Parent Ally Mentor


Dana’s story is about beating tough challenges and changing for the better. She overcame 35 years of addiction and is now four-and-a-half years in recovery, getting top grades in college, and helping others facing similar problems. She tells people it’s essential to ask for help early and bravely, drawing on her experiences to encourage others.

Dana’s journey is a testament to human resilience and the transformative power of support and self-belief. Having navigated the tumultuous waters of 35 years of addiction, she has emerged with a profound commitment to service, healing, and academic excellence. Now, four-and-a-half years into her recovery, Dana is reunited with her son and providing hope and support to others. She balances these responsibilities with her academic pursuits, maintaining top grades in college.

Dana’s past, including a period during her teenage years when she was using while pregnant, culminating in an intervention by Child Protective Services (CPS), is not where she dwells. Instead, she channels these experiences into empathy and action, providing a beacon of hope for those facing similar struggles. She emphasizes the importance of seeking help early and fearlessly, advocating for engagement with support systems before reaching a crisis point.

“As someone who used during pregnancy and found myself involved with CPS, I want others to know that they are not alone; there are people who are not judgmental,” she says. “Find the courage to ask for help.”

Her dedication stems from her own experience, acknowledging the human connection and kindness and she received from social workers and counselors were cornerstones of her recovery journey.

“Once I decided to get clean and started making the right steps forward,” she reflects, “doors that were once closed began to open, creating a path forward that seemed impossible before.”

Today, Dana is passionate about confronting the societal stigma surrounding substance use disorders and addressing the urgent fentanyl crisis. Her dedication extends through her consistent involvement in Narcotics Anonymous over the past four and a half years.

As a full-time student at Edmonds College, Dana is deepening her ability to serve through education, currently engaged in the Human Service and Addiction Studies program. She has her sights set on acquiring a bachelor’s degree in social work, with aspirations that hint at pursuing a master’s degree after that.

The core of Dana’s motivation lies in the raw, transformative journeys she witnesses. There is an undeniable spark—a moment of surrender followed by an empowering realization—that she sees ignite in the eyes of those she mentors. It’s the moment they comprehend their own inner strength, accept the support offered, and profoundly alter their life’s path—and that of their children. This surrender, Dana understands, is not a sign of defeat but a first step towards genuine belief in their ability to change.

“There is trust that comes in when parents surrender and start to really believe that they can do it.”

With a future that promises further academic achievements and continued service, Dana stands as a living affirmation of recovery’s power and potential, inspiring courage in those still searching for their path out of addiction. Her message resonates clear and hopeful: it’s not just about the bravery to seek help but also about the daily commitment to oneself and the journey toward a better life.