ashleyIt’s always a joy to hear a success story. It’s especially heartening to hear when a youth who is at-risk for adverse life outcomes gets support to overcome challenges and surmount barriers to success.

One such story belongs to GPS Youth Peer Coordinator Ashley Peoples.  Ashley’s parents divorced when she was young and she had no one to talk to about dealing with the issues she faced at home.  “I often times felt lost and out of place, like I had no voice, no one to try to assist me,” she said.  Growing up one of eight children in Louisiana, she was taught that whatever happened at home stayed there. She turned away from family stresses to find her place among drug-using and drug-selling peers. She acted out at school to get attention. Negative behaviors continued until she came to the attention of a teacher who introduced her to running, using participation in the school’s track program to motivate Ashley to focus on learning and positive behavior. As a result of her teacher’s support and the trust that developed, despite the challenges of becoming a mother at age 18, Ashley strived to succeed and is now thriving.

As a Youth Peer Coordinator, Ashley says she wants to give young people what was given her – someone who will listen, support, and guide them to build their strengths and discover their unique ways to shine in life.

All young people need others who believe in them and hold the hope for their recovery in addition to holding them accountable to high standards, without judgment. I am happy that our new Youth Peer Coordinator has the heart, energy, experience and knowledge to be that strong support and champion for recovery and wellness.  Read more about her below.

Ashley completed peer support specialist training with Recovery Innovations – Washington and became certified in 2014.  She earned a Medical Administrative Assistant Certification from Seattle Central Community College in 2009. Ashley is currently majoring in Psychology and Counseling and minoring in Counseling and Addictions at Grand Canyon University.  She lives in the Rainier Beach area of Seattle with her husband, four daughters and one son.  Welcome Ashley!