Carolyn Parsons, PWS, PSS
Peer Support Specialist for Clackamas County Older Adult Program
Carolyn Parsons started life in a highly abusive home. Her mom was a Displaced Person in Poland during WWII, and also an alcoholic. As a young child, she was placed in several group homes, from which she ran away many times. In her early adult life, she was homeless and traveled from city to city. During this time, she met her then husband and had two daughters. Carolyn took off again because she did not know how to deal with her trauma, and became addicted. She was arrested many times and was put into the criminal justice system.
Carolyn had a third daughter in 1988. At that time, she was court mandated to treatment and had CPS involvement. The state put her in the JOBS program. With the support she received, she was able to get a GED and later diagnosed with mental health issues, as well as chronic health issues. Carolyn went to PCC and completed a Peer Mentor program. She also completed a Peer Wellness/Peer Support program. She is excited and motivated to walk with others on their path of recovery and is not afraid of people’s emotional or physical scars, because she has dealt with a few of her own. Over the last few years, she has been volunteering as a donations coordinator. Doing so has helped her to realize how much she loves helping people get comfortable, inside and out. She says “It might not happen right away, but when it does, it is amazing to see.”