Beginning when she was a child, Mariel utilized negative coping mechanisms to battle her bi-polar disorder and feelings of insecurity and inferiority. After developing an eating disorder and resorting to self-harm, Mariel spent the majority of her teenage years afflicted with alcohol and drug addiction. Addiction derailed Mariel’s life,
leading to homelessness, incarceration, and victimization; she was bankrupt emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually. Mariel entered recovery in 2007 and has been able to maintain continuous, long-term recovery since then.
Mariel has become known as a leading New Jersey mental health and addiction advocate. She co-created the first ever peer-mentorship program with The Raymond J. Lesniak Experience Strength & Hope Recovery High School for their students (young people in early recovery). In 2015, she was awarded the Young People in Recovery Break-Out Advocate Award.
Today, Mariel is a student with a full scholarship to Kean University, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. She is a certified yoga teacher and a marathon runner who believes wholeheartedly in a holistic approach to addiction recovery, and well-being in general. Her work is motivated by empowering youth and arming them with healthy coping mechanisms.