Beckley, W.Va. (Feb. 3, 2023) – West Virginia Hive partner, Seed Sower, Inc., is creating southern West Virginia’s Recovery Community Organization (RCO) and holding the first of three community listening sessions at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 on the third floor of the Fruits of Labor Café, 313 Neville Street. Snacks and beverages will be available.
Jay Phillips, executive director of Seed Sower, is encouraging attendance from those needing recovery, working in recovery, wanting to work in recovery, as well as those who support the effort. “It is essential that we begin our work as an RCO by listening and learning to those in the recovery community as to how we can best customize programs needed in our region,” said Phillips.
Seed Sower has been a founding partner in the Communities of Healing program that is helping those in recovery find a path to employment. Seed Sower has also secured funding for housing for those in recovery, and the RCO designation adds to its mission.
The Communities of Healing program was funded in 2020 by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The innovative program is designed on the success of Fruits of Labor, a culinary program that has worked for nine years with those in recovery and 20 years in business. The successful Communities of Healing program includes a partnership group consisting of Fruits of Labor, Region 4 Planning and Development Council, Seed Sower, Inc., Wright Venture Services, Region 1 Workforce Development Board, and WV Hive.
Non-profit Seed Sower is one of seven Recovery Community Organizations in West Virginia (the others are in Huntington, Charleston, or north of the state capital). The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Behavioral Health is conducting a statewide initiative to explore the use of RCOs and selected Seed Sower for the Beckley and southern region.
An RCO is an independent, nonprofit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. Seed Sower’s RCO Advisory Board consists of three local leaders in recovery and two community members not in recovery (60% of the board is in long-term recovery).
According to the Association of Recovery Community Organizations, the mission of an RCO is to:
- conduct ongoing local recovery support needs assessment surveys or focus groups,
- organize recovery-focused policy and advocacy activities
- increase recovery workforce capacity and expertise through training and education
- carry out recovery-focused outreach programs to engage people seeking recovery, in recovery, or in need of recovery-focused support services or events to educate and raise public awareness
- conduct recovery-focused public and professional education events
- provide peer recovery support services
- support the development of recovery support institutions (e.g., education-based recovery support programs, recovery community centers, recovery cafes, recovery ministries, recovery-focused employment programs, recovery-focused prison reentry programs)
- host local; regional, or national recovery celebration events
- collaborate on the integration of recovery-focused activities within local prevention, harm reduction, early intervention, and treatment initiatives
Some of the services Seed Sower will include:
- Peer Recovery Support Services
- Recovery based classes and education events
- Social services coordination assistance (housing, transportation, assistance programs)
- Outbound telephone recovery support (telephone check-ins by request)
- Advocacy for evidence-based recovery approaches
- Recovery planning and mapping utilizing the Recovery Capital system
- Community engagement and events
- Stigma reduction initiatives