My name is Cynthia Castaneda and I am the CEO of Home Build on Hope, Inc. in El Paso, Texas. I have achieved this position with the support of people who have made a difference in my life. My journey began in 2010 while receiving treatment in the El Paso, Texas 384th Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility Drug Court Program. Judge Patrick Garcia was the judge that made the initial decision of the type of treatment I received. Upon completion, I was selected to be a Peer Representative under a SAMHSA-funded Adult Treatment Court Collaborative (ATCC) grant. I facilitated the drug court’s peer groups with the supervision of Cynthia Caro, Program Coordinator of the West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department, who helped establish the peer groups in the Drug Courts.

SAMHSA’s GAINS Center played a crucial role in my professional development. The devotion, support, and mentorship the GAINS Center staff provided under the SAMHSA ATCC grant was incomparable. They provided belief, encouragement, and compassion in all I did.  I learned about trauma-informed care, recovery from co-occurring disorders, justice-related issues, and statistics. I was privileged to attend monthly conference calls and webinars with other SAMHSA grantees. In addition, I received SAMHSA-funded scholarships to the Alternatives Conference and even gave a presentation on Supporting the Recovery of Justice-Involved Consumers in 2013.

Through the exposure of public speaking, writing articles for the GAINS eNewsletter, and presenting on webinars, I was able to gain confidence and courage, building myself up as a professional with academic preparation. I currently hold a Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology. I am a certified Peer Supervisor Specialist, Trauma Peer Specialist, Recovery Coach, Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) Facilitator, and certified DWI Education Instructor. I am currently in graduate school, earning a Master’s of Science in Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis.

Without a doubt, I have a passion for the field of behavioral health, specifically as it relates to justice-involved individuals. The growth, development, and academic preparation attained through my journey was instrumental in starting my own organization.

Home Build on Hope, Inc. is a non-profit organization located in El Paso, Texas. Home Build on Hope, Inc. provides mental health and substance/alcohol use recovery and offender education services. The recovery services use a person-centered method, reflecting a holistic approach.

Home Build on Hope, Inc. understands and specializes in the needs of justice-involved individuals. As a consumer organization, our foundation is trauma-informed care. We have made it a priority to increase our capacity to acknowledge, understand, and support the needs of justice-involved individuals. These individuals often fall through the cracks due to the lack of support in understanding what stressors, needs, and mental health issues arise with justice engagement. The challenge at hand is sustaining long-term recovery amongst this population. We are aiming to impact the lives of justice-involved individuals through our services in order to sustain long-term recovery to reduce recidivism rates.

A special thanks to LaVerne Miller from Policy Research Associates, Inc. who was and still serves as my mentor. I could not have accomplished my visions without her support and guidance.