WRA Elevate Recovery Advocacy: Engaging the Latinx Community


Grantee: Washington Recovery Alliance
Timeframe: January 2022 – December 2022 | Amount: $29,958

Through Elevate Recovery Advocacy, WA Recovery Alliance teaches community members how to tell their story in a way
that drives change. Through this project WRA proposes to expand the Elevate program to engage Latinx advocates, cross-training Early Support staff to create stronger outcomes for foster children and children with prenatal substance exposure.

WRA requests funding to expand Elevate Recovery Advocacy, our signature public policy and media engagement program. Elevate is the foundation of WRA’s recovery movement. Participants are people in recovery from mental health and/or substance use challenges, impacted family members, and frontline behavioral health providers and recovery organizations. Through day-long trainings, participants learn how to tell their recovery story in a way that drives change. They learn about the legislative process, gain skills for persuading policy makers, and learn how to work with the media. In the process, participants come to see themselves as someone who can take action to be part of the recovery movement. Post-training, participants continue involvement by joining a local coalition and participating in WRA events.

WRA’s Elevate program is the cornerstone of our advocacy work, successfully mobilizing those with lived experience to drive policy changes that improve access to behavioral health resources and ultimately improve health outcomes. Elevate participants have gone on to successfully advocate for policy changes such as HB 2642, which prohibits health carriers from requiring burdensome pre-authorization for inpatient care.

Despite disproportionate barriers to treatment for substance use and mental health challenges, Latinx communities are largely untapped when it comes to engagement in advocacy. There is a lack of culturally specific public awareness campaigns directed at the Latinx population regarding substance use and the possibility of recovery (SAMHSA).

Latinx community members frequently reach out to WRA for support navigating the substance use disorder system. They have expressed difficulty accessing crisis services due to language barriers, and a lack of cultural responsiveness in the crisis system. Latinx community advocates have powerful stories to share. WRA seeks to adapt and translate Elevate trainings to engage Latinx community members in shapinglegislation to address these issues.

WRA plans with PHPDA funding:

  • Adapt the Elevate curriculum and tailor it to engage Latinx communities.
  • Translate the Elevate curriculum into Spanish
  • Recruit and host training for three new Elevate trainers, with a focus on recruiting BIPOC trainers. Trainers will be trained in the Elevate curriculum, plus adaptations specific to Latinx communities.
  • Host at least two Elevate trainings in Spanish. Conduct extensive promotion of these events to the target communities, using creative mechanisms including social media targeting and partnership with relevant organizations.

To carry out this work, WRA will partner with Latinx community organizations. Partner organizations will help recruit trainers and inform training adaptation, planning, facilitation, and evaluation. Partners will also help promote trainings to their communities.

About Our Grantee

Washington Recovery Alliance

Washington Recovery Alliance advances mental health and substance use recovery by changing public understanding and shaping pro-recovery public policy. The WRA is a community-driven advocacy nonprofit, led by individuals in recovery from substance use disorders and mental health conditions, families impacted by behavioral health conditions, and community organizations.

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