Peer Leadership Team

Erick Schaefer

I was born in Johnstown, PA to two great and loving parents who, at 7 weeks old, had me on a flight to the other side of the world. Before I was the age of 3, I had already traveled a lot of Europe, lived in Saudi Arabia, and soon thereafter, was on my way back to the states to await the birth of my sister. We then moved to Florida and finally to Texas. In my off time I love playing video games and watching either the Steelers or the Aggies play some smash mouth football. 

 

I graduated from ITT Tech and ACC with associates degrees, both of which I was trying to get a job in the video game industry. This path wouldn't turn out too good for me. So I turned to a friend of mine who would lead me down the right path. He told me about giving back, and I've never stopped since, even though some things do hold me back some days. Almost 17 years ago I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, which some days makes it hard to get out of bed. 

 

Since I've been at Pavilion, It's brought me new hope for the future and new life. I'm glad to see where we've been and I can't wait to see where we are going. 

Ben Miller


I was born in Florida, but my family soon moved to Ohio which is where I lived until I was 16 years old. I was a good student. played sports and was a good musician. When I was 16 my family moved to Virginia, so for college I ended up going to Virginia Tech. I started out in Landscape Architecture but ended up getting my degree in English in 2002. My interest in Literature has increased and I plan to continue reading and writing. Before I graduated, I fell into a psychotic episode and had no idea what was going on. And as strange as this experience was for me, nobody around me seemed to suspect anything. Those two facts prevented me from getting the help I needed until my mental state had escalated completely out of control. 


I had planned on going to graduate school, but that plan was disrupted when I had to be hospitalized and took a long time recovering. Recovering was difficult because I didn't know much about the mental health system. I needed to be involved in peer-centered recovery, but didn't even know that this was available. When I finally got Involved with a program that Gordon Butler had started in Round Rock ten years ago, I began to see that it would be possible to really improve my quality of live. We have needed Pavilion in this area for a long time. Now that it is open, it is already changing the course of people's life's.



Czeslaw Sornat

Czeslaw (Cheswoff) Sornat was born in Poland but has been living in Austin for 36 years. For almost 30 years Czeslaw worked in Austin as an Illustrator, Animator, Painter, Photographer, Printer and Internet Designer as well as

a Computer Graphic Designer.


While in Poland, Czeslaw obtained his Master of Psychology, degree in Commercial Art and "almost" degree in Photography in Jewelry and Metal Arts.


Czeslaw has led a full life: made two trips around the world, explored 78+ countries, climbed Kilimanjaro, skydived and has done many other strange things in life.


Just recently he walked 500 miles with a backpack for 29 days the Camino de Santiago from France to Spain.

Celeste Leonard


I was born in 1961 in Harlingen, TX and moved to Corpus Christi, TX when I was just a year old. I graduated high school in 1979 and lived in Corpus for 25 years. I had 2 wonderful children. I then moved to the Austin area in 1985 and worked various different jobs.


One thing that resonated throughout my life was that I used drugs. I started at age 12. I didn't realize at the time that I was suffering from a mental illness. In 2005, my 24 year old son died and I spiraled out of control with drugs and alcohol. I lost my career job of 15 years, I got divorced, I lost my home, my car, and I was homeless. In 2008, I was diagnosed with severe depressive disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and Bi-Polar.


I'm happy to say that i'm sober now for 5 1/2 years and have lots of opportunity to help others in my community. I have now landed at Pavilion and am happy to be here.

Anne Griffith


In the mid-west I was born the youngest child of six siblings. My life hasn't been the kindest journey. I beat on the window of  the car that dragged & killed my best friend at age 4, I had the first of many back spasm at x-mas at age 5, molested by the 1st person at age 6, the next at age 10, by a family member at 13, gained over 60 lbs to stop them, but it started merciless teasing &body issues, physical & emotional abuse, date rape, Al Anon, & almost 20 years of debilitating illness & isolating just to list a few. As a result Depression, Agoraphobia, OCD, Panic attacker's, and PTSD became constant companions. But there has been just enough happy moments to hold onto. Most recent is the birth of my granddaughter. At age 9, we moved to KY & then to the coast of FL at 10. It was there that my grandfather introduced  me to my love of horses & that I learned to play the violin. 


On the East coast I earned my Associates & Bachelors degrees. Married and gave birth to my first child. It was an IBM transfer that brought my family to the Round Rock area here in TX. After giving birth to my 2nd child I divorced & then met my youngest child's father. It's a weird coincidence that both fathers actually have the same last name. Four years later I met my current husband at church. We separated, after ten years of marriage, about 7 years ago, but we are still close. When I met him he played bass, I sang backup & was the administrator for 1 yr. It was then that I began to be very ill. Three months later it was decided I would quit my job & home school my youngest child. Next thing I know I'm going to seven specialists. 


I had no idea at the time these debilitating illnesses would start a seventeen year journey of me being closed off to the world. I was usually only leaving my home a couple of times a month and usually to see a doctor. It only takes a couple of weeks for most friends to stop visiting and a less than a few years for the depression to begin to take hold. A failed attempt to get an appointment with Blue Bonnet Trails for my Autistic teen and I sent me to Lone Star Circle of Care. It was one appointment with a Psychiatrist who was there at the time, that put me through a made for TV nightmare, that has left me still afraid of mental health workers today. That is why I was introduced to Gordon Butler by Blue Bonnet Trails. He told me about a project that he was working on and encouraged me to help for a couple of months. Years later he contacted me again because that project was becoming Pavilion. He asked me to join the Peer Leadership Team and become a Board Member. 


After seventeen years of seclusion I am now a part of this wonderful program. I still worry about just how effective, how dependable can be due to my constant health problems. But find myself encouraged to try due to the kind people I meet each time I volunteer, and by the sense of accomplishment and contribution that I feel once again.

Our Volunteers!

Soon to be filled!