Rebel Leadership Group would love hear your nonprofit stories. Tell us how you stay true to your mission, what leadership means to you or anything that will encourage and support nonprofits and their leaders in reaching their mission without sacrificing their staff and volunteer morale.
Lora Bonnet was born and raised in southwest Louisiana, With the unique heritage of french creole, where the food is good, the music, makes you smile, and the people are friendly. Lora is married and has 3 adult children, 2 daughters, and one son, she is the proud grandmother of 2 grandsons and a set of twin granddaughters. She is the founder of Louisiana Association of Peer Support, and serve as the board chair (president). Lora graduated from the first peer support specialist class in 2004, ( Louisiana office of behavioral health) and has over 8 years of professional peer support experience. She has an Associate degree from the University of Southwest Louisiana (UL) business management. She holds a certification Peer Recovery Support Specialist, Lora earned certification from Liberty University 2013 in Christian life coaching. In her leisure time, she enjoys family, crafting, and music. Her greatest strength as a peer support specialist is empathy for her fellow peers, and kindness combined with powerful peer coaching. As a leader, she advocates for change in her state and her community.
Evan Voth is a native New Mexican who currently works as the Associate Director of the Albuquerque Center for Hope & Recovery, a peer-run drop in center in Albuquerque, NM. As a peer in recovery, Evan has experienced the discrimination of those working through substance use disorders, mental health issues and homelessness and has focused his career on developing leaders in the community and advocating for those in recovery through education, peer support and workforce development. Evan appreciates opportunities to serve on advisory groups, provide direct service as a Certified Peer Support Worker and strives each and every day to pay back those who supported him on his recovery journey.
Jacquese Armstrong, recipient of the 2019 Naomi Madgett Long Poetry award, is a Poet/Writer residing in Central New Jersey. Jacquese was a 2015 recipient of the Ambassador Award from the State of New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma for promoting wellness and recovery and reducing stigma through the arts. She has published two poetry books, blues legacy (2019) and dance of the shadows (2017). Jacquese’s work has appeared in midnight & indigo, Ourselves Black and For Harrietamong others. She’s also a workshop creator and facilitator and presently works at NAMI NJ as their Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Network program coordinator.
Maxine Henry was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Maxine was raised by her maternal grandparents since she was 2 months old and is proud to say she grew up in a strong Chicano household where she heard Spanish being spoken every day, was surrounded by a large family, and learned the value of hard work. She also grew up witnessing her biological parents, both sets of grandparents and other close family members live with mental health and substance use issues that typically went unaddressed. Overtime, Maxine dealt with her debilitating anxiety and depression in unhealthy ways and thus struggled for many years with what she thought were effective coping mechanisms. In her early adulthood she decided there had to be a better way and did not want her children to live a life without their mother being present because she was either too ill to care for them, in prison or dead. As the second person in her family to graduate high school and the first to attend and complete an undergraduate degree she decided to put her lived and vicarious experiences and her skills in business management to assist others living with co-occurring mental health and substance use as the Co-Director for a peer-run non-profit organization, the Albuquerque Center for Hope and Recovery. As a peer she eventually returned to school to earn a dual master’s degree, an MSW with a concentration in government/non-profit leadership and an MBA with a concentration in human resources. Maxine values the resiliency and power she has gained through her struggles just as equally as she appreciates the un-wavering support provided by her husband, children, family, and close friends.
Her biggest strength as a peer is her passion for investing in others so they can overcome barriers, grow in their capacity to make change in their lives and in the lives of their fellow community members, and to grow leaders who are willing to be change agents. For the past three years Maxine and her husband have been raising their two sons in the Denver Metro Area.
Marc Schmallen, the visionary CEO of Choice Recovery Path, developed the original tools from his own experience. Marc saw that many of his peers dearly wanted a fresh start but lacked basic skills necessary to succeed. Working with experts in recovery, enforcement, and data management, he created an integrated system that allows those seeking recovery to self-direct and self-report, while allowing counselors and administrators to maximize compliance and streamline accountability. Choice Recovery Path creates physical and digital tools to empower clients to take charge of their own recovery - while reducing the administrative burden for recovery partners in treatment, corrections and compliance settings. The mission of Choice Recovery Path is to empower people to take ownership of their recovery while streamlining accountability management processes for administrators
Juan Vélez Court is a person in long-term recovery from a mental health condition. Residing in Puerto Rico, Mr. Velez-Court has consistently provided public awareness through media outlets and public speaking in academic environments, community organizations and events, and behavioral health facilities, in hopes of reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and to give a positive message to those afraid to speak up about their lived experience. He's a member of multiple committees, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA's) Recovery Month board, co-chair of a recovery summit board, the National Latino Behavioral Health Association. He cofounded the peer-lead organization "NuestraMente" in 2011, which facilitates support groups for consumers and families and develops presentations and tools for the local Hispanic community. In 2013, he began to work as a community coordinator for a Systems of Care Program in Puerto Rico, and has collaborated with SAMHSA and ABT Associates to identify Hispanic-serving behavioral health organizations across the nation.