Originally from Colombia, South America; graduated as a psychologist in Colombia in 2004 and worked in the Colombian Institute of Familiar Welfare and as a School Counseling Assistant at Colegio de La Salle Pereira. In 2006 moved to USA and in 2010 worked as the lead teacher of a 2 year old classroom implementing a Montessori approach, that lead to be recognized as the classroom with better learning outcomes in the center in that year. In 2010 joined the David Lawrence center as a Targeted Case Manager; in this position, she also had the opportunity to see the client’s needs by going in their homes and vividly seeing what their needs are in real life. This has helped her to have a better understanding of the multicultural needs and to be able to provide better services in the center as a mental health therapist.
In 2011 received the recognition by the center as “Outstanding Team Player”. In 2012, became a Clinician I, working in the Emergency Services Center assessing people that were in crisis for mental health and substance use. In 2013, completed the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling and became a Clinician II providing outpatient intervention to adult and children with mental health disorders, substance use and/or co-occurring disorders. In 2016, received The Mental Health License, became a Clinician III, and the clinical coordinator of the Immokalee office. In 2016, was recognized by the center as the Employee of the Year. Recently, received the TIR (Trauma Incident Reduction) facilitator Certification and started working on different cases in Outpatient services, leading to heal and cure patients that have been exposed to traumatic experiences with positive outcomes related to the reduction of flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, and, some of the cases have stopped medication management to treat anxiety and depression related to trauma.
Mariana enjoys working in the Immokalee community providing not only mental health services but, also being involved in different activities in the area that are helping to identify the needs of the population, and at the same time, providing education about mental health and substance use to fight the stigma around it. Mariana has presented two radio shows about alcohol use in the radio station “La Ley”; as well as participating in the Ciclovia activity. Every year, her team participate in the Christmas parade representing DLC, in which the float won third place in 2016. She has also participated in other community activities supporting LGTBQ community. She has also represented DLC in advocating to advance ideas and potential new solutions. This act has led to increased services at the Immokalee office and for the community. Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart heard her speak passionately at one of these community meetings, inspiring him to advocate for more mental health funding.
In her personal life Mariana is a mother of two, 21 and 11 years old boys. Her older son is married and recently had a baby. In her free time, she enjoys reading about different aspects in psychology, self-growth, and spirituality. She often practices outside activities such as biking, skating and cardio to keep herself mentally and physically healthy. Every morning practices meditation, but her favorite time is to spend time with loved ones. Mariana strongly believes that happiness is an internal daily work that comes when we are aligned to help others.