If you are interested in learning more about future Robin’s Hope PRS Trainings, please email: heatherp@robinshope.org

Julie, PRS, IFPRS, Birth and Bereavement Doula

My name is Julie Peck, I’m from a very small rural area of Southwestern Virginia. I was raised in a religious upbring. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to be enough to fight the opioid epidemic, and so at very young age I was exposed to a lot of drug use, SA, and DV. A battle that I fought alone for many years until I got with my husband now. Which is legally my 2nd husband, my 1st marriage was at the age of 15 and I was divorced by the age of 18. Thankfully my Husband now of 17 years helped save my life. He helped to get me into treatment and happily took on my 2 children as his own. We later had 3 more children of our own, sadly one of them passed away at the age of 3 months in 2011, his name is Josiah Julian. It was one of the hardest times of our lives. To be honest at certain points I didn’t know if we would make it through. But we did, and it has not only made me stronger, but has made our marriage and family stronger. I fought a lot of hurt and depression, C-PTSD, & anxiety along with multiple auto immune disorders. I joined the pregnancy and infant loss community and found so many amazing individuals that were going through loss and hurting just like I was and through those unfortunate losses we have built some lifelong bonds. I was later thrown into caring for my sick and dying mother and in 2019 she passed just days before my birthday. One week later I lost my best friend adding another major loss to those we had lost. I honestly can’t begin to tell you everything about all of the traumas I have been through, or it would be pages long. But that isn’t the propose of this, I am here today, and I made it through all of that and that is the important part! A year or so later I decide that I wasn’t going to sit here anymore, my husband’s health had started to decline, and I was going to start making a real difference. And that’s just what I started doing, and I continue. I started working as a PRS volunteer with Robin’s Hope in January in 2023. I also work as a volunteer with postpartum VA and worked at a local Recovery House in my area, as well as a local women’s shelter. I work full time with VA Tech on a Study called HBCD which stands for Healthy Brain Child Development. We are working with pregnant women and their babies after birth, some with SUD. I love my life, family, and my work. I am very Blessed to still be here today and to have the ability to share my story and hope it can help make a difference, even it's just with 1 person. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little.

Tori, PRS

Victoria (Tori) Walk, PRS I was born in raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia during the cold war. I am the youngest of 3 children, a baby born later in life as my siblings are 7 and 10 years older than myself. Growing up I experienced many early childhood traumas that would have a negative effect on me all my life and impact my mental health. In 1996 my son and I moved to Virginia where I married my husband of 25 years. We had a daughter together and with his children and mine we had a total of 5 kids. I was a public-school bus driver and bus driver trainer from 1999- 2005, this allowed me a schedule to be home with the children. After that I became an EMT Enhanced with the plan to go on to be a paramedic. Fate stepped in and in July of 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a double mastectomy for the cancer that thankfully so far has not recurred. The chemo and radiation treatments did however leave me with side effects, especially in my spine and I have so far had 3 surgeries to stabilize the degeneration caused by the treatments. I was placed out on disability by the state, and this ended my career as an EMT. Needing to do something to give back I started volunteering with a hospice organization in a program called peaceful passing. This program addressed comfort and compassion for those who are imminent in facing death. I assisted the family but most importantly the people themselves. I have a firm belief that no one should die alone – conscious or not. This work to me was as fulling as the EMS work. Fate and Covid came and simultaneously my husband began to decline in his health. After 2 years of suffering poor health my husband passed away in December of 2021. It was then that my world fell apart. My children had moved out on their own and I found myself financially devastated. It was then that my past started to catch up to me. After 2 back-to-back hospitalizations I was diagnosed with severe chronic reoccurring depression. I was told after the second to find a trauma support group. It was then I found Robin’s Hope. This is where I mark the beginning of my journey on the path of recovery. I started as a participant in July of 2022. I was amazed (and still am) at what I learned there. There were words about what I was going through and what had happened to me. That I could freely express my sexuality without judgement. That there are skills to use to cope with what life throws at you. Most importantly I found a community that is so accepting and supporting. My gratitude to Robin’s Hope is beyond compare and I set out to become one of the biggest cheerleaders for mental health recovery because of Robin’s Hope. In September 0f 2023 I completed PRS training and now am proud to be a PRS intern with Robin’s Hope. I feel this will be my most important contribution in my life.

Carissa, PRS

Carissa, a mother of three, is an inspiring individual who has overcome numerous challenges in her life. She is a survivor of childhood trauma, domestic violence, sexual assault, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, human trafficking, and other forms of abuse. Carissa’s experiences have shaped her into a strong and resilient person. Carissa’s children are her greatest source of inspiration. She believes that everyone has a purpose in life, and if we allow God to guide us, He can transform our pain into a meaningful purpose. Having endured enough darkness in her own life, Carissa feels honored to be a beacon of light for others. She is grateful to be part of Robin’s Hope, an organization dedicated to empowering survivors and providing them with the resources they need to make positive changes in their lives. In her role as a facilitator for the Intimate Partner Violence group and Breaking the Cycle of Abuse group, Carissa helps individuals who have experienced similar challenges find healing and support. Carissa’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and the ability to find hope in even the darkest of times. Her journey serves as an inspiration to others who may be facing their own struggles.

Link Arauz, PRS intern

My name is Link Arauz. I am a peer recovery specialist intern. I have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and depression. While it took a while for me to be diagnosed with my depression, I was quickly diagnosed with my schizophrenia fairly rapidly when symptoms started showing. I am also a trauma survivor. Thanks to the care team at the Sharon Bulova Center, I dealt with my diagnosis and trauma. Just like I was helped by my peer recovery specialist and team I want to do the same for others. That is why I joined Robin's Hope as a peer recovery intern to help people like me and others who have also dealt with trauma. I must say participating and facilitating groups with other people that have experienced trauma and sharing part of my story was very healing. I also wish to help others in the healing process.

Josh, PRS

Josh is a passionate individual who dedicates his time to volunteering at NAMI and Robins hope. He values family deeply, Going on 23 years with his beautiful wife, has one awesome son and a weirdo dog, Lily. Josh likes to light weights, pickleball, and working on junk. He believes in the power of helping others and trys to lives by the motto: "A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit."

Starr DeMoss, PRS

"My name is Starr DeMoss, I am a Peer Support Specialist with goals to help individuals suffering with trauma, addiction, and mental illness. It is my belief that support from our community and organizations like Robin's Hope can bring a light to those who have gone through their own challenging experiences through emotional support and help locating further resources to see a brighter future. Since my teens I have always wanted to understand and help people. Everyone has their own story, as I have mine. Everyone's experiences are different but sometimes we can find connections with others who have been through similar life journeys. I have a passion for working with individuals with PTSD, C-PTSD, and DID and plan to further my education to earn a degree in Psychological Research. I believe everyone should be heard, everyone's story matters. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to follow my passion to be there for anyone who needs and wants support that the wonderful staff of Robin's Hope have been able to not only offer others but myself as well."

Kelly, PRS Intern

I'm Kelly, a PRS intern passionate about supporting individuals on their path to healing. I understand the challenges of living with complex trauma (CPTSD) and alcohol dependence, having walked a similar path myself. While I manage CPTSD, I'm proud to say I've been alcohol-free for almost 5 years! My lived experience allows me to connect with empathy and understanding, while my commitment to my own healing fuels my dedication to helping others foster hope and possibility.

James Swisher, PRS

My name is James Swisher, I feel incredibly lucky and excited to be a part of Robin's Hope! I am ready and eager to learn all I can from every one of you. I hope to work hard enough to eventually be considered a valuable member of this awesome team. Thank you for all you do for our community! I live in North Chesterfield, Bon Air and have heard so many good things about Robin's Hope. A little about me...I was born and raised in Henrico, Glen Allen. I have a wife Jessie and son Liam who just turned 9 years old. My professional background is in audio and television broadcast engineering & operations. I enjoy woodworking and being creative as much as possible. I am a multi-instrumentalist and have written and recorded lots of music including multiple national PBS documentaries and other broadcasts. I have toured (the east coast) with many bands for years but have since taken a very long hiatus from the music scene while I have been working on myself for the past three years. I feel the need to mention this because it was such a HUGE part of me and my past. Two years into my recovery I felt a strong calling to help others who may have no hope like I did that recovery is possible. I wish someone would have told me how awesome a life of recovery can really be long ago. So, I guess now I'm just trying to make up for lost time...FULL steam ahead! Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of Robin's Hope!