Banner Image
The SAARA Advocate
August 2019
From Our Executive Director Article Image
Hello Wonderful SAARA Friends and Family!
August has been an active month here at SAARA. We have been planning our 2nd Advocacy Symposium to be held on September 19th in Radford. We are serving on the steering committee and handling the logistics for the 2019 Suicide Prevention and Substance Use Disorder Conference that will be held in Richmond on September 17th. SAARA of Virginia and its affiliates are planning Recovery Month activities to be held in September. The Peer Recovery Specialists Stakeholders Roundtable meeting was held at the SAARA Center on August 13th. The SAARA Center hosted an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) on August 20th through August 21st. Nineteen people graduated from this training! Three Medically Assisted Recovery Supports (MARS) trainings have been held, or are scheduled to be held, at the SAARA Center in August. Need I say more? Again, August has been an active month here at SAARA! 
Several staff, volunteers, and affiliate members of SAARA attended RECON 2019. What a wonderful and enlightening event! I had the privilege of serving as moderator for the Advocacy Forum at the RECON Statewide Recovery Conference. RECON supports recovery principles in personal and professional lives and provides information on the field of recovery support services in Virginia.
This month I visited SAARA friends in Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Clifton Forge in the Alleghany region. In Hampton, Newport News, SAARA of the Peninsula affiliate president, Johnnie Mullins, gave me a tour of the Hampton/Newport News Community Services Board (CSB). In Portsmouth, delegate Cliff Hayes and I met for lunch and Jessica at the Safe Harbor Recovery Center and I discussed having a SAARA affiliate in the area. In Norfolk, Raymond Barnes and Sarah Fuller gave me a tour of their new CSB facility and we discussed a partnership with friends in Portsmouth to start a local SAARA affiliate. Earlier this year, I met with CSB Executive Director Ingrid Barber and Sheriff Kevin Hall in Clifton Forge to discuss having a SAARA affiliate in the region. I returned to the Alleghany region this month to meet with a local Pastor to further progress a SAARA affiliate in the area.
As always, we at SAARA continue to meet with community stakeholders, legislators, and participate on policy and other committees to discuss Substance Use Disorder and Advocacy.
There is more information in this newsletter about the events and activities mentioned in this Executive Director letter. Please read on to learn more about the many activities and events mentioned and events and activities yet to come. You don’t want to miss the awesome SAARA Recovery Month activities to be held in September!  
Together we make a difference!
Kathy Harkey, MA-MPP, BSP, BSMDS
Executive Director 

Where We've Been
Article Image
Welcome SAARA of the Peninsula President, Johnnie Mullins
Johnnie B Mullins Jr. is an individual living in long term recovery. He has been abstinent from all substances for over 26 years. Johnnie works as a Registered Certified Peer Recovery Specialist for a homeless program called Road2Home under the HNNCSB (Hampton/Newport News Community Service Board) umbrella. He has always felt he could do much more for society which led him to the SAARA of the Peninsula affiliate. Johnnie was voted in as the Vice President and served in that position for approximately two years. He is honored to step into the position of President of SAARA of the Peninsula. 
Article Image
SAARA of Virginia Executive Director, Kathy Harkey meeting with new SAARA of the Peninsula President, Johnnie Mullins
Executive Director, Kathy Harkey visited the Peninsula region to meet with the new SAARA of the Peninsula President, Johnnie Mullins. He gave Kathy a tour of the center and shared information on the recovery activities and events SAARA of the Peninsula is involved in. 
Article Image
Meeting with Delegate Cliff Hayes
This month Kathy Harkey met with Delegate Cliff Hayes of the 77th district. They had lunch at East Side Pizzeria in Portsmouth to discuss Substance Use Disorder, Recovery and Legislation.
Article Image
Alive RVA Presenting for Dept. of Social Services
Alive RVA Interim Lead Coordinator, Carrie Parnell and Peer Recovery Specialist, Katherine McKenzie visited the Department of Social Services. They met with foster care supervisors from different districts and provided them with information on resources available in the community. Alive RVA is spreading awareness to help parents of children who have been placed in the foster care system. 
Recon 2019
SAARA of Virginia and SAARA affiliates attended Recon 2019. Several speakers and moderators shared their personal experience with addiction. Kathy Harkey served as moderator for a panel discussion on Advocacy. Pictured above is SAARA of Charlottesville President, Sherri Cotten and SAARA of Washington County President, Jason Pritchard.

August Additions to SAARA Resource Library
Check out the SAARA Resource Library for downloadable resources such as the 

Affiliates Corner
SAARA of Northern Virginia continues to actively be involved in the community by advocating for Substance Use Disorder and Recovery. 
SAARA of Bay Counties is hosting a walk for recovery month on September 21, 2019. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information or to register online, please visit the SAARA website.
SAARA of the Peninsula is having a Red Carpet Gala September 28th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Elite Youth Motivational Center located at 95 Tude Mill Lane, Hampton, Virginia 23666. Join us in celebrating the many pathways to recovery. Dress to Impress! Admission is free. Please RSVP by September 14th to or (301) 741-7152.
SAARA of Central Virginia is having an old fashioned field day and cook-out for recovery month in September. This Recovery Month event will be held on the last Friday or Saturday in September at the RBHA North Campus. (outdoor weather permitting). Stay tuned for further information. 
SAARA of Charlottesville is having a movie screening in partnership with the health coalition in celebration of recovery month. Please stay tuned for further information.
SAARA of Southwest holds regular meetings and partners in the community to discuss advocacy and increase Substance Use Disorder and addiction awareness. 
SAARA of Washington County is targeting potential board members such as law enforcement members, faith-based members and community services board members. 
Would you like to start an affiliate in your region? Reach out to

Upcoming SAARA
Events & Trainings
Recovery Month Celebration
Join Us
September 13th, 2019
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
SAARA Center Conference Room
2000 Mecklenburg Street
Richmond, VA 23223
  • Voices of Recovery Presentation
  • Substance Use Disorder & Recovery Awareness Information
  • Movie Screening
  • Pizza & Popcorn

2019 Suicide Prevention & Substance Use Disorder Conference
This event has reached full capacity!
If you are registered, please click HERE for information on creating a centerpiece!
September 17th, 2019
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Delta by Marriott
555 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219
  • Voices of Recovery Presentation
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Suicide Prevention Take-Away Resources
  • Substance Use Disorder Take-Away Resources
  • Wellness Breaks
  • Door Prizes and More!

Substance Use Disorder and Addiction Advocacy Symposium
Join us to discuss;
  • Barrier Crimes
  • Housing
  • Gaps in Services
  • Effective Advocacy
September 19, 2019
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
New River Valley Commuinity Services
401 West Main Street
Radford, VA 24141
Click HERE to register. 

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
September 20th, 2019
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
SAARA Center Conference Room
2000 Mecklenburg Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Click HERE to register. 

2019 Recovery Walk
Join Us
September 21st, 2019
Town Office Park
915 Church Lane
Tappahannock, VA 22560
  • Speakers
  • 3k Recovery Walk
  • Live Music
  • Children's Activities
  • Vendors
  • and More!
Onsite Registration 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Online Registration Click HERE
Vendor and Sponsorship Opportunities!
For more information, visit 

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 September 12th 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. 

Virginia General Assembly News
Virginia Crime Commission
An ongoing General Assembly session on public safety began this year on July 9th. On August 19th, the session included presentations and discussions on firearms, criminal justice, and mental health. After hearing from experts, delegate Les Adams said, “The expert presentations demonstrate that there are varied and multiple causes that contribute to the loss of life in Virginia.” The General Assembly will reconvene the special session on November 18th.

In the News

Statewide Educational Opportunities & Events
Recovery Ally Training - Fairfax
September 16th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Northern Virginia Regional Commission
3040 Williams Drive
Suite 200
Main Conference Room A
Fairfax, VA 22031
Click HERE to register.
Recovery Ally Training - Roanoke
October 10th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
First Baptist Church
321 Marshall Ave SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
Click HERE to register.
Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator Training 
September 9th - 13th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Roslyn Retreat Center
8727 River Road
Henrico, VA 23229
For more information, contact Megan Sharkey at
Hill Day 2019
September 17th - 18th
Washington, D.C. 
For more information or to register, click HERE
2019 Suicide Prevention & Substance Use Disorder Conference
September 17th
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Delta by Marriott
555 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Cost $10
Click HERE to register. 
7th Annual Eastern State Hospital Alumni Reunion
September 18th
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Eastern State Hospital Picnic Grove
4601 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Please RSVP to Melissa Evans at or (757) 208-7293
Whole Health Action Management Workshop
September 23rd & 24th
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
2000 Mecklenburg Street 
Richmond, VA 23223
Click HERE to register
Rise Phoenix Rise Support Groups
Tuesday Evenings
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Parham Doctor's Hospital
Medical Office Building Room 312
For more information, contact Traci Jones at
Recovery is Real Conference
November 12th & 13th
Holiday Inn Roanoke/Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017
Click HERE, for registration form
For more information, contact Robin Hubert at
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
PRS Training in Abingdon
September 9th - 13th & 17th - 19th
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator, Inc.
851 French Moore Jr. Blvd
Abingdon, Virginia 24210
For more information, contact Logan Home at
PRS Training in Gloucester
September 13th - November 15th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
7603 Hospital Drive
Gloucester, VA 23061
For more information, contact Avis Webster at or (804) 758-8014.
PRS Training of the Trainer in Winchester
September 16th - 18th
Click HERE for application. 
Application deadline August 16th. 
For more information, contact Mary McQuown at 
PRS Training in Fredericksburg
September 26th - December 5th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
John F. Fick Conference Center
1301 Sam Perry Boulevard
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Cost $125
For more information, contact Tracy Ringquist at or (540) 300-7308. 
PRS Training in Midlothian
October 5th - December 7th
Cost $330
For more information, contact Jim Kochany at

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

Job Opportunities
Manager of Peer Recovery Supports & Trainings
SAARA of Virginia is seeking a Manager of Peer Recovery Supports & Trainings. The position is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the SAARA Center and directly supervises the Peer Recovery Specialists, Recovery Coaches, and Volunteers. For more information on job duties and responsiblities click HERE. Please submit your resume to Kathy Harkey at
Part-Time Outreach Worker
The Chris Atwood Foundation (CAF) is seeking two Peer Outreach Workers who will be responsible for meeting the needs of people at risks for, or affected by: opioid overdose, substance use disorder, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis. For further information, click HERE. Please submit your resume to by September 6th, 2019.
Recovery Support Navigator
Magellan Health is currently seeking a Recovery Support Navigator who lives in the Lynchburg, Roanoke or Staunton, Virigina area. This position provides non-clinical, evidence-based peer support services, serves as a member advocate, shares coping skills, and provides recovery information for members. This position performs a wide range of tasks to assist with care coordination designed to assist members in regaining control over their own lives through individual recovery planning, wellness self-management, and strengthening resilience to improve personal health outcomes. This position will role model competency in recovery, resiliency, and wellness practices. For more information or to apply click HERE
Peer Recovery Specialist
Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare is seeking Certified Peer Specialists. The Peer Recovery Specialist is an integral part of the CIBH team and will be responsible for providing peer support services to individuals with mental health and/or substance use issues in various settings, to include hospitals, court, jails, and the community. Please send resumes or inquires to Rebecca Choquette at
Click HERE to view employment opportunities at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).

Alive RVA has received over 3,214 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.

SAARA is seeking peer volunteers to be part of the Voices of Recovery Program and family member volunteers to lead a family support group. Volunteers are also needed to man SAARA exhibit tables at health fairs. If you are interested, contact us at or call 804-762-4445. 

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. 

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.

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