enjoys working with others and the ocean.

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Contact: [email protected], cell: (719)-582-0900, or office: (719)-696-8060

Bio: My name is Jean Howard, I am a wife and mother of 2 boys who is living in active and sustained recovery since November 13, 2014. In this time, I have become a Colorado Peer and Family Specialist, Recovery Coach Trainer, Employment Specialist and an advocate for all things Recovery. My journey with substance use began at 13 years old and evolved for 20 years. I never had a "drug of choice", instead I had a perpetual desire to not think, feel or be responsible, which led me to any and every substance that satisfied those desires. My substance use led to multiple treatment episodes, losing custody of my oldest son for several years, loss of family relationships and friendships, many jail stays, criminal convictions, homelessness and complete despair. Throughout those 20 years I had many failed attempts at recovery and often felt as though it was hopeless. What I thought at the time were failed attempts at recovery, eventually proved to be my greatest gifts! Each failure taught me a new lesson, which I needed to learn to become the person that I am today, and I am forever grateful for each of them. Through recovery I have gotten back everything that I believed I had lost and so much more. I believe that ANYONE can find recovery and that mistakes are OPPORTUNITIES to learn. In my recovery journey, I have been gifted my true passion in life, which is helping others find and navigate their own recovery path. I would be honored to help you find yours.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-733-3996 ext 4619 (a work phone is possibly in the works! – stay tuned).

Bio: I am a firm believer that recovery is an individual process that can take shape among a whole spectrum. I am a passionate harm reductionist whose recovery is very “alternative”. I am the Peer Navigator at the Health HUB at Access Point in Pueblo. My entire job is to hook individuals up with resources and support them in any ways within my capacity. I am eager to work with people who are currently using drugs, the LGBTQIA+ community, people who engage in sex work, people experiencing unstable housing, people wanting to initiate their recovery journey, people who use psychedelics and cannabis in recovery, people wanting to start and who are engaged in medication-assisted treatment, and people who are involved or coming out of the criminal (in)justice system. I am the type of person who can sit with you at a 12-step meeting, a ketamine or MAT provider’s office, and/or show you how to access services at the syringe exchange!

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Contact: 719-565-9770

Bio: Hello my name is Jeremiah and I'm a peer support specialist with Friendly Harbor. Helping people on the road to recovery brings purpose to my life. Not only am I humbled by it, but it helps me with my own recovery. I have been sober for over 6 years and have struggled with mental health issues for most of my life. As of today I facilitate a DBT group at the rescue mission, garden group at Friendly Harbor and help with a circle of parents group at Ave Church. I enjoy playing pool, fishing, hanging out with my friends, and helping others.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-621-8323.

Bio: My name is Kristen Mulay, and I am a Peer Specialist with Crossroads Turning Points, Non-Clinical Recovery Support Services. I am a mother of three beautiful children. I have complete abstinence from any and all mind-altering substances since September 6th, 2018. I struggled with addiction for nearly 17 years of my life. I was in and out of countless treatment centers, and the judicial system more times than you can imagine. I experienced every type of abuse you could possibly think of since the age of 8. I turned to drugs to numb myself and to try to forget about all I had experienced in that traumatic 17-year span of my life. I faced prison sentences, created strained relationships with meaningful people, I had no self-love or confidence. I had no sense of what a mother was, what an adult was, or even what I WAS!!! I lost custody of all three of my children, lost all my possessions and belongings and became homeless on the streets with nowhere to go. I had lost EVERYTHING in my life that had mattered to me! There were so many days I didn’t want to live anymore, in those moments I used as much as I possibly could hoping to overdose and die, just wanting it all to end. I thought dope was the answer to ALL my problems, but in reality, it only intensified my problems. In September of 2018 I had decided that I was DONE, and it wasn’t until then that I understood the meaning of life. Abstaining from drugs is where I created a new life, and a new and improved version of me! Today I show up for my children and family, I have morals, values, and responsibilities that I manage daily, and I have a new sense of self-worth. Today I LOVE ME!!! Life is meant to be LIVED not to just merely exist. My goal in life is to help those who are in the very same exact place I once was. Even if I can help ONE person in this world, recover from addiction, then MY JOB HERE IS DONE! 😁

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-621-7057

Bio: Laura is the Programs Director at Friendly Harbor. She has been with them for 3.5 years. She has a background in nonprofit, government and education. She is a CSU alumni and has a Master's in management. Laura loves Colorado and the outdoors.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-545-2746 ext. 481

Bio: Hi, my name is Marlo Baca and I am a Peer Specialist with Crestone Recovery Services at Health Solutions. Although my time with Health Solutions has just begun, my experience with mental health and substance use has always been in a supportive role. I have provided support to friends and family, as well as peers, throughout my life. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety, not only have I had to manage these aspects of mental health, I have had to overcome many obstacles throughout my life. After many personal difficulties and successes, I now strive to assist others who just need that bit of support to get them to where they want to be.



Contact: [email protected] or 719-621-8809

Bio: Hello! My name is Margaret, but I go by Mitch. I am a peer at crossroads turning point at the P.A.C.E. building on northern. My sobriety date is 2/18/18 I got sober by utilizing many resources in the community. I have self-medicated for most of my life. Cycling through various problems and avoided dealing with my baggage for over 25 years. For many years I would dabble in halfhearted attempts at sobriety, only to give in when faced with any sign of struggle. I battled with self-worth and the lack of self-respect while embracing self-harm as a coping skill. For many years I was trying to find a safe place in all the wrong directions until I tried one, I hadn't even thought of, therapy and sobriety. As I learned skills and discovered life on my terms, I started to grow and open myself up to things I never dreamt could be possible. My personal experience in CSA, PTSD, borderline, depression, anxiety, self-harm and substance abuse led me down a hard road that brought me here. I went back to school to finish my associates of art; on a later date, I plan on attending CSU-Pueblo to obtain a degree in social work or psychology. I enjoy my new outlook on life, a life I am deliberately a part of daily. I enjoy nature and art as part of my recovery, I highly believe in their healing properties in my own life and hope to open those same doors for others in the community. I have various groups I facilitate ranging from book blub, art, creative writing, poetry, open mic, and many more.


Contact: [email protected] or 719-691-8118

Bio: My name is Rick and I am a Peer Specialist with Crossroads Turning Points in Pueblo, Colorado. Though I have been in and out of recovery for 30 years, my clean date is December 24, 2019. I didn’t always want to be an addicted substance user, running from the law, leaving countless wrecks and dumpster fires along my way. In my youth, I wanted to be a musician, an artist, an inventor. In the beginning, I found using drugs and alcohol helped me feel like I belonged. I was funnier, smarter, cooler, and more capable. But the more I used the more opposite of those characteristics I became. Many times I was made to stop, and many times I fell back into addiction. Today, I count myself fortunate that I have been able to return from such times when so many others do not. I stopped simply trying to avoid or ‘just move on from the consequences of my actions and began working to change the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that led to those consequences. I opened myself to a multitude of methods and tools to help and guide me along my path, and I realized that I cannot walk this journey alone. I got involved in my recovery and the recovery of others, and that led me to Crossroads! A few years ago, I was yet again homeless, jobless, incarcerated, despondent, and by my own admission, insane. Today I am none of those things, and in fact, I am more hopeful than ever. I believe in myself and in my future. I have purpose! I firmly believe there is no right way to do the wrong thing, and there is no wrong time to begin doing the right thing! We can recover! We do recover! Be well and do good things!

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-423-1500

Bio: Hello, my name is Samantha Pino. I am a Peer specialist for the MARC at Health Solutions. The MARC utilizes medication like Methadone, Suboxone, Vivitrol and more to treat adults struggling with Alcohol and Opioid use. I have been with Health Solutions for over a year and prior to that worked with detox for almost two years. I am excited to begin having a larger role in the community. Though I am passionate about the work we do in the MARC, I am a believer that there are multiple pathways to Recovery, and I would love to help you get started on your own Journey. To me, being a peer means having shared life experiences with people, and being able to use those similarities to relate to and inspire the people I work with. In September of 2021 I celebrated five years in Recovery. I struggled with heroin and meth use prior to starting my own journey into sobriety. I also have personal experience with the mental health side of things. In 2016 I was diagnosed with PTSD, generalized anxiety and depression. I had many attempts at Recovery but was personally never motivated more than when I lost custody of my baby. The Department of Human Services and Child Welfare opened a case against me for Dependency and Neglect. My hope is to help both mothers and fathers involved in similar situations find support and resources to reunite their family. During my substance use I was tried and convicted of felony charges. I spent many months in Pueblo County Jail and when released was on felony probation for 3 years; which is an experience that I hope to utilize in relating to others, while making a long lasting positive impression in their lives. There is life after convictions and addiction and I would love to inspire and offer hope to anyone struggling with their own battles in addiction and mental health.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-1406-6147

Bio: Stacey has worked at the Friendly Harbor for many years. He has a passion for DTR (Double Trouble in Recovery is a 12 step style group for those with dual diagnoses.) and cooking. He likes watching football on tv and playing basketball.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-210-4119

Bio: Susanna Velie works as a Colorado Peer and Family Specialist at Christlife Ministries in Pueblo, CO. As someone in long-term recovery, she started with Christlife as a Criminal Justice Peer Recovery Navigator under the State Opioid Response (SOR) Grant provided by SAMHSA in 2019.
For the past 2 years, Susanna has worked to establish a great deal of community resources, partnerships, and training opportunities to offer to her clients. In her position as a Peer Recover Navigator, she works with those exiting the criminal justice system who suffer from substance use to locate resources that can help lead them to recovery.
These resources include but are not limited to sober living, inpatient/outpatient treatment, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), shelter, food, clothing, and identification. In addition to locating resources in the community, Susanna facilitates Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) and Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT). MRT and CRAFT provide an additional tool for people with a substance use disorder and their loved ones to overcome obstacles related to addiction.
Shah Rakh Kahn says, “Walk with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone.” Susanna’s mission in life is to instill hope and walk with those with which she comes in contact.

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Contact: [email protected] or 719-225-9000

Bio: Thad is currently working in the Behavioral Health Treatment special court trying to assist people to better their lives. This comes from experience in both being an alcoholic in recovery and working in the system. He's also a survivor of suicide in his family so he knows how that affects people mentally and physically.

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Contact: [email protected] or 928-225-8679

Bio: Wendy mainly focuses on the Mentor2Success program. Family is important to her. She loves horseback riding. She loves weekend camping. She has struggled with substance use and has been in recovery for 12 years. Her passion is helping others. Her message for others is to never lose hope.

Agency & Organization Information

Location: 2003 E. 4th St. Pueblo, CO 81001

Contact Info: 719-544-6373

Hours of Service: Monday – Friday 8 AM – 5 PM

Website: Recovery Solutions

Click here for flyer

Location: 1310 Chinook Ln. Pueblo, CO 81001

Contact Info: 719-545-2746

Hours of Service: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Website: Crisis Living Room

Click here for flyer

About: The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Pueblo County (SPCPC) was founded in October 2018 as a need for successful community based strategies that support a public health approach to suicide prevention. SPCPC works in partnership with the Colorado National Collaborative and the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention in an effort to reduce suicide by enacting a comprehensive, collaborative, evidence based suicide prevention model. With collaboration from community partners, SPCPC is working to enact a “no wrong door” approach to those seeking help for themselves of for someone they know/love. SPCPC mission reads: Utilizing the Colorado National Collaborative's structural design, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Pueblo County will decrease the rate of suicide by 20% by 2024 through improving connectedness, increasing economic stability, providing education and awareness, improving access to responsive care, endorsing lethal mean safety, and placing importance on postvention.

Website: Suicide Prevention Coalition of Pueblo County