Peer Voices of Orange County (PVOC) was first established by Co-Founders Orlando Vera and Johnice Williams, as a fiscally-sponsored project of the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA), with support from MindOC/ the Behavioral Health System Transformation. Orlando and Johnice worked passionately to advocate and advance change for peers, defined as individuals who live with mental health and behavioral health conditions. Through their work within the peer movement and with partnerships in CAMHPRO, Cal Voices, and other statewide organizations, Johnice and Orlando recognized the need for empowering peers and providing them with opportunities to express their opinions, beliefs, feedback, and ideas to enact change. They recognized that change is difficult and that the concerns and opinions of peers were not being heard in the behavioral healthcare system. Our founders were honored to work with Sally Zimmerman, who inspired them and gave them the confidence to view this as an opportunity to implement positive, powerful change within the behavioral health community. They began a movement to unite peers, their families, and mental and behavioral health professionals, to create an improved system that recognized and respected the experiences of people with behavioral health conditions.
In 2020, the SB 803 Peer Support Specialist Certification Act was passed in California. That same year, Peer Voices of Orange County (PVOC) was established as a 501c3 non-profit organization, providing direct support services to peers. Armed with the powerful peer support system created by SB 803, Peer Voice of Orange County sought to elevate and amplify peer voices through Peer Certification, to ensure that peers are involved in every aspect of the behavioral health system. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to unite all people in the behavioral healthcare field, advocate for the wellness of peers, and promote an empowered and informed voice of, by, and for peers with lived experience in the behavioral health care system and in the community.
Our Progams in 2023
Have reached a total of +3,000 people this year
No Data Found
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ceo of peer voices San Diego
Director of Peers PVOC
My name is Yadira, I am 43 years old, since childhood I have been suffering from mood swings, depression bipolar, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and ADHD. In 2006, I became a single mother of four children, and I was struggling with my mental health. In 2008, I began volunteering at the Mental Health Association of Orange County, and this program opened the doors to a single mother struggling, and this program guided me to where I am today. I volunteered in their thrift store for a year, and this program motivated me to want more in life. My supervisor at the time offered me a part-time job as a housing specialist for the homeless, and as a mother struggling to keep a stable home for my children, I was inspired to help others struggling with housing retention and mental health. Right after I was offered a full-time position for the HPRP program in Anaheim, 2009, I was offered a position at Wellness Center South as a housing specialist. After a year, I became the Assistance Program Director for this wonderful program that provides peers struggling with mental health with a safe place where they can be themselves, after years of struggling with depression, bipolar, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and ADHD, I felt I proved that it is possible to succeed in life, with all my life obstacles and still working on my recovery journey, I became a home owner and a business owner, and I’m still working on my life’s passions and motivations with Peer Voices of Orange County.
Director of Justice Intervention
Addiction & Recovery Specialist
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