Like so many people, I don’t have to look far to see the impact of substance abuse and addiction on our society. I’ve experienced substance abuse and addiction firsthand with family and friends, and I see its impacts on the streets of Richmond daily. Its one of the most visible scars in our community – so visible, we barely see it.
Fortunately, there are organizations like the the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance – called SAARA of Virginia for short.
SAARA of Virginia is what is called a peer-based, or consumer-based, organization – it exists for and is largely run by people who are recovering from addiction and substance abuse. The organization serves as a bit of an umbrella for a host of counseling and support programs around the state, and works hard to support these groups even as it advocates for changes in policy and legal areas.
We spent a couple of Saturdays this fall working with SAARA’s board as they began to focus on where they needed to go long-term. In addition to putting some clearer definition on SAARA’s purpose, we began mapping out some specific steps the organization could take to increase public awareness, strengthen its board and be more sustainable.