Written By: Kimberly Marquez-Cortes

My name is Kimberly and I have the pleasure of being the Programs Manager for PEERS. Here is A Little About Me!

I am the fourth of six daughters but the eldest who lives here in the states. Obviously I am the coolest and most amazing one, no surprise there. (jk but I am pretty cool) I was born and raised in California, my family traveled up from southern California and settled in the Bay Area in the mid 90s when I was still just a young padawan (Star Wars reference) or a toddler. Life was filled with so many experiences by the time I was a teenager in High School at this point in my life I found myself in a deep funk. Fortunately for me I was not the only one going through challenges. My mother being the strong independent woman that she is was also going through some of life’s challenges but went out in search of resources for herself and for her daughters. She found so many great and wonderful organizations and my sisters and I got to tag along for the wellness ride.

Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients- BestNow! were some of the most impactful to my life as well as PEERS. My mother learned about WRAP® and knew that this could be a tool our family could use. I was hesitant for awhile but thankfully I was not pressured and was able to find the only TAY WRAP® group available at PEERS and my life was forever changed. I was able to learn so much about myself because the facilitators never once judged anything that I shared. They capture everyone’s examples exactly as they were shared. This group was the first time in my life that I was told consistently that I am the expert on myself. At 17 almost 18 years old I realized I had never had anyone tell me this (mind blowing). I was hooked and changed courses after becoming certified to facilitate WRAP® groups and became a contractor for PEERS. My plan to work in the medical field went out the window and my journey working with consumer run agencies and for the community began. In 2012 I was hired as a TAY coordinator/Peer Specialist by PEERS and I was able to grow my skills and I even left to go work at ACNMHC-BestNow! In 2015. ACNMHC-BestNow! was where I had previously been trained as a Peer support specialist and got the opportunity to then train future PSS students. It was awesome. In 2018 I came back to PEERS and have been here since now in my current role as Programs Manager. My role consists of supporting the WRAP® and Special Messages programs, as well as Outreach and Communications. 

For me it was a TAY WRAP® group that I was fortunate enough to attend that forever impacted my world.Today I am a mother to two kiddos of my own and wellness is a part of every aspect of my life. Together PEERS works to eliminate mental health stigma and offer so many amazing support groups, education and training opportunities as well as collaborate and partner with other really awesome organizations. We hope to continue to bring services that connect with others and can share the possibility of Hope, Personal Responsibility, Education, Self Advocacy and Support (The Five Key Recovery Concepts of WRAP®)