Banner Image
The SAARA Advocate
November 2019
From Our Executive Director Article Image
Happy Thanksgiving!
This year, all 140 House and Senate seats were up for reelection. The SAARA team looks forward to working with all Virginia elected Delegates and Senators to improve the lives of people affected by substance use disorder. With the election behind us, SAARA is hard at work preparing for the 2020 General Assembly session.
A few advocacy initiatives the SAARA team is working on include: Social Service benefits for individuals with drug related felonies, increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Peer Recovery Specialists, and expungement of minor drug related felonies.
SAARA’s 2020 General Assembly Priorities and Research Initiatives has been posted on our website. With our steadfast approach, SAARA continues to lead the charge to advance initiatives that support recovery, prevention, and intervention.     
We at SAARA wish you a joyful celebration with friends and family this holiday season. We also ask you to keep in mind that for some, the holidays can be a difficult time. Be good to yourself and others. Practice self-care and reach out for help if the holiday season seems too much to handle.
Until next month…
Together we make a difference!
Kathy Harkey, MA-MPP, BSP, BSMDS
Executive Director 

SAARA of Nigeria
Article ImageSAARA of Nigeria Executive Director, Andrew Dodo is from the Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, in the village of Sabon Sarki, Nigeria. He works with the Ministry of Education and is a Recovery Coach at the SAARA of Nigeria Community Center. As a result of Andrew's personal experience with alcohol, he devotes his time to working with individuals impacted by Substance Use Disorders.
SAARA of Nigeria is making a huge difference! The SAARA of Nigeria affiliate has establlished a Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance Center in Kaduna where outpatient services are provided. The Center has introduced both Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Andrew Dodo has trained over 50 recovery coaches. In addition, he has provided over 300 teachers the Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training to implement the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Curriculum in schools. The SAARA of Nigeria Affiliate will soon be introducing Anger Management classes. Thank you SAARA of Nigeria for all your hard work!

Happy Holidays
A few of your SAARA team members.

Where We've Been
CVC MegaCharity Fair
SAARA of Virginia has been present at recent Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign Fairs. For more information on CVC, click HERE. SAARA will be present at the next DHRM CVC Charity Fair held on December 4th from 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM at the James Monroe Building in Richmond, Virginia. Come out and see us!

Recovery is Real Conference
(SAARA of Greater Roanoke Valley Affiliate Members: Susan Shirley, Crystal Blanchard, Rhonda Deel, & Stephanie Aldrich. SAARA of Greater Roanoke Valley Affiliate Advocacy Committee: Mike & Robin Barnhill) 
SAARA of Virginia and SAARA of Greater Roanoke Valley affiliate members were present at the On Our Own of Roanoke Valley Recovery is Real Conference. SAARA of Virginia provided a Voices of Recovery Presentation. Jeff McGhee shared with the audience, his experiences before addiction, during addiction, and life in recovery. SAARA of Virginia also led a "Ethics & Professionalism" workshop. Susan Shirley and Rhonda Deel, SAARA of Greater Roanoke Valley affiliate board member, participated in a panel discussion. 

Article ImageKathy Harkey and Becky Lanier met with Jacqulyn Katuin, Policy Advisor in the office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, to discuss the expungement of minor drug related felonies. To view SAARA's 2020 General Assembly Priorities and Research Initiatives, click HERE. Visit the SAARA website and learn how you can get involved.

When you shop Black Friday deals at, AmazonSmile donates to SAARA of Virginia! On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Your selection will be remembered, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation. You can use your existing Amazon account on AmazonSmile. For more information, click HERE.

Additions to SAARA Resource Library

Affiliates Corner
SAARA of Northern Virginia is expanding their advocacy efforts and reaching more people.
SAARA of Bay Counties was recognized for their Recovery Walk in the October edition of the Northcumberland Echo Newsletter. Click HERE to view article. In December, SAARA of Bay Counties members will be joining NAMI Tidewater, and the Middle Peninsula Northern Neck CSB at a conference to directly connect with over 20 churches in the community and advocate for Substance Use Disorder and Recovery. 
SAARA of the Peninsula 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 recently held their monthly meeting on November 21st. Ten people from Region 10, The Coalition for Mental Health and Wellness, and UVA Health Sciences joined SAARA members. All attendees showed interest in SAARA Charlottesville Advocacy efforts. The meeting served as a launching pad to newly formed partnerships.  
SAARA of Greater Roanoke Valley members participated in the Recovery is Real Conference held in Roanoke, Virginia. 
SAARA of Washington Counties continues to spread awareness on Substance Use Disorder and Recovery.
SAARA of Southside Hampton Roads continues to promote 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. 

Recovery is Possible!
"Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning, anyone can start over and make a new ending." -Chico Xavier

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 January 9th from 10am - 12noon.
To register for trainings click HERE and select your preferred training date. 

Have a Safe, Happy, and Sober Thanksgiving!
In observance of Thanksgiving, the SAARA office will be closed Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th.

Recovery is Possible!
The holidays can be stressful. For assistance, call Alive RVA at 1-833-473-3782.

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, Life Skills, Women’s Recovery, Men’s Recovery, Early Recovery, MARS Recovery, Addictive Thinking, Resource Time, Narcotics Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous.
View the SAARA calendar for group schedules.
Visit the SAARA website to learn more about our groups.

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.

Public Hearings
Public hearings will be held on the Governors Proposed Budget on Thursday, January 2, 2020. The times and locations will vary. Click HERE for more information. 

In the News

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
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
PRS Training in Nathalie
December 2nd - December 13th
Recovering Hands
4067 Beulah Road
Nathalie, VA 24577
Cost: $400
For more information, contact Mike Ellyson at
CPRS Supervisor Training in Charlottesville
December 11th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Region 10 CSB
500 Old Lynchburg Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Cost: Unknown - Contact Trainer
Click HERE for Registration Form 
Click HERE for Online Registration Instructions
PRS Training in Chesterfield
January 3rd - 25th
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Ascend Church
9624 Jefferson Davis Highway
Chesterfield, VA 23237
Cost: FREE
For more information, contact Heather Pate at (804) 608-9389 or
PRS Training in Norfolk
January 4th
Mystic Moon Community Center
3365 N. Military Highway
Norfolk, VA 23518
Cost: 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
Cost: 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
Cost: 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
Cost: Unknown - Contact Trainer
For more information, contact Jesse Wysocki at (804) 249-1845 or
PRS Training in Midlothian
January 8th - March 11th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: $600
For more information, contact (804) 304-9797 or
PRS Training in Hampton
January 13th - 25th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
300 Medical Drive
Hampton, VA 23666
Building 300, Seminar Room
Cost: Unknown
For more information, contact Renee Cox at (757) 345-8308 or
PRS Training in Warsaw
February 3rd - 12th
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Warsaw Bay Transit
111 Commerce Parkway
Conference Room
Warsaw, VA 22572
Cost: FREE
For more information, contact Barry Travis at (804) 210-1619. 

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

Job Opportunities
Substance Use Services Peer Support Case Manager
Goochland Powhatan Community Services is seeking a grant funded, Full Time Substance Use Services Peer Support Case Manager with firsthand knowledge of challenges faced by substance use and/or co-occurring disorders. This position will be responsible for providing a variety of services to those in the community, those accessing services, and/or participating in treatment services with Goochland Powhatan Community Services. For more information or to apply, click HERE
Peer Wellness Specialist
Arlington County's Department of Human Services (DHS) is hiring a Peer Wellness Specialist with lived experience with mental illness and/or substance use to assist in the Healthy Living Program under the Behavioral Healthcare Division (BHD). The Healthy Living Program provides a spectrum of health and wellness support services to Arlington County BHD clients who are experiencing serious mental illness and substance use issues. The Peer Specialist will support the Healthy Living Program via both administrative and direction service functions. For more information or 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
Karen Harris facilitates SAARA's All Recovery group every Monday morning at 11:00 AM. We appriciate everything you do Karen!

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

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