Group Coordinator - Marion County
Lara Carranza grew up in Salem, Oregon. She started using methamphetamines at 14 years old. Her drug abuse led her down a tough and unfortunate, path towards a very bleak future. After numerous legal consequences and treatment centers, Lara was able to end her 13+ year addiction. It was no easy feat, but Lara survived and is able to tell her amazing story that inspires teenagers and young adults struggling with similar problems.
Lara has lived with ADHD and depression for the majority of her life. Once she started using methamphetamines her life began to spiral out of control. The consequences of her drug abuse and her mental challenges were drastic. She couldn’t hold onto friendships, keep a stable relationship, or complete any school assignment. Lara could not finish high school and eventually got wrapped up in the state legal system. She was overwhelmed in juvenile and adult correctional facilities and she didn’t have anyone to talk to who would understand her situation. She believes that her addiction wouldn’t have lasted as long if she had had the sympathetic ear she desperately needed from the probation officers and treatment counselors she encountered.
These unfortunate experiences contributed to Lara’s desire to help others facing similar situations. After many years of living a poisonous lifestyle, Lara learned valuable lessons about life that helped her get her future on track and stay healthy. Her family and counselors supported her in her battle against addiction and mental illness. After joining her seventh and final treatment facility, Lara found solace in Willamette Family, where she received an individualized treatment plan that led to her sobriety.
Lara’s mother and father always had faith that their daughter would overcome the limitations of her drug abuse. Even now, her family remains a source of great strength and support. Lara went on to earn her GED and attend Chemeketa Community College. Lara’s mother introduced Lara to Youth ERA programs and after receiving training in peer delivered services she was hired. Lara believes that her calling in life is to help others defeat the demons with which, she once struggled. Her great experiences with Youth ERA have allowed her to become the kind of woman that inspires people everyday.
Lara has become an essential member of the Youth ERA community. She helps people identify their dreams and recognize their potential because she knows firsthand what it takes to accomplish those goals. Through personal interaction and representation on the Children Services Advisory Committee, Lara always puts the needs of the youth first. Lara understands the value and importance of a guiding hand and she has now become that guiding hand for many young adults who need her.
In her free time, Lara loves to sit down with her 4 year old son and a plate of Mexican food to watch a rowdy game of Oregon Ducks football. Lara enjoys traveling to exotic, tropical places and hopes to be able to visit Cabo San Lucas and Jamaica one day.