#RECO2022 Conference Program

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8:00 AM | Registration & Complimentary Breakfast

Location: Front Entrance & Dining Room

9:00 AM | Opening Remarks & Morning Keynote: Dr. Angelia Smith Wilson

Location: Main Auditorium


Breakout Session I

10:15 AM | Minor Adjustments: Leadership Keys!

Presented by Michael Mickey Williams Jr. (he/him), CADC, CPRS

Location: Cleveland Room #122

The Minor Adjustments Leadership presentation was created to teach addiction-focused professionals some new strategies that can be used to help strengthen skills they already possess, at the same time helping them realize and remember the reason why they got into the addiction field.

10:15 AM | Having Data Tell Your Story: The Benefits of Mixed-Methods Research


Presented by Reyna Maybloom (she/her) and Brittany Simon (she/her), MA  

Location: Wilson Room #123

Data stories help communicate key insights by combining statistics, visualization, and narrative to communicate key pieces of information to a broader audience. When presenting data to multiple populations including community, clinical, or stakeholder, it is important to ensure that data is understandable and relatable. This is especially important when working with substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and recovery programs and populations. SUD is complex and dynamic and both quantitative and qualitative research methods are required to better inform practice and analyze current trends. This presentation will discuss the importance of data storytelling and explain how to translate data into a narrative.

10:15 AM | The War on Drugs: 150 Years of Oppression & Community Devastation


Presented by John A. MacDonald (he/him), JD, MA, NCC, LPC  

Location: Wheelman Room #213

From the earliest days, drug policy and legislation have been infused with and instruments of racial and ethnic prejudice. The deliberate targeting of minority and non-conformist populations or communities over the decades will be revealed. The devastating and ever-increasing negative effects of drug policy and legislation will be demonstrated by recent statistical data. Using research on the causes of substance use disorders, the presentation will show how the various Wars on Drugs have exponentially increased substance use disorders to the point of becoming recognized as an epidemic, perhaps even a pandemic. The presentation is intended to provide the knowledge to help us positively influence public discussion of substance abuse policy, better advocate for a well-reasoned, pro-treatment, non-punitive public substance abuse policy.

10:15 AM | Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) For Addictions: Finding Freedom from Unwanted Patterns


Presented by Eve Ellsworth (she/her), CPRS, ALWF & Kelly Uhland (she/her) BA, CPRP, ALWF  

Location: Hart Room #116

WRAP® and WRAP® for Addictions has helped people in or seeking from Addictions and/or mental health concerns to: decrease and prevent intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviors; increase a sense of personal choice about how we live our lives; improve our quality of life; and achieve our life goals and dreams. Participants will learn how WRAP®, a personalized wellness and recovery system born out of and rooted in the principle of self-determination, is a self-care tool for PRSs, treatment professionals, and the people they support.

Having a WRAP® can help individuals to monitor uncomfortable/distressing feelings and behaviors, through planned responses (action plans) to reduce, modify, or eliminate those feelings. WRAP® is a tool that can be used on its own or with any other recovery program/ path of recovery. Participants will learn how PRSs and those they support can develop their own WRAP® by attending a Seminar 1 Workshop and the steps to become a Certified WRAP®, Facilitator by attending Seminar 2 WRAP® Co-Facilitator Training. Total abstinence is not required for WRAP®.

10:15 AM | Self-care and Healthy Boundaries: The Antidote to Burnout

Presented by Jenna Reidy (she/her), NCPRSS & Timothy Ryan (he/him), MA, CPRS

Location: Stockton Room #117

Maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health is vital for everyone, but it is particularly important for those working in the helping professions like peer work and social work for example. Practicing self-care and healthy boundary setting promotes and models growth and wellbeing, enhances relationships with those we work with, and is an antidote to burnout. How can we tell if we are experiencing long-term stress or burnout? How do we set healthy boundaries and speak up for what we need? Attendees will join the solution-based discussion on setting healthy boundaries, practicing daily self-care techniques, and identifying indicators of emotional stress that can lead to burnout.

11:15 AM | NJ-CARS Networking Session

Location: Main Dining Room

12:00 PM | Complimentary Lunch

Location: Dining Room

Breakout Session II

1:15 PM | The Intersection of Recovery and Harm Reduction: Revising the Substance Use Spectrum

Presented by Heather Ogden (she/her), CPRS, CRSP, CADCI

Location: Hart Room #116

Harm Reduction and Recovery are often viewed as separate areas of service when assisting people that use, or have used, substances. This workshop will discuss the importance of integrating Harm Reduction into Recovery. As peers, we are trained to meet people where they are. We can use our expertise and training to advocate for all touched by Substance Use, and expand the spectrum and the services provided.

1:15 PM | Sisters on the Block: Starting & Running Grassroots Community Organizations


Presented by Ruby Clark (she/her), Stephani Register (she/her) & Minister Valerie Seymoure (she/her)

Location: Cleveland Room #122

Given the many crucial issues facing nonprofit organizations and the people they serve, it is more important than ever for individuals to become more involved in the communities they serve. However, starting from scratch is not as easy as some may think that it is. It takes dedication and commitment and most important compassion. Addressing socio-economic needs from the ground up is noble but can also be gut wrenching. Find out how these women are on the cutting edge and learn about both how they begin their grassroots organization from the ground up and now how they are running them.

1:15 PM | Another Tool for the CPRS Toolbox: Addressing Public & Structural Stigma through Advocacy


Presented by Caroline Bailey (she/her) CPRS, Kelly LaBar (she/her) CPRS, & Stephanie Elias Sarabia (she/her) PhD, LCSW, LCADC

Location: Stockton Room #117

This presentation will provide an overview of the different types of stigma that impact people who use substances and review what Certified Peer Recovery Specialists already do to address them through experiential discussions. The presenters will then focus on public and structural stigma and how the dominant narrative which is overly focused on personal responsibility reinforces these types of stigma. The Structural Competency approach will then be presented as an option for Certified Peer Recovery Specialists to reduce stigma through advocacy. Examples from lived experience will be discussed.

1:15 PM | Integrating Self Care & Basic Meditation into Your Work Week

Presented by Carlita Singletary (she/her), NCPRSS

Location: Wilson Room #123

Participants will learn, strengthen, or increase their skill sets in integrating practical self-care, awareness, and basic meditation tools. In this workshop, our hope is to help foster self-care and give Peers an opportunity to see that helpers need help too. Through discussion, engagement, examples of tools, and suggested methods participants will gain knowledge of how important it is to take care of oneself while serving others. The presenter will engage participants through shared experiences, group activity, short video clip(s), and discussion.

2:15 PM | A Leaders Journey: Reflections After the Academy & Closing Remarks

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Panelists: Nicole Cappiello (she/her), Seante Yaqinah Cherry (she/her), Amy Hicks (she/her), and Tracy Taylor (she/her)

Location: Main Auditorium

Hear from our most recent NJ-CARS Leadership Academy graduates, who will share their experience & perspective on leadership, their role in the recovery ecosystem, and their vision for an equitable workforce. Conference closing remarks to follow.

3:15 PM | Faces of NJ-CARS: Free Professional Headshots

Location: Main Hallway by vending machines