Banner Image
The SAARA Advocate
September 2019
From Our Executive Director Article Image
Hello Wonderful SAARA Friends and Family!
This weekend, these cute, little guys were feeding on the shrubbery outside of the front window of my home. You know fall has arrived when the deer show up in abundance, leaves start falling, and nights get cooler. Another tell-tale sign is when we start to hear whispers about house and senate bills that may be put forth in the upcoming general assembly session. We have seen a great deal of activity in September to bring Substance Use Disorder to the forefront of thoughts and minds. SAARA of Virginia, numerous SAARA affiliates throughout the state, and many SAARA partner organizations held a variety of stigma-busting, awareness-raising Recovery Month activities across our great state this month. SAARA sends a HUGE thank you to everyone who held, or participated in, a September 2019 Recovery Month awareness event or activity!
I have covered a lot of ground this month, not only working in Central Virginia, but also traveling to Charlottesville, Tappahannock, Blacksburg, and Radford. I head out to Manassas on September 30th. Virginia is one beautiful state and Virginians are amazing people! In Charlottesville, SAARA affiliate president, Sherri Cotten and I discussed their Recovery Month event, SAARA regional partnerships, SAARA awareness presentations in the community, and affiliate goals. In Tappahannock, SAARA affiliate president, Barry Travis kicked-off the regional SAARA Recovery Walk. It was a great day of fun, awareness, and camaraderie. Way to go Barry and SAARA supporters in Tappahannock! In Blacksburg and Radford, SAARA partnered with the VACSB to hold the 2nd Advocacy Symposium of 2019. Speakers included Jennifer Faison, Executive Director of the VACSB; Becky Lanier, Lobbyist and Owner of B2L Consulting; Delegate Sam Rasoul of the 11th district, and myself. Open symposium discussions included: How to advocate, Barrier Crimes, Social Services for people with substance use disorder (SUD) related felonies, Housing, and more. Keep an eye out for the next SAARA and VACSB partnership Advocacy Symposium. 
SAARA is looking for peer volunteers with lived experience of recovery from substance use disorder to be trained in the SAARA Voices of Recovery program. Voices of Recovery is a 60 to 75-minute community presentation, divided into segments that include: Life Before Addiction, Addiction Years, and Recovery. SAARA is also looking for family members who are affected by addiction to be trained in family support group and/or family program facilitation. If you are interested in being a part of these programs, please contact the SAARA office.
Together we make a difference! Until next month…  
Kathy Harkey, MA-MPP, BSP, BSMDS
Executive Director 

Best Wishes to Marjorie Yates
Marjorie Yates last day working at the SAARA Center is October 8th. Her years of service to SAARA are much appreciated. Marjorie has been a valued and respected member of the SAARA team for many years. On behalf of everyone at SAARA, let us all wish Marjorie all the best in future endeavors! 
(Pictured: Jason Cox, Marjorie Yates, Susan Parnell, Richard Howard, Lynda Clarke, Jeff McGhee, Kelsi Sober, Carrie Parnell, & Jonathan Lang).

Where We've Been
2019 Let's Talk Hope: The Crossroads between Substance Use Disorder & Suicide Prevention Conference
The Region IV Community Services Boards Prevention Division partnered with SAARA of Virginia to host the 2019 Substance Use Disorder and Suicide Prevention Conference. Theresa Caldwell, Chair of Petersburg Wellness Consortium provided the morning keynote address on Building Resiliency into Lives and the Community. Afternoon keynote speakers were Carrie Parnell, Alive RVA Lead CPRS, and Jason Cox, Alive RVA PRS presenting the Voices of Recovery. 
Raford Advocacy Symposium 
Article Image
SAARA of Virginia recently held another successful Substance Use Disorder and Addiction Advocacy Symposium. We would like to thank our presenters: Jennifer Faison, Executive Director of VACSB, Becky Lanier, owner of B2L Consulting, and Delegate Sam Rasoul of the 11th District. SAARA's Executive Director, Kathy Harkey identified the magnitude of the problem. Jennifer and Becky discussed specific advocacy issues, such as barrier crimes, housing, and gaps in services. Kathy gave participants a SAARA Advocacy Reference sheet and discussed key points on this valuable tool with attendees. Delegate Sam Rasoul expounded on several key points listed on SAARA's Advocacy Reference Sheet to share some excellent insider tips on what is effective when advocates visit House Delegates and Senators at the Virginia General Assembly. Click HERE for your free copy of the 2019 SAARA Advocacy Reference tool.
SAARA of Bay Counties Recovery Walk
Article Image
SAARA of Bay Counties hosted a Recovery Walk to celebrate National Recovery Month. The event included live music, activities, vendors and more! Rob Wittman, U.S. Congress Representative from Virginia's 1st congressional district, kicked off walk day with a heartfelt speech about Substance Use Disorder facts in Virginia and what is being done at the National level to address the problem. Barry Travis and Kathy Harkey spoke about Stigma, Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and Recovery in Virginia. A big shout out to President, Barry Travis for his diligent efforts in organizing the walk to raise awareness about SUD and Recovery in Virginia. Way to go Barry!
(Pictured: Rob Wittman, U.S. Representative, Virginia Congressional District 1; Barry Travis, SAARA of Bay Counties President).
SAARA of Northern Virginia 
Article ImageSAARA of Northern Virginia President, Nick Yacoub and Peer Recovery Specialists from the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board visited the SAARA Center to attend a Medically Assisted Recovery Support (MARS) group. They will be taking MARS support to the Northern Virginia community. 
Fight for the Heart of America
Article ImageAlive RVA Lead Coordinator, Carrie Parnell and Alive RVA volunteer, Jeff McGhee attended the 'Fight for the Heart of America' event at Hopewell High School where the movie 'Shooting Heroin' was premiered. The pair set up an exhibit table with literature to provide attendee's with useful resources. 
1st Annual Chesterfield County Resource Fair
Article Image
Chesterfield Re-Entry Council, CleanSlate Medical, Chesterfield Parks and Recreation and Virginia Career Works sponsored the 1st Annual Chesterfield County Community Resource Fair. The family oriented resource fair consisted of activities, games, food and lots of information. 
(Pictured:Alive RVA Peer Recovery Specialist, Jason Cox, Chesterfield County Sheriff, Karl Leonard, and Chesterfield County Jail Re-Entry Coordinator, April Hutchison).
MHAV's Victory for Mental Health Event
Article ImageCarrie Parnell, CPRS and Jason Cox, PRS attended the Victory for Mental Health event hosted by Mental Health America of Virginia. The main focus was celebrating success in mental health advocacy.  

September Additions to SAARA Resource Library

Affiliates Corner
SAARA of Northern Virginia continues to support and build partnerships with other recovery organizations in the community. 
SAARA of Bay Counties hosted a very successful recovery walk in the tidewater community. 
SAARA of the Peninsula hosted a Red Carpet Gala that celebrated the many pathways of recovery.
SAARA of Central Virginia hosted an Old Fashioned Field Day where peers joined to celebrate recovery and enjoy good food. 
SAARA of Charlottesville partenered with Region Ten CSB for a National Recovery Month event and screening of the short documentary HEROIN. 
SAARA of Southwest continues to be actively involved in the community by advocating for Substance Use Disorder and Recovery. 
SAARA of Washington Counties continues to spread awareness on Substance Use Disorder. 
Would you like to start an affiliate in your region? Reach out to

Voices of Recovery Training
Do you want to become a SAARA Voices of Recovery presenter? If so, this training is for you!
Learn to tell your story to create positive change in your community. This training teaches how to effectively tell your story in 3 powerful segments, Before Addiction, Addiction Years, and Life in Recovery. SAARA's Voices of Recovery train the presenter training provides participants with tools and skills to present their story and spread addiction awareness in the community. This training and all materials are provided free of charge.
Join Us
December 6th, 2019
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
SAARA Center Conference Room
2000 Mecklenburg Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Click HERE to register. 

REVIVE! Trainings
Opioid Overdose & Naloxone Education
Are you:
  • Currently using opioids such as heroin or prescription pain medications?
  • Abstinent from opioid use, but have used in the past?
  • A friend or family member of someone who currently uses opioids?
  • Working in a setting where opioid overdoses occur?
  • Interested in learning how to save life?
If so, then consider attending a REVIVE! training. Training's are held at the SAARA Center, 2000 Mecklenburg Street, Richmond VA 23223. 
The next Lay Rescuer Training will be held on November 14th from 10am - 12noon.
To register for trainings click HERE and select your preferred training date. 

SAARA Programs & Trainings
Ethical Considerations for Recovery Coaches
Participants learn to understand how critical it is to be ethically responsible in a peer-to-peer support role.
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
A 72 hour training required for PRSS certification. Participants get an understanding that the relationship between peers is characterized by mutual trust and respect, sharing experiences, learning about the recovery process,  and supporting the peer in multiple settings.
Medically Assisted Recovery Supports Training
Participants learn the significance of Medically Assisted Recovery Support and how medication can supplement the recovery process.
REVIVE! Lay Rescuer Training
This training provides information to professionals, stakeholders, and others on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone. 
Voices of Recovery Training
Participants learn how to effectively tell their story in 3 powerful segiments: Before Addiction, Addiction Years, and Life in Recovery. This training provides individuals with the tools and skills needed to present their story and spread addiction awareness in the community. 
Friends & Family Program
This is an educational program for family and friends of people with addiction. The Friends and Family Program provides information on Substance Use Disorder, Recovery, Taking Care of your Loved One with Addiction, and Self-Care. 
Ethics & Professionalism Workshop
This is an interactive workshop that focuses on ethics and professionalism in the workplace. Discussions include: What is Ethics, Professional Ethics, Universal Ethical Values, Who Gets Hurt, Evaluating Ethical Choices, Business Ethics, Accountability, Rationalizing, Ethics vs. Professionalism, and 10 Characteristics of Professionalism. 

SAARA Groups
Many peer to peer recovery groups meet daily at the SAARA Center. There are 11 total recovery based groups being facilitated which include; All Recovery, Letting Go, Resource Time, Life Skills, Women’s Recovery, Men’s Recovery, Early Recovery, MARS Recovery, Addictive Thinking, Narcotics Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous.
View the SAARA calendar for group schedules.
Visit the SAARA website to learn more about our groups.

Volunteer of the Month
Thank you Steve Stevens for all that you do!
"After 20 years of using cocain, SAARA has taught me nothing is impossible. With tools I've learned from attending the groups and the guidance from Marjorie Yates, Richard Howard and Lynda Clarke, I have been clean for 11 months. SAARA has saved my life. Thank you SAARA." - Steve Stevens

SAARA is seeking volunteers for peer groups, family groups, and health fairs. If you are interested in volunteering email or call 804-762-4445. 

In the News

Statewide Educational Opportunities & Events
Recovery Ally Training 
October 10th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
First Baptist Church
321 Marshall Ave SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
Click HERE to register.
14th Annual Mental Health Awareness Event
October 9th
3:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Dr. A.J. Ferazzo Building
15941 Donald Curtis Dr.
Woodbridge, VA 22191
For more information, contact Cynthia Dudley at (703) 763-3865 or
P.E.E.R. Fair
October 16, 2019
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Hampton VA Medical Center
Building 83
100 Emancipation Drive
Hampton, VA 23667
For more information, contact Charlee Redick at (757) 722-9961 or
Becoming Your Best Self: Putting the Pieces Together
October 18th
8:20 AM - 2:30 PM
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway 
For more information or to register, click HERE
Heroes for Hope
October 22nd
6:30 PM
The Country Club of Fairfax
5110 Ox Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
Click HERE for Tickets
Recovery is Real Conference
November 12th & 13th
Holiday Inn Roanoke/Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017
Click HERE, for registration form
Deadline to Register is October 7th
For more information, contact Robin Hubert at
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
PRS Training in Midlothian
October 5th - December 7th
Cost $330
For more information, contact Jim Kochany at
PRS Training in Prince George
October 4th to November 2nd
Fridays 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Saturdays 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Spirit Life Worship Center
5500 Middle Road
Prince George, VA 23875
For more information, contact Elvis Brooks at (804) 638-4009 or
PRS Training in Lynchburg
October 12th to November 10th
Saturdays and Sundays
Park View Community Mission
2420 Memorial Avenue
Lynchburg, Va 24501
For more information, contact James Stewart at (434) 381-0258.
PRS Training in Charlottesville
October 22nd to November 19th
Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
For more information, email
CPRS Supervisor Training in Suffolk
October 30th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Western Tidewater CSB
7025 Harbour View Blvd, Suite 119
Suffolk, VA 23435
Click HERE for Registration Form 
Click HERE for Online Registration Instructions
CPRS Supervisor Training in Charlottesville
December 11th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Region 10 CSB
500 Old Lynchburg Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Click HERE for Registration Form 
Click HERE for Online Registration Instructions

Do you have a training or community event you would like featured in our newsletter? Reach out to Kelsi Sober at

Job Opportunities
Peer Support Specialist
Henrico Mental Health and Developmental Services is hiring two full time Peer Support Specialist for the In-Stride Program and Permanent Supportive Housing. To apply, please visit Henrico Goverment's job site and apply to position IRC108723. Position closes 9/30/19. 
Recovery Support Specialist
Magellan Health is currently seeking a Recovery Support Navigator who lives in the Lynchburg, Roanoke or Staunton, Virginia area. For more information or to apply click HERE
Network Program Director
VOCAL is seeking a Network Program Director. Click HERE for full job description. To apply, email a cover letter stating for which position you are applying, resume, and a minimum of three references to Application deadline is 10/15/19.
Click HERE to view employment opportunities at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).

Alive RVA has received over 3,401 unique calls since its inception. We continue to see great success with each caller! For more information visit the AliveRVA website and Facebook
833-4PEERVA (833-473-3782)
8:00AM - Midnight, 7 Days a Week
Alive RVA is Supported 100% with a SAMHSA grant awarded to DBHDS #TI-17-014.

Support SAARA
Your donations allow us to continue our advocacy work and offer daily Peer Recovery opportunities at the SAARA Center.
Donations can be made payable to SAARA of Virginia and sent to 2000 Mecklenburg St. Richmond, VA 23223. Or, you can click HERE to donate online.
Don't want to mail a check or pay online? 
Consider becoming one of SAARA's Pledge Direct partners. Pledge Direct is a safe and easy way to send your gift to SAARA automatically each month. Your financial institution electronically transfers the amount you choose to SAARA from your checking account. Help us help those living with addiction reach recovery by enrolling in Pledge Direct. Simply click HERE for the enrollment form and mail it to SAARA of Virginia.

Attention Kroger Shoppers!
SAARA of Virginia can receive donations when you shop at Kroger and use your loyalty card. To select SAARA of Virginia as your charity of choice please click HERE to create an online account. For further assistance linking your loyalty card, please visit customer service at your preferred Kroger location. SAARA appreciates your support of our mission. 

Would you like to forward this email to a friend? Click here.
Remove my name from all future mass email communications.

Address postal inquiries to:
SAARA of Virginia Inc
2000 Mecklenburg St.
Richmond, VA 23223