Selena began her tenure at Interim House in 2006. Addicted to crack cocaine for thirty years, Selena describes those years as if she was "living as someone else." The turning point in her journey came when she was in prison. There, she began to realize that she wanted more. Interim House's admissions coordinator regularly visited Selena to talk to her about how Interim House could help her get back on the right track. About a year later, Selena arrived at Interim House

"I had big issues when I first came to Interim House. Grief and guilt for the things I did to my family." With the help of her residential therapist, Selena began to address these issues. "What mainly helped was that my therapist asked my sister to come. She came and interacted with me." Using these experiences as building blocks, Selena began to feel grounded at Interim House. "This place is good for me. Keeps me on my toes. This is it for me. This place here."

Having made great strides in residential treatment, Selena stepped down to Interim House's Intensive Outpatient Program after six months and has been a stalwart for the Outpatient Program for the past five years. Interim House helped Selena to build her confidence. More important, Interim House inspired Selena to give back to the Recovery community by becoming a Peer Mentor. "Interim House came to me about the PRO-ACT training. They told me that we have a lot to give back." PRO-ACT is a grassroots recovery support initiative in Southeastern Pennsylvania that provides wide-ranging support to the Recovery community. PRO-ACT trains a select number of Interim House participants to prepare to work as Peer Mentors. Being a Peer Mentor provides Selena with the opportunity to give the same kind of support she had received from her peers. "The older peer mentors were role models. Quite a few of them wanted me to do the right thing. Now, I want to give back to the younger people. This is no joke. I want to offer my experience."

It's been a year and a half since Selena graduated from PRO-ACT's Peer Mentor training program. As a seasoned Peer Mentor, Selena is entrusted by Interim House to provide continuous support in other individuals' paths to recovery. Among her responsibilities as a paid Interim House staff member, Selena is a buddy to new residents- helping them feel at ease, she accompanies her peers to appointments and 12-step meetings, helps with treatment plan assignments and, most of all, provides emotional support to her peers. She has also taken a leadership role at Interim House by leading a weekly beginner's group in the Intensive Outpatient Program. To show solidarity with her peers, Selena will sometimes visit other Interim House groups to share her story. The key to being a Peer Mentor is "to be open. To be a friend," says Selena. 

Ultimately, Selena understand that she has a lot to offer Philadelphia's recovery community. "I'm controlling my life today. I want to tell my story. Let the younger people know they could do it. They could control theirs too." While she has much to give back, being a Peer Mentor continues to enrich her own life. "It's rewarding for me. I like meeting people. I like being intertwined with people. Being a Peer Mentor keeps me up to date on what is going on out there. It keeps me sober. It's a great feeling knowing that they are listening to me. I'm proud of the peers here that are stickin' to it."

Visitors to Interim House notice that Selena is one of the program's most active participants, making use of Interim House's resources and giving back. As Selena says, "I'm living large and I'm blessed. I felt the love when I got here."