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Issue 1 | July 2023

It's a great day at the WRA!

We are pleased to present the latest edition of our quarterly newsletter. We hope you find this issue informative and engaging, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future content. Thank you for your continued support and for being a part of Washington's recovery community.

 

Meet the New WRA Leadership Team

In the last quarter, we made some significant changes to the WRA staff leadership team by adding Monika Whitfield as Executive Director and promoting the former Program and Events Manager, Tristan Seikel, to the role of Director of Advocacy and Programs. Monika and Tristan join WRA veterans Lauren Davis and Heather Venegas to embark on the organization's next stage of growth. It is our pleasure to introduce the new WRA leadership team:

Lauren Davis


“Our strongest asset at the WRA is the power of our recovery community. People in recovery are my greatest teachers and I count many among my closest friends. How blessed am I to be able to walk alongside these everyday heroes to advance the banner of recovery for all!”

 

Tristan Seikel

Director, Advocacy & Programs tristan@washingtonrecoveryalliance.org

“I love what I do at the WRA because it has allowed me the opportunity to help my community discover their own liberatory voice while also coming together to achieve our shared vision of making recovery accessible for all. I feel so honored that I get to meet fellow community members and guide them in realizing the immense power they hold.”

 

Heather Venegas

Director, King County Recovery Coalition heather@kcrecovery.org

“On June 1, I celebrated five years as the Director of King County Recovery Coalition. I have been known to say working for the WRA is the best job I've ever had, and it's true. I am a woman in long term recovery (29 years drug and alcohol free). My work here allows me to serve our community on a daily basis helping to make recovery possible for everyone, reducing stigma and spreading hope and awareness that with the right services and support at the right time, we can and DO recover!”

 

Monika Whitfield


“I am so very appreciative of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry out and expand upon the vital work being done in a space that has intimately affected my life profoundly. With great care, gratitude and responsibility, I endeavor to meet and work with the WRA community as we journey toward a world where recovery is a reality for all.”

 

Growing Together - WRA’s Team is Increasing

We have some new additions to the WRA team of staff and interns. Please join us in greeting our new team members with a warm welcome. Jake Kunin, Data and Compliance Manager E.V. Velez, University of Washington, MSW Practicum Intern April Mazur, University of Washington, MSW Practicum Intern Jessica Garduno, Arizona State University, MSW Practicum Intern


 

Join the WRA Team!

Do you have lived experience or a passion for recovery?

Consider joining the WRA team. We are searching for the following three roles:

Program & Events Assistant (Apply today on Idealist)

Project Coordinator, BCOR

Photographer, Contractor

Interested in applying? Contact Monika Whitfield for more information.


 

New site, same great work

With all the changes that have been happening at WRA, it was time to give the website a much-needed update. Visit the new website to stay informed on WRA news, volunteer opportunities, events and more.




More in the pipeline:

Coming soon, we'll launch our expanded membership program to qualified individuals and organizations, including schools, government agencies, community development programs and businesses to help increase connection across our statewide network. Also in 2023, we are delivering the following:

  • A new, easy-to-use member resource portal

  • Our first mobile application that provides member resources on the go

  • Additional tools and programs to support new members and growing programs

As you can see, 2023-2024 is a pivotal time for the WRA. Thanks to our thriving partnerships with community members, sponsors and supporters, our movement to make recovery a reality for all continues to grow. With these changes and initiatives, we are laser-focused on growing our member base and community partnerships while developing essential resources and services. As these exciting changes come to life, we look forward to sharing them with you.

 

Always with us, Ricky Klausmeyer-Garcia

As many of you know, last quarter we lost one of our greatest Recovery Champions, Ricky Klausmeyer-Garcia. Ricky was a huge part of the work of building the WRA and he will be dearly missed.

We invite you to read the Seattle Times' obituary honoring Ricky's life and his advocacy within the recovery community.


 

Congratulations Joshua Wallace! 2023 Recovery Champion Award Winner


On June 7, we held our annual Voices of Recovery Summit, and every year during the event, we honor a force within the recovery community with Washington Recovery Alliance's Recovery Champion Award. This year's winner is Joshua Wallace, CEO & President of Peer Washington. We took a moment to connect with Joshua to catch up and see what's on the horizon. WRA: What does this award mean to you? JW: I'm truly honored to receive this award. Recovery is a community endeavor. I stand among so many courageous and compassionate people breaking down barriers every day that serve only to keep people sick. This award means to me that we are continuing to make a difference together and will serve as a reminder that I am grateful for my life today because I get to be a part of that community striving for change. WRA: Can you share a little bit about what is in the horizon? JW: Intentional growth, both personally and professionally. Personally, that means engaging each day without succumbing to fear and learning what it has to teach me. For Peer Washington, it means recognizing that there is an unmet need for peer services just about everywhere you look. We constantly strive to recognize and develop opportunities for peer services where the need and the opportunity both present themselves. Sometimes that work is for us and sometimes it's work for another person or organization that we can mend some assistance to. On the horizon now is a partnership with a large city to redesign their approach to addressing the behavioral health needs of their city by centering their efforts on community-based peer support as the hub and building out their service structure from there. If successful, I believe we will be pioneering a radically different approach to real community-centered care. WRA: Any other messages you would like to share with the WRA community? JW: I cannot possibly stress the value and importance of "We" enough. We, as peers and professionals working in behavioral health are making some significant strides improving our systems of care, but we lack the unity and solidarity necessary to be an undeniable force for change. We don't have to agree on everything, and I think it would be dangerous if we did. However, we do need to support and encourage civil discourse, unification, and consistency in our messaging as a community if we are to continue building on our hard-fought efforts for change to a system and society to become more competent in the provision of trauma informed behavioral health services. Congratulations, Joshua on your well-deserved win. We look forward to your future contributions in the recovery space. Interested in nominating someone you know for next year's Recovery Champion Award? Contact Tristan Seikel to find out how.

 

Community News


A Recovery Cafe for the North Sound Introducing Recovery Café Skagit

New to the Washington recovery community, Recovery Café Skagit celebrated its grand opening on May 22 to provide radical hospitality, peer services, and other offerings for North Sound communities.


An estimated 65 people were in attendance at the Mount Vernon-based event, featuring several notable supporters, including all three county commissioners, Ron Wesen Disctrict 1, Peter Browning District 2 and Lisa Janicki District 3. The Mayor of Mount Vernon, Jill Boudreau, and numerous non-profit and social service agency directors participated in the momentous occasion.

Alan Muia, WRA Board Officer and Executive Director of New Earth Recovery (Recovery Skagit's fiscal sponsor), was also present at the event and able to provide some thoughts on why recovery cafés are crucial to the community.


"We say all the time that the opposite of addiction is connection. But there are fewer places for people to connect, much less people in recovery. So a space that isn't programmed, that isn't like a recovery meeting, per se, that's just a place for people to form relationships, to try on new skills, new experiences, and to have a context to connect to form new relationships, we're trying to provide that," said Muia.


The new gathering space is now open five days a week from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and can serve 40 people at a time. Managing the Café is Executive Director, David Jefferson, a long-time recovery advocate and public health champion.


"The Recovery Café Skagit is proud to be another helpful node in the diverse and committed recovery network. People get a chance to make the café their place to build community, learn about life and seek their sense of purpose. The Recovery Café Skagit will feed your soul, feed your belly and put a smile on your face," Jefferson shared.


If you would like to learn more or contribute to Recovery Café Skagit, please visit: https://www.rcskagit.org

 

Free Training Available

University of Washington's Northwest ATTC

Are you looking to learn more about successful treatments and paths to recovery? The Northwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center (Northwest ATTC) provides a range of educational and consultative services aimed at strengthening the workforce who work with people with substance use challenges and those who are in recovery.

Located at the University of Washington, the Northwest ATTC seeks to accelerate implementation of evidence-based practices by agencies through the 'transfer' of these practices. The center does this by offering training and technical assistance to the behavioral health workforce in the four states it serves which include: Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. Among the free resources you can learn from, the Northwest ATTC offers a monthly webinar series, enhances workforce knowledge and skills via online and in-person trainings, and supports organizational change efforts via collaboration on intensive technical assistance projects.


If you are interested to learn more about the Northwest ATTC and its free-of-charge training, visit their website at: https://attcnetwork.org/centers/content/northwest-attc


You can also sign up to receive their weekly e-newsletter that lists upcoming trainings and resources. Send an email to: nwattc@uw.edu


In addition, if you would like to propose training or technical assistance for this coming fall or year for your agency or program, please contact the Northwest ATTC's liaison and Technology Transfer Specialist for Washington State, Laura Cooley (she/her) at: lcooley1@uw.edu


 

Community Events



FREE 18-Hour Training: Harm Reduction for the Peer Workforce

This is a FREE 18-hour (over 3 days) training on Harm Reduction for the Peer Workforce to be held at the Recovery Café Seattle (SODO location), July 12-14. Interested participants can register here.



 

H.A.P.S. Recovery at the Omak Stampede

If you are in Okanogan County and planning to attend the World Famous Omak Stampede August 10-13, be sure to stop by the H.A.P.S. Recovery table and say hello to WRA Board Officer, Jerri Stanley. For more information on H.A.P.S. Recovery, you can visit them on the web at https://www.hapsrecovery.org

 

WRA and KCRC Celebrate Recovery Day at the Mariners

You are invited to join the King County Recovery Coalition, Washington Recovery Alliance and the recovery community as we gather to celebrate recovery Sunday, August 27, 2023 at T-Mobile Park. Register today!

 

Coming Soon: KCRC Presents King County Recovery Conversations

Join the Director of the King County Recovery Coalition, Heather Venegas, as she hosts a podcast sharing conversations of personal experiences, resources, and supports available for those seeking to overcome substance use and mental health challenges.


For questions or to participate in the podcast, please contact Heather Venegas heather@kcrecovery.org

 

Benton Franklin Recovery Coalition Walk-Run-Race 5k

Lace-up your sneakers and get ready to walk-run-race for the Benton Franklin Recovery Coalition at their upcoming 5k walk September 16, at 9:00 am in Pasco, WA.


Whether you're a seasoned runner or a casual walker, this event is open to all ages and fitness levels. So gather your friends and family, and let's take a step towards a brighter future for those struggling with addiction and mental health challenges.


 

WRA Hearts & Minds 5K Run, Walk, & Gather Postponed

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the October 21, 2023, WRA Hearts & Minds 5K Run, Walk, & Gather event due to unforeseen circumstances. We truly appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our next community event. Rest assured that we will be processing ticket refunds within the next two weeks. Again, thank you for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions, please reach out to Monika Whitfield.

 

SAMHSA 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

New additions to the partner tool kit recently released

Remember to share widely; 988 is a free resource designed to save lives. Access your partner toolkit materials here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988


No matter why you need support, the #988Lifeline is there for you. 988 provides free, confidential #MentalHealth support anytime — day or night. Call or text: 988. Chat: 988lifeline.org.

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