About the Conference

This will be the best Business conference of the year!

2023 Peer Conference in Alabama

2023 Peer Conference in Alabama

The purpose of the conference is to provide education on peer services, promote the value of utilizing peer services, promote advocacy, and encourage collaborations with all community organizations.  

Individuals will be able to register for the classes and receive an email confirming which classes you are registered in.  The classes are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday March 29 – 31, 2022

This years group of speakers are some of the inidustry leaders with thorough knowledge of PEER Counseling:

Meet our Speakers Below

Helene H Loper

Helene grew up in Tuscaloosa and returned there in 2000 as a pastor of a small church.  She has 17 years clean and 30 years of pastoral experience in the Christian tradition.  She has two married children and three grandchildren.  Her wife of 20 years is Susan Lowe, a certified addictions counselor and now also the site coordinator at the START Program in Fayette.  After Helene completed her Doctor of Ministry in 2010, she volunteered to develop and do these spirituality groups at START.  She is also involved in nonviolent change movements and interfaith groups and has developed educational materials and presentations on topics in these areas.  Her leisure interests are traveling, hiking and swimming, creative writing, yard work, her cats and working puzzles. Click here to download full bio.

Jesse Mogle

Jesse Mogle spent 12 years attending college and is not a doctor! He is, however, a guest expert on Fox and NBC and has worked with companies such as Disney, LiveNation, Metal International and Universal Studios as well as the University of Southern California, the University of Florida, and UCLA. Jesse has been a talk show host, the lead news anchor for a television station in Los Angeles and an internationally published business analyst. Jesse’s projections of the economies of Singapore and several western European nations were featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and USA Today. He is an avid motorcycle rider, traveling 12,000 miles coast to coast one summer spreading his mother’s ashes in over 100 locations in 29 states. In his free time, Jesse hikes mountains, adds to his over 700 concerts attended, and drives hundreds of miles for animal sanctuaries and aquariums. Click here to download full bio

Sara Bagwell McCorvey

Sara Bagwell McCorvey works as an Employment Specialist in Jefferson County for the Opioid Workforce Development Program (OWDP). She has been employed as a CRSS by R.O.S.S. since January 2022 and started working within the company as an Outreach Peer. Sara’s sobriety date is July 5th, 2018 and is very passionate about her recovery. Sara believes that arts and crafts (also known as “Recovery Art”) are a very effective and gratifying way of releasing emotions without negative reactions. Sara graduated high school in 2005 as the President of the Art Honor Society and has always had a passion for art and creativity. She enjoys designing and producing custom clothing and apparel, as well as photography, painting, singing, writing poetry and designing print and media logos and other merchandise. In 2010, she started a joint clothing line, Unique Kouture; followed by her own line called, Toxic Tee’s Co. in 2015. Click here to download full bio.

Jennifer Moreno

Jennifer Moreno has 14 years  substance free and is active in the recovery community. She had spent several years working armed security before becoming a  CRSS and going to work at the Shoulder for women as the night shift Program Assistant.

Together Karen and Jennifer,  have peer experience on the clinical side and helping those wanting a new life starting in treatment.

Together they have helped thousands of peers and their families with peer support.  Fun fact Jennifer is Karen’s sponsor and friend.


Karen Elmore

Karen Elmore currently works at People Engaged In Recovery.  Karen started her career with ROSS before she was certified.  She worked for ROSS for 2 years as an Outreach Specialist and was transferred to P.E.I.R. in 2021.  Karen has been the Outreach Specialist in Mobile Co. for most of her career as a CRSS.  Karen is now the Marketing Director for P.E.I.R.  She paved the way for Mobile and takes peer services to a whole new level of caring.

Together Karen and Jennifer,  have peer experience on the clinical side and helping those wanting a new life starting in treatment.

Together they have helped thousands of peers and their families with peer support.  Fun fact Jennifer is Karen’s sponsor and friend.

Mark Litvine

Mark Litvine is a person in long term recovery from a substance use disorder and mental health diagnosis. Mark uses his lived experience to provide hope, assistance, guidance, understanding and encouragement to the individuals that he serves. Mark started out by volunteering as a peer at the Birmingham Fellowship House and was in the first class of state Certified Recovery Peer Support Specialists in Alabama in March 2016. Mark is also a Certified Peer Specialist on the Mental Health side as well. Mark is one of the founders of R.O.S.S. the first Recovery Community Organization in Alabama and Mark is the Director of Marketing for the Recovery Organization Of Support Specialist. Mr. Litvine also trains the state Certified Recovery Support Specialists. Mark received the Peer Warrior Award in 2017 for his hard work and dedication to the peers in Alabama. Mark serves on the Alabama Opioid Task Force and Ethical Peer Accountability Committee for the state Certified Peers in Alabama. Click here to download full bio.

Demetria Nelson, LCSW, MA

Demetria is the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services for the Town of Greenwich, CT. She formerly worked for BronxCare Health System for 13 years. During her last 4.5 years at BronxCare, Demetria was the Administrative Director for Addiction Treatment Services. She was first introduced to Seeking Safety in 2014 and has facilitated Seeking Safety groups and individual sessions since then. She was a trainer with the Outreach Training Institute in New York and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York (BMCC CUNY). She has 18 years of experience in the behavioral health field with a focus on providing care and designing programs for individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. Click here to download full bio

Carla Bugg

Carla Bugg is Criminal Justice Services Coordinator for R.O.S.S. She has 30 years in recovery, but only by the grace of God. She also serves on boards such as Not One More Alabama and the Veterans Justice Commission. Carla is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ as she is the founder of F.L.O. Outreach Ministry. She has 5 beautiful children and 4 adorable grandchildren and she loves to sing. Carla believes that once you find your purpose, you find your life.

This class will assist individuals in learning the needs of individuals transitioning from prison to the community, including basic needs as well as basic living skills.  Learn specific approaches to assist this population

Christine Smith, CRSS, CM

It is not uncommon for people with substance use disorder lives to unravel when they are exposed to trauma or extreme life challenges. Aiding healing those who have been through painful or stressful experiences is one of my greatest passions, as well as working with adolescents and teens. Christine currently manages over 35 peers and oversees the supervision of four community centers. She teaches ethics and communication for the Certified Recovery Support Specialists certification with the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

Christine understands that no single approach is appropriate for everyone, consequently I’ve received training in a variety of approaches, including peer to peer education, trauma-informed care, cultural competency, motivational interviewing, and peer supervision just to name a few. In 2019, received the Peer Warrior Award. I was certified as a CRSS by the Alabama Department of Mental Health in 2017. She currently work as the Agency Administrator at The Recovery Organization of Support Specialists. Click here to download full bio.

Julie Ray

Julie Ray is a Certified Recovery Support Specialist.  Julie has worked at R.O.S.S. as the Outreach Administrator for 5 years.  In 2018 she received the Peer Warrior Award 2018 and Alabama Outstanding Peer Award 2018.  Julie is an active member of Addiction Recovery Alliance JCDH, Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council ADMH, Jefferson County OD2A Regional Overdose Task Force JCHD, Healthy Brain and Child Development Community Action UAB/UA.

Rachel Whiteley

Rachel Whiteley is the Executive Director of People Engaged In Recovery. She is a person in long term recovery who has recently received a masters degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling along with a certificate in Forensic Vocational Evaluation from Auburn University. She is passionate about helping individuals with disabilities find and maintain employment; her focus has been on individuals with substance use disorder and those reentering society from incarceration. When she is not working, she enjoys tending to her massive succulent collection and finding cool rocks to add to her collection, which is also massive.

Whit Freeman

It is not uncommon for people’s lives to unravel when they are exposed to trauma or extreme life challenges due to a substance use disorder. Aiding healing those who have been through painful or stressful experiences is one of my greatest passions. I work with peers and families of peers to help them develop healthy self-perceptions and enhance their relationships so that they may recognize themselves as peaceful, complete, and whole human beings.

I understand that no single approach is appropriate for everyone, consequently I’ve received training in a variety of approaches, including trauma-informed care, cultural competency, and motivational interviewing.

I studied Culinary Arts at Faulkner State Community College, and Political Science at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2019, I was certified as a CRSS by the Alabama Department of Mental Health, and currently work as an Education Peer with The Recovery Organization of Support Specialists.

Michael Anne Green

Michael-Anne Green has been in long term recovery since 2016 and a CRSS since 2019. 

Her heart is for helping others heal from their past trauma, rejection, and substance abuse. Her greatest desire is to see families reunited, restored, healthy and whole. 

In her spare time she enjoys; time with her family & friends, being outdoors, art projects, and tending to her plants. 

She is a senior leader at her church and does jail ministry weekly. 

Michael-Anne is passionate about being part of the change of the county where she grew up, was in active addiction, and has now recovered in. 


Aubin Cawthon

My name is Aubin Cawthon, and I am a person in long term recovery. For me that means since September of 2016, I have not found it necessary to use substances. Between 2016 and 2020 I worked in my community to assist people in the unhoused population as well as community members struggling with substance related difficulties. In 2020 I started working at R.O.S.S as an outreach worker in Madison Co. Through that position I was able to build community partners and help members of my community struggling with substance use disorder. In 2021 I was given the opportunity to help start A.C.E- Advocating for Change through Education. With the ACE program I get an amazing opportunity to educate the community on substance use and recovery wile working to change the conversations we as a state have about substance use disorder and people who use substances.

Paul R Bryant Jr.

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and has a strong desire to give back to the community. Paul completed his undergraduate studies in social work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and also received his master’s degree in clinical and medical social work from UAB. While attending UAB, Paul was a member of the Phi Alpha social work honor society and was the recipient of the Norman Eggleston Award. Paul is currently a licensed master social worker and certified recovery support specialist. Before he began practicing clinical addiction treatment, Paul coordinated the entirety of recovery support services for all of Jefferson County, Alabama’s specialty and treatment courts. He has had the honor to facilitate trainings on recovery at the local, state, and national level. Paul is a person in long term recovery which is why he is so passionate about helping people find recovery and becoming the best versions of themselves. Paul understands that stopping substance use is only the beginning, and to truly improve quality of life people must find purpose, grow, be happy, be useful, and experience true peace. 

Haley Benson

Haley Beason is a wife and mother and a active member of long term recovery from Baldwin County, AL.  She is a Certified Recovery Support Specialist, as well as a member of the EPAC Committee.  She holds many other job titles, but her role as a peer is her favorite and the one she holds closest to her heart and her life’s work.  She is the founding Vice President of the Alabama Alliance For Recovery Residences.  She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Landing 4 Women and also a Nationally Certified Addictions Counselor, she also holds a National Certification in Peer Support through NAADAC.  She is a friend and mentor to many and always willing and happy to share the light of recovery and service with others.

Emily Couch

Emily Couch is a person in long-term recovery, which for her means she has over four years of continued sobriety from mood- and mind-altering substances. She works at Family Life Center as a Certified Recovery Support Specialist. She is passionate about engaging with peers who are new to recovery and assisting them as they begin their journey. When not working with peers you can find her leading worship at her church, catching up on the latest true-crime documentaries, or reading and writing. 

Denice Morris MS, MEd

Denice attended Tuskegee University and Miles College receiving her bachelor’s in criminal justice and later received a double masters from the University of West Alabama in Counseling Psychology and Adult Continuing Education. Denice began her behavioral health career at the Aletheia House residential treatment center in Birmingham, AL as a case manager and later as the Employment manager and therapist for homeless and re-entry veterans. She has served in the United States Air Force Reserves as a computer information specialist, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Beta Xi Omega Chapter in Tuskegee, AL.

She has served as Clinical Supervisor for the NGRI (Not guilty by reason of insanity) population within Florida Department of corrections and later Director of Re-Entry services at Gadsden Re-entry and Correctional Facility in Tallahassee, FL. She is a nationally certified trauma responsive trainer for the criminal justice population Her current occupation is with the Alabama Department of Mental Health Substance Use Division as the Director of Substance Use Treatment Services, but her biggest accomplishment to date is being the mother of 4, Thomas, Rigney, Jalin and Brooklyn.