Peer Empowerment Video Library

The creation of the Peer Empowerment Video Library was funded by a federal grant received from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 2021 and has been an ongoing project by Wings Across Alabama to meet peers where they are, particularly in rural areas.

Peer Empowerment Videos aim to elevate the stories and lived experiences of peers. The positive impact of sharing one’s story extends beyond the storyteller and benefits others who have the opportunity to review and resonate with the experiences of others with similar lived experiences, as well as providing testimonies of consumers of mental health services to law and policy-makers in the State of Alabama. This model of “for us, by us” lifts up the voices and perspectives of peers  and effectively articulates the services and policy needs of people living with mental health conditions.

Would you like to add your personal story to the Peer Empowerment Video Library?  Email your completed video to


Ashley resides in Northwest Alabama. The artist and activist tells her mental health story through the RESPECT Initiative of Alabama.  Her afghans have been featured in galleries in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Atlanta. For more information about Ashley’s afghans, email her at


Fred is a law professor at the University of Alabama and co-author of the book Weapon of Choice: Fighting Gun Violence While Respecting Gun Rights.  His proposal to allow individuals to protect themselves against impulsive suicide by suspending their own ability to purchase firearms has been enacted in three states (UT, VA, & WA) and featured on CBS Sunday Morning.  Professor Vars is currently working on a book about mental health policy centered on stories of people with mental health challenges empowering one another. 

Please visit for more information.


Grettayetta is a motivational speaker and mental health support guru located in Central Alabama.


Kate resides in the Birmingham area. When she  was a junior in college she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. From there her life became a rollercoaster of physical and mental health challenges. She struggles with depression and anxiety and still struggles with Crohn’s but she’s doing better than she ever was


Kimberly resides in North Alabama.  She graduated from Oakwood University in 2023. She has published three books and continues to share her story to support others in their mental health journey through her writing.  

Check out her books on Amazon:  

Surviving Life’s Storms Victoriously

Poems that Transform and Inform

Poems that Bring World Healing

You can contact Kimberly at


Maggie has been a Certified Peer Specialist since August 2023 and currently works at  Wings as a Rural Outreach Volunteer.  She is proud to say she is a Navy Veteran with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science that has allowed her to become skilled at encouraging others to see their strengths vs their limitations.  In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors with her 2 Boston Terriers that bring much joy to her daily.


Mary was born and raised in Central Alabama. She studied at UAB Special Studies Program and earned numerous certifications from 1996 to 2010, and she studied at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. Mary is a Certified Minister, and she retired from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013. She was previously employed with JBS Mental Health Care as a Peer Specialist and Family Peer Specialist with Nova Program. Mary is a NAMI In Our Own Voice speaker and NAMI Family-to-Family graduate. She is also a RESPECT Initiative speaker.


Wayne resides in south Alabama and continues his recovery journey.