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The SAARA Advocate
October 2019
From Our Executive Director Article Image
Greetings SAARA Friends and Family! Election Day in Virginia is on November 5th. Remember to vote. Your voice matters! SAARA is hard at work preparing for the 2020 General Assembly session. Our 2020 General Assembly Priorities and Research Initiatives has been posted in the Advocacy section of SAARA’s website at
This month, four new board members were voted on the SAARA of Virginia state board of directors. Congratulations to new board members Maureen Murphy-Ryan, Southwest Virginia, Sherri Cotton, Charlottesville Virginia, Jason Pritchard, Southwest Virginia, and Johnnie Mullins, Tidewater Virginia. Welcome to the board Maureen, Sherri, Jason, and Johnnie!
SAARA has a new affiliate representing the Portsmouth and Norfolk regions of Virginia. Please join me in sending a great BIG welcome to SAARA’s newest affiliate, SAARA Southside Hampton Roads! SAARA Southside Hampton Roads is led by President, Jessica McGraw and Vice President, Raymond Barnes.
SAARA staff, affiliates, members, and supporters have a reputation for accomplishing goals and not slowing down. October is no exception and we are as busy as ever. SAARA Affiliates are actively advocating and promoting SUD and Recovery Awareness. This month I have traveled to Danville, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, and Tappahannock. In each of these corners of the Commonwealth, I met with SAARA affiliate leaders and members, community stakeholders, and legislators. I worked with advocates and participated in community awareness events, meetings and conferences. To top it off, SAARA is moving full steam ahead into the upcoming general assembly session! Keep your eyes open for SAARA Advocacy Alerts.
Together we make a difference!
Kathy Harkey, MA-MPP, BSP, BSMDS
Executive Director 

Where We've Been
CCoVA 2019 State Summit: Emerging Trends in Substance Use
(Pictured: Daniel Carey, M.D., Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources)
SAARA of Virginia staff and affiliate leaders from SAARA Bay Counties and SAARA Southside Hampton Roads attended the 2019 CCoVA Summit in Roanoke. Summit sessions included information on prevention strategies; mental health and substance use disorder signs, symptoms and treatment options; and signature programs offered in the Commonwealth. 
Art of Recovery
 (Jeffrey McGhee, PRS; Carrie Parnell, CPRS, & Jason Cox, PRS)
(Pictured: Kathy Harkey, Carolyn Seaman & Kelsi Sober)
SAARA of Virginia was privileged to be a part of Art of Recovery 2019 in partnership with the McShin Foundation, RBHA Foundation, and Richmond Behavioral Health Authority. Are you interested in creating art work for next years Art of Recovery? If so, please contact us at

Virginia Beach Conference: Opioid Use Disorder in Virginia's Criminal Justice System
SAARA of Virginia's Kathy Harkey and affiliate Presidents, Barry Travis, SAARA of Bay Counties, Jason Pritchard, SAARA Washington Counties, and Johnnie Mullins, SAARA of the Peninsula attended the Opioid Use Disorder in Virginia's Criminal Justice System conference in Virginia Beach. Janet Loving from the Chesterfierld CSB met up with SAARA friends at the event. 
Virginia Nurses Behavioral Health Roundtable Meeting
SAARA was represented at the Virginia Nurses Behavioral Health Roundtable Meeting. Megan Healy, Ph.D., Chief Workforce Development Advisor, Office of Governor Ralph Northam, gave a presentation on workforce development in Virginia's healthcare system.
Meeting in Danville
(Downtown Danville, Virginia)
Kathy Harkey and Teresa Hill met at Holy Grounds coffee shop in Danville, Virginia to discuss opening a SAARA affiliate in the region.

September Additions to SAARA Resource Library

Affiliates Corner
SAARA of Northern Virginia is actively involved in connecting with the community and spreading addiction awareness. 
SAARA of Bay Counties recently aired on K95 to discuss Substance Use Disorder, Stigma and Advocacy. 
SAARA of the Peninsula board members including President, Johnnie Mullins and Treasurer, Frederika Jones, continue to be active in the Peninsula region. The affiliate holds monthly meetings, community events, and advocates for Substance Use Disorder and Recovery. 
SAARA of Central Virginia affiliate meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM at the North Campus, 1700 Front Street, Richmond, VA 23222. 
SAARA of Charlottesville continues to spread awareness on Substance Use Disorder and Recovery.
SAARA of Southwest is expanding and their advocacy efforts are reaching more people. 
SAARA of Washington Counties is seeking potential board members such as law enforcement members, faith-based members and community services board members. 
SAARA of Southside Hampton Roads is a new SAARA affiliate that is already making a difference by promoting Substance Use Disorder and Recovery awareness in the community.
Would you like to start an affiliate in your region? Reach out to Kathy Harkey at
Want to join a SAARA Affiliate? Contact Kelsi Sober at (804) 762-4445 or email

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 Groups
Many peer to peer recovery groups meet daily at the SAARA Center. There are 11 total recovery based groups 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.

Recovery is Real Conference
SAARA of Virginia will be present at the Recovery is Real conference in Roanoke on November 12th and 13th. SAARA staff and volunteers will provide a Voices of Recovery Presentation and an "Ethics & Professionalism" workshop. SAARA's "Ethics & Professionalism" workshop is an interactive session that focuses on ethics and professionalism in the workplace. 

Welcome Jessica McGraw, President of the SAARA Southside Hampton Roads Affiliate
Jessica McGraw, Director of Business Development for Safe Harbor Recovery Center, has a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry. She is skilled in social services, patient advocacy, fundraising, and commercial and Medicaid insurance contracting. Jessica specializes in building relationships across the community to create a wraparound network of resources. She is dedicated to helping others find programs for substance use disorders and mental health needs. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Christopher Newport University, and is currently in supervision to become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.

Welcome Raymond Barnes, Vice President of SAARA Southside Hampton Roads
With over 10 years of peer experience, numerous certifications in the field of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Peering, it is no wonder his clients love him and can see his passion for recovery. Raymond has been in active recovery for over 13 years. In his clear, self-determination and no-nonsense approach to his recovery, Raymond has been able to be a very effective Certified Peer Recovery Specialist on all levels. Raymond is the Peer Program Manager at the Norfolk Community Services Board.

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.

In the News

Virginia Overdose Deaths Rising
New Virginia data shows we are experiencing a record high of opioid overdoses since 2007. Click HERE to learn more.

DEA National TakeBack Day
DEA National TakeBack day was October 26th and provided Americans the opportunity to help prevent drug addiction and overdose. Thanks to everyone who participated in this wonderful event! Click HERE for more Take Back Day resources. 

Pharmacy Drop Box
SAARA supports drop boxes in every pharmacy. Learn how you can help advocate for safe drug disposal by clicking HERE.

Statewide Educational Opportunities & Events
CPRS Ethics Workshop
November 2nd
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
City of Refuge Hopewell Recovery Center
2301 Atlantic Street 
Hopewell, Virginia 23860
For more information or to register click HERE
Quit Smoking
November 6th
Noon - 1:30 PM
VCU Health Hub
1330 N 25th Street
Richmond, VA 23223
For more information or to register, call (804) 828-2432.
Recovery is Real Conference
November 12th & 13th
Holiday Inn Roanoke/Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017
For more information, contact Robin Hubert at
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
PRS Training in Richmond
November 1st - 8th
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
4103 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23230
Costs $800
For more information, contact Marjorie Yates at (804) 818-6605 or
PRS Training in Richmond 
November 5th
2025 E. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Costs: Unknown - Contact Trainer
For more information, contact Craig Hedley at (804) 393-6914 or
PRS Training in Stephens City
Saturdays beginning November 23rd
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: $500
For more information, contact Bryon Johnson at (540) 664-1010 or
CPRS Supervisor Training in Charlottesville
December 11th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Region 10 CSB
500 Old Lynchburg Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Costs: Unknown - Contact Trainer
Click HERE for Registration Form 
Click HERE for Online Registration Instructions
PRS Training in Norfolk
January 4th
Mystic Moon Community Center
3365 N. Military Highway
Norfolk, VA 23518
Costs: Unknown - Contact Trainer
For more information, contact Ana Whitley at
PRS Training in Harrisonburg
January 6th - 17th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center
620 Simms Ave
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Costs: Unknown - Contact Trainer
For more information, contact Ragan McManus at
PRS Training in Harrisonburg
January 7th - February 1st
Gemeinschaft Home
1423 Mount Clinton Pike
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Costs: Unknown - Contact Trainer
For more information, contact Jennie Amison at (540) 416-8833 or
PRS Training in Richmond
January 8th
The McShin Foundation
2300 Dumbarton Road
Henrico, VA 23228
Costs: Unknown - Contact Trainer
For more information, contact Jesse Wysocki at (804) 249-1845 or

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 Supervisor
An amazing opportunity for an experienced peer support specialist! The Forensic Peer Support Supervisor is a completely new type of position in Fairfax County. This position will work for the local CSB, and supervise peer support staff in the Adult Detention Center, and Court system. For more information or to apply, click HERE
Peer Recovery Support Facilitators
Mental Health America of Virginia is seeking to contract with Peer Recovery Specialists (PRS) to facilitate recovery groups for adults under state probation supervision. A total of 6 facilitators are needed: 2 to work in Wytheville/Galax area, 2 to work in Winchester/Front Royal area, and 2 to work in Portsmouth. These are part-time positions, approximately 4 hours/week. For more information or to apply, click HERE
Recovery Support Navigator
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. To apply, click HERE
Click HERE to view employment opportunities at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).

Alive RVA has received over 3,594 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.

Volunteer of the Month
Glenn Lee is a participant in the Richmond Virginia Drug Court program and started with SAARA in February of 2019. He looks forward to attending SAARA groups and is very happy with his recovery journey. Glenn is appreciated for his determination and hard work!

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

Daylight Savings
It is time for the annual fall back ritual. Daylight saving time ends on November 3rd at 2:00 AM when the clock turns back one hour. 

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. 

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