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The SAARA Advocate
February 2020

Where We've Been
Advocacy Day 2020
SAARA of Virginia, NAMI Virginia, Mental Health America of Virginia, VOCAL and Voices for Virginia's Children voiced their support for policies and funding that benefit people living with mental illness and substance use disorder.
(Pictured: Jason Cox, Yvonne Capps, Kathy Harkey, Carrie Parnell, Kelsi Sober, Robyn Hantelman, & Jeff McGhee) 
Are you interested in advocating? Visit the SAARA website to learn more about SAARA's involvement in State Legislation and how you can get involved

Voices of Recovery Presentation at Centura College
Alive RVA Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, Jason Cox and SAARA of Virginia Communications & Development Specialist, Kelsi Sober visited Centura College to provide a Voices of Recovery presentation. 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. For more information on SAARA's Voices of Recovery training, please visit

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
Alive RVA Representative, Jonathan Lang, presented at the Henrico County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training. Jonathan provided Henrico County police and emergency responders with information on addiction prevention and recovery. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a community effort bringing together community members, first responders, and area stakeholders for the common goals of safety, understanding, and caring for the needs of those with Behavioral Health Disorders and their families. These community partners play a significant role in all aspects of Henrico County’s successful CIT program.

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SAARA's Resource Library
SAARA's Resource Library is currently under construction. Resources are being updated and the page is being redesigned to make finding useful information easier. If you have a resource you would like included in the SAARA Resource Library, please contact Kelsi Sober at 

SAARA's Blog
Recently published, the SAARA Blog features the lastest research and news surrounding Substance Use Disorder. To follow, please visit

Affiliates Corner
SAARA of Northern Virginia is actively involved in connecting with the community and spreading addiction awareness. 
SAARA of the Peninsula 3rd Annual Workshop Day is on March 21st from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board located at 300 Medical Dr., Hampton, VA 23666. The Ethics Governing the Peer Profession Workshop cost $50. To register, please email
SAARA of Central Virginia affiliate meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 PM at the North Campus, 1700 Front Street, Richmond, VA 23222.
SAARA of Charlottesville President, Sherri Cotten would like to share her Facebook Blog and YouTube Channel so individuals can see what a mother's journey through addiction and recovery looks like.
SAARA of Greater Roanoke Valley is expanding and their advocacy efforts are reaching more people. 
SAARA of Washington County is seeking to expand affiliate board membership. If you are interested in joining, please email
SAARA of Southside Hampton Roads in partnership with Safe Harbor Recovery Center, Recovery for Life, The Wellness Foundation, Peer Recovery Drop in Center, and Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is hosting Planting the Seeds of Change: Understanding and Responding to Substance Use Disorders. The event will take place on April 2nd from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Iron Horse Fellowship located at 414 S. Battlefield Blvd., Chesapeake, VA 23322. The free event is geared towards First Responders, Police, EMS/Fire, Emergency Room Professionals, Mental Health Providers, and Substance Use Disorder Providers. To register, click HERE
SAARA of Bay Counties continues to build partnerships and spread awareness on Substance Use Disorder.
SAARA of Danville meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00 PM, at 1322 Piney Forest Road, Danville, VA 24540. 
Would you like to start an affiliate in your region? Email us 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
March 6th, 2020
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 March 12th from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM.
To register for trainings click HERE and select your preferred training date. 

SAARA Recovery Groups
Peer-to-Peer recovery groups meet daily at the SAARA Center. Visit the SAARA website to learn more about our daily groups and review our schedule. 

Recovery is Possible!
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli

Volunteer of the Month
According to Chris Bates, attending the peer groups offered at the SAARA Center contribute to his recovery greatly. He is thankful for the support he receives from both the staff and peers. Chris is always positive and very helpful at the SAARA Center. Thank you Chris for all that you do!

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

Tell Your Story
Make your voice heard by sharing your recovery story and putting a face on Substance Use Disorder.
Would you like to share you story? Click HERE to download SAARA's Tell Your Story word document. Once completed, please email to Kelsi Sober at

Support SAARA
Your donations allow us to continue our advocacy work and offer daily Peer Recovery opportunities at the SAARA Center. There are several ways you can support SAARA. Click HERE, to learn how you can contribute. 

Alive RVA has received over, 4,356 unique calls since its inception. We continue to see great success with each caller! For more information visit the Alive RVA 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.

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
Ethics Governing the Peer Profession
March 21st
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board
300 Medical Drive
Hampton, VA 23666
Cost: $50
For more information or to register, contact SAARA of the Peninsula at
Recovery Coach Training
March 26th - 27th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: $180
The McShin Foundation
2300 Dumbarton Rd.
Richmond, VA 23228
For more information or to register, email
Planting the Seeds of Change: Understanding and Responding to Substance Use Disorders
April 2nd 
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM 
Iron Horse Fellowship 
414 S. Battlefield Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322.
Cost: FREE
To register, click HERE
From Research to Recovery 2020 Town Hall 
April 14th - 16th
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
James Branch Cabell Library
901 Park Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284
For more information or to register, click HERE.
Peer Recovery Specialist Training
PRS Training in Chesapeake
March 20th - April 18th
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Iron Horse Fellowship
414 S. Battlefield Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322
Cost: $500
To download application, click HERE.
For more information, contact Raymond Barnes at (804) 481-1577 or
PRS Training in Richmond
March 21st - May 23rd
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
VCU: Harris Hall
1015 Floyd Ave
Richmond, VA 23220
Cost: FREE
Registration Deadline: March 13th
To download application, click HERE.
For more information, contact Adam Anderson at (540) 303-1919 or
PRS Training in Richmond
March 27th - April 3rd
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Cost: $850
Registration Deadline: March 20th
For more information, contact Marjorie Yates at
PRS Training in Midlothian
April 4th - June 6th (Saturdays)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Bon Secour St. Francis Cancer Center
13710 St. Francis Blvd
Midlothian, VA 23114
Cost: $330
For more information, contact Jim Kochany at or (804) 304-9797.

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

Job Opportunities
Executive Director - SAARA of Virginia 
Resumes are presently being accepted for the position of Executive Director for SAARA of Virginia.  The Substance Abuse & Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia (SAARA-VA), a Richmond-based, state-wide, nonprofit, advocacy organization, seeks an energetic, highly organized professional candidate to provide executive, statewide and organizational leadership, and cultivation and support of local advocacy efforts throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The Executive Director reports directly to the SAARA Board of Directors, and leads a small team of staff and coordinates and supports the advocacy efforts of local SAARA Chapters and other small groups considering organizing as local Chapters. Encourages, solicits, supports and informs individual members and friends who also support the organization’s mission and vision. The Executive Director implements SAARA’s mission by educating the public and decision-makers about the nature and impact of addiction and substance use disorders, the importance of reducing the social stigma associated with addictive disorders, and the need for and importance of prevention, treatment and recovery from substance use disorders and greater acceptance and support for people in recovery from addictive disorders. For more information, click HERE. To apply, send resume to
Programs & Office Manager - SAARA of Virginia
The overall goal of this position is to strengthen, manage and expand the SAARA Center’s Peer Support Services and Programs. This position is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the SAARA Center and directly supervises the Peer Specialists, Recovery Coaches, and Volunteers. For more information, click HERE. To apply, send resume to
Peer Recovery Support Specialist - Alive RVA
The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority is seeking a qualified professional to 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 substance use and co-occurring behavioral health disorders and other health issues. Working alongside other Peer Specialists, the qualified person will operate the AliveRVA Warm Line to provide peer support services and resource referral, and to potentially provide peer support services in participating hospital emergency departments. For more information or to apply, click HERE
Peer Recovery Specialist - New River Valley Community Services
Provides person centered, wellness focused peer supports for individuals participating in the PACT/ICT program. Helps individuals develop and promote the use of a wellness recovery plan. Shares their first hand lived experiences with recovery to inspire hope, increase engagement in treatment and in their communities and support individuals in articulating personal goals for wellness, recovery resiliency and self–advocacy.  Provides direct PACT/ICT services as qualified. For more information, click HERETo apply, email resume to
Program Manager - The Healing Place for Women
The Healing Place, a proven peer driven, long-term residential recovery program has earned a reputation for success among some of the hardest populations to serve and is based on healthy connectivity with self, others and the God of their understanding. The Healing Place for Women Program Manager will boldly lead the long-awaited opening of The Healing Place for Women in Richmond, VA and is responsible for all aspects of program implementation and collaboration with the other programs of CARITAS and the community. This position works closely with The Healing Place for Men (established in 2005), to unfold this gender-specific, 120-bed facility. The Program Manager will recruit and develop a team of peer mentors and staff to assist in the day- to-day management and execution of the therapeutic community model with expectations that program outcomes will meet or surpass those established by The Healing Place for Men.  This position oversees directly or with dotted line responsibility three full time staff and 10 peer mentors. For more information, click HERE. To apply, contact Caritas at (804) 358-0964.
Peer Support Specialist - Western Regional Jail
The Western Virginia Regional Jail is seeking applicants for a full-time Peer Support Specialist/Advocate and/or Case Manager to implement the Virginia DCJS Jail Mental Health Pilot Program. For more information, click HERE. To apply, visit
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist - Magellan Health
We are seeking a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist who lives in the Richmond area. This position will work remotely but will require travel to cover the Central region of Virginia which consists of the counties between Stafford, Cumberland, Mecklenburg, Southhampton, New Kent and Westmoreland. For more information or to apply, click HERE
Click HERE to view employment opportunities at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).

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