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The SAARA Advocate
July 2019
From Our Executive Director Article Image
Hello Wonderful SAARA Friends and Family!
For 20 years SAARA has been a beacon of advocacy, help, and hope. SAARA is honored to provide support and serve as a resource and connection.
This month, I learned about a mother who worked tirelessly to save her son from addiction. She put him in treatment, put the rest of her family on hold while tracking down her boy in some seriously dangerous neighborhoods, lied to people about what she was doing to protect her son, and much more. Fortunately, her son was revived by Narcan. This mother’s story is all too real for family members that have a loved one with addiction. The hardship addiction takes on families is traumatizing. We at SAARA get it. We care! SAARA advocates for families affected by addiction and is an excellence resource. This year, three SAARA family members plan to attend family peer training to further assist Virginia families affected by addiction.  
SAARA staff, volunteers, affiliate leaders and members, have done a great deal to create positive change in Virginia in July. Maureen Murphy-Ryan, SAARA Roanoke affiliate board member, presented on the Virginia Opioid Crisis at the Danville Opioid Summit. Carrie Parnell and Katherine McKenzie, Alive RVA Warmline Peer Recovery Specialists, joined Maureen and gave a SAARA Voices of Recovery presentation at the summit. Carrie Parnell, Pamela Steele, Alethea Lambert, Barry Travis, Dr. Jim May, and myself attended the Virginia Summer Institute of Addiction Studies (VSIAS) Conference in Williamsburg. At the VSIAS Conference, Dr. May led a workshop on ‘Implementing MAT in Multiple Treatment Settings’ and I led a lunchbox session on ‘501c3 non-profits and advocacy.’ Jason Cox, Alive RVA Peer Recovery Specialist, and I attended the Region IV 5th Annual Collaborations Recovery Conference on July 22nd. Jason and I led a workshop on SAARA, Substance Use Disorder, Recovery, and Advocacy for change. As I write this letter to you, SAARA’s own Marjorie Yates is teaching a Peer Recovery Specialist Training at the SAARA Center. 
As July comes to a close and August rolls in, SAARA is looking to be as busy as ever. We have an upcoming Advocacy Symposium, Advocacy training, ASIST training, Voices of Recovery training, Suicide Prevention and Substance Use Disorder Conference, Recovery Month events, and more! Read on in this newsletter to learn more about these events. Until next month…
Together we make a difference!
Kathy Harkey, MA-MPP, BSP, BSMDS
Executive Director 

Where We've Been
VSIAS Conference
SAARA members and staff participated in the 2019 Virginia Summer Institute for Addiction Studies Conference. Hundreds of people from across the Commonwealth attended. Education sessions and workshops were held by a diverse mix of speakers providing the latest information on Substance Use Disorder and Addiction.
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Chesterfield National Night Out 2019
Alive RVA Peer Recovery Specialists, Carrie Parnell and Jason Cox, attended the Chesterfield National Night Out. They enjoyed engaging conversations, good food and music. There were over 35 organizations present handing out information on community resources. 
Region IV 5th Annual Collaborations Recovery Conference
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Alive RVA Peer Recovery Specialist, Jason Cox provided a Voices of Recovery presentation at the Region IV 5th Annual Collaborations Recovery Conference. Jason shared with the audience his life before addiction, during addiction, and life in recovery. 
Article ImageSAARA of Virginia Executive Director, Kathy Harkey gave a presentation on Substance Use Disorder and Advocacy at the Region IV 5th Annual Collaborations Recovery Conference. 
RASAP Opioid Summit
Article ImageThe SAARA state office along with SAARA’s Southwest affiliate participated in the RASAP Opioid Summit.
Maureen Murphy-Ryan provided a presentation on the Opioid Crisis in Virginia, Substance Use Disorder, SAARA, and Advocacy. Alive RVA Peer Recovery Specialists, Carrie Parnell and Katherine McKenzie provided a Voices of Recovery presentation. They shared their stories on life before addiction, during addiction, and in recovery.

New SAARA Affiliates
We are excited to announce we have two new SAARA affiliates!
SAARA of Washington County and SAARA of Charlottesville. 
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SAARA of Washington County President, Jason Pritchard
Jason Pritchard is a Community and Coalition engagement specialist operating under the HRSA grant for the Ballad Department of Population health. Mr. Pritchard has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Virginia Tech. He spent 16 years in active addiction and has been in recovery for the last 7 years. Mr. Pritchard is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist for both Virginia and Tennessee. He is also certified to train CPRS’s in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He recently completed the training to supervise the Medicaid billable hours for CPRS’s.  Mr. Pritchard also acts as the assistant director of Tri-Cities Recovery where he is an active facilitator and mentor in the “Living Free Community.”  Mr. Pritchard has volunteered over 1,800 hours in the last two years at Tri-Cities Recovery helping those in active addiction. He uses his lived experience to aid others in their pursuit of living a drug free life as a productive member of society. Mr. Pritchard currently works closely with the Faith-Based Community to help break the stigma of addiction or felon back ground in the church. Mr. Pritchard spent five years in incarceration and now has a heart for people who are battling the bondage of addiction. In 2018 he was recognized by the Virginia Cares program who awarded him the “Cindy Martin Special Achievement Award” for those who excel in society after being incarcerated. Mr. Pritchard has collaborated with community organizations in Southwest Virginia such as Highlands Community Services, Appalachian Substance Abuse Coalition (ASAC) and Hands and Feet Ministry to bring awareness of the opioid epidemic in the community.  His role at Ballad is to engage those existing grassroots coalitions and the faith-based community to overcome this opioid epidemic that now ravages Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Mr. Pritchard’s most recent accomplishment is being voted President of the Washington County, Virginia SAARA affiliate.
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SAARA of Charlottesville President, Sherri Cotten
Sherri is a wife of 31 years, a mother of 4, and grandmother of 3. She owns her own business, Miracle Spaces, and is able to fulfill one of her passions by providing home organizing and decluttering services for her clients. As her youngest child was entering young adulthood, Sherri and her family found themselves plunged into the world of drug addiction. It was a world they knew absolutely nothing about. Thus began a journey of education, understanding, and experience. As Sherri became immersed in the world of addiction/recovery, she found resources that were helpful, saw where there were unmet needs for addicts and their families, and discovered a passion and a heart for those struggling. Her goal and desire is to be a resource, an encouragement, a voice, and a hope for those who are suffering with drug addiction or love someone who is. Sherri has a unique gift of being able to bring people together and she wants to use this gift to help build a cohesive group with SAARA of Charlottesville; working together to provide help and hope for those suffering from addiction.

July Additions to Resource Library

Affiliates Corner
SAARA of Northern Virginia attended the grand opening of New Paradigm Recovery, an intensive outpatient treatment in Tysons Corner, Virginia. They continue to support and build partnerships with other recovery organizations in the community. 
SAARA of Bay Counties is currently organizing a walk for recovery month on September 21, 2019. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information or to register online, please visit the SAARA website.
SAARA of Southwest Virginia attended the RASAP Opioid Summit in Danville on July 22nd. Maureen Murphy-Ryan provided a presentation on the Opioid Crisis in Virginia, Substance Use Disorder, SAARA, and Advocacy.
SAARA of the Peninsula board members including Vice President, Johnnie Mullins and Treasurer, Frederika Jones, continue to be active in the Peninsula through regular meetings and community interaction on Substance Use Disorder and Advocacy.
SAARA of Central Virginia held their July meeting on the 23rd at RBHA’s North Campus. Dinner was provided and meeting attendee’s discussed SUD, advocacy, and affiliate participation in upcoming recovery events.
Would you like to start an affiliate in your region? Reach out to

Upcoming SAARA
Events & Trainings
ASIST Training
ASIST is a two-day workshop that teaches participants to recognize when someone may be at risk for suicide and how to create a plan to support their immediate safety.
Over 1 million people worldwide have taken the ASIST Training. 
The August Assist Training is full at this time. To inquire or register for future trainings, please email Kathy Harkey at

2019 Suicide Prevention & Substance Use Disorder Conference
Join Us
September 17th, 2019
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Delta by Marriott
555 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Cost $10
Lunch & Refreshments Provided
  • Voices of Recovery Presentation
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Suicide Prevention Take-Away Resources
  • Substance Use Disorder Take-Away Resources
  • Wellness Breaks
  • Door Prizes and More!
This event is filling up quickly!
For more information or to register online, click HERE.

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. 

Peer Recovery Support Specialist Training
Congratulations to the July PRS Graduates!
The next PRS Training will be held in October 2019 at the SAARA Center. 
For more information, visit our website or email

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.
SAARA sends a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Richard Howard and Lynda Clarke for their good work in making all groups held at the SAARA Center a positive recovery experience!
View the SAARA calendar for group schedules.
Visit the SAARA website to learn more about our groups.

In the News

Statewide Educational Opportunities & Events
Resilience Action Planning Workshop for Peers
July 31st
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
The Family Trinity Life Center
3601 Dill Road
Richmond, VA 23222
No Cost
Click HERE to Register
For more information, contact Brittany Cox at
Recovery Ally Training - Winchester
August 1st
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Winchester Medical Center
1888 Amherst Street
Winchester, VA 22601
Click HERE to register
Recovery Ally Training - Williamsburg
August 8th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Bruton Parish
331 W Duke of Gloucester Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Click HERE to register.
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.
DBHDS Supervisor Training in Roanoke
August 13th
Transformed Support Services
Presidential Board Room, 3rd Floor
3959 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA 24018
For more information, contact Mary McQuown at
Emotional CPR
August 19th - 20th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
On Our Own Roanoke Valley
429 Elm Ave
Roanoke, VA 24016
Cost $20
Click HERE to register.
For more information, contact Megan Sharkey at
RECON 2019 Statewide Recovery Conference
August 26th - 27th
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Richmond-Midlothian
For more information, click HERE
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. 
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
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
PRS Training in Hampton
August 4th - October 6th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The class will run on Sundays
Cost $350
For more information, contact Eddie Wiggins at or (757) 637-8705.
PRS Training in Belle Haven
August 5th - 9th, 12th - 16th
8:20 AM - 4:20 PM
Eastern Shore Community Services Board
Office of Prevention
15150 Merry Cat Lane
Belle Haven, Virginia 23306
For more information, contact Mike Ellyson at or (434) 247-0420.
PRS Training in Richmond
Consecutive Saturdays and Sundays
August 10th - September 8th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Cost $300
For more information, contact Jim Kochany at or 804-304-9797.
PRS Training in Woodbridge
August 12th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Dale City Church of Christ
For more information, contact Cynthia Dudley at (703) 763-3865.
PRS Training in Stephens City
Every Saturday August 17th - October 5th
For more information, contact Bryon Johnson at or (540) 664-1010. 
PRS Training in Prince William County
August 20th - September 28th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
10900 University Boulevard
Manassas, VA 20110
Free for Prince William County Residents
For more information, contact Arm & Arm at or (571) 245-4568.
PRS Training in Chesapeake
August 23, 24, 30 31
September 6, 7, 13, 14, 27, 28
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Iron Horse Fellowship
414 S. Battlefield Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23322
Cost $500
For more information, contact Raymond Barnes at or (804) 481-1577. 
PRS Traning 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 

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

Job Opportunities
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (Care Project)
The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority is seeking a full time Certified Peer Recovery Specialist to join our SUD Team. The successful candidate will perform intermediate skilled human support work involving the assessment of client needs and providing access to needed and appropriate services including treatment, rehabilitation and service linkage, case monitoring and client advocacy functions, and related work as apparent or assigned. Work is performed under the limited supervision of the assigned Program Supervisor. (Grant Funded Position)
For more information or to apply, click HERE.
Lead Peer Recovery Specialist 
The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority is seeking a qualified professional to join our team. As a key team player, this qualified person will share his/her lived experience of recovery, and be primarily responsible for the provision of support and encouragement to people with behavioral health disorders and co-occurring health issues. Key components of this project are to operate the AliveRVA Warm Line to provide support and resource referral; and to provide peer support services in participating hospital emergency departments. This person will also supervise and oversee this metro Richmond project’s activities and Peer Recovery Support Specialists to ensure the project meets grant requirements. Grant-funded, Full-time position.
For more information or to apply, click HERE
Peer Recovery Support Specialist
The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority is seeking a qualified Peer Recovery Support Specialist join our team. This is a grant-funded, full-time position. As a key team player, the qualified person will share his/her lived experience of recovery, and be primarily responsible for the provision of support and encouragement to people with behavioral health disorders and co-occurring health issues. Key components of this project is to operate the Alive RVA warm line to provide support and resource referral and to provide peer support services in participating hospital emergency departments.
For more information or to apply, click HERE
Click HERE to view employment opportunities at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).

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. 

Alive RVA has received over 2,985 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.

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