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Project Return Peer Support Network
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Conversations with Strangers Turned to Pathway of Peer Support

Conversations with Strangers Turned to Pathway of Peer Support | Project Return Peer Support Network

In the midst of life's challenges, Gustavo Limas discovered an unexpected source of strength—connections with strangers that blossomed into a supportive community. This heartwarming story revolves around the power of peer support, as Gustavo's encounters with diverse individuals led to shared stories, putting him on a journey of personal and collective healing.

Navigating his own healing process, Gustavo recalls finding solace in attending peer to peer meetings. It is where he first recognized the significance of addressing his own challenges while offering support to others. Shortly after, he took on a role as an Uber driver to make some money on the side of his day-to-day work.

Unbeknownst to him, he was creating a space where passengers felt comfortable sharing their personal experiences and challenges openly. Uber became a platform for candid discussions, shedding light on the prevalent issue of individuals silently carrying burdens.

His spontaneous connections with strangers evolved into profound conversations, solidifying his belief in the potency of open dialogue. This realization spurred Gustavo to explore a career in peer support.

This moment marked a turning point in his life. Reflecting on his past and envisioning his future, Gustavo decided to transition into a role where he could leverage his lived experiences to positively impact others. His journey led him to CAPS Academy through CalMHSA, where he found a community of like-minded individuals sharing their stories, struggles, and triumphs. The camaraderie among instructors, distinguished by unique tattoos and diverse life experiences, resonated deeply with him.

Recalling his initial days in the course, Gustavo remarked, “I just remember my first few days in the course, getting the introduction of all the instructors, and they're tatted up, and they all have these crazy stories. And I was just thinking, these are my people. This is my tribe.”

He shared that CAPS not only broadened his perception of recovery but also equipped him with valuable tools, beneficial not only for supporting others but for his personal development.

Gustavo's recent graduation from his CAPS cohort sets the stage for his California Medi-Cal Peer Certification exam approaching on the 22nd of February. His journey from grappling with personal challenges to becoming a potential CA Medi-Cal certified Peer Support Specialist serves as a testament to not only his resilience but also the training he received.

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Michaella Huck

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