Event to Recognize Community Peers to be Held Sept. 14

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Provided by Prince William County Communications Office

The upcoming Greater Prince William Peer of the Year Community event, hosted by Prince William Community Services, will highlight peers across the county who work with people living with substance use and mental health disorders.

The free event, scheduled from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14, will include networking opportunities, AcuDetox – a kind of acupuncture, raffles, meditation sessions, activities, therapy dogs and speakers who will talk about the work recovery peers do in the community. The event will be held on the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza at the McCoart Government Center, 1 County Complex Court in Woodbridge.

Grassroots, professional organizations and county agencies will be at the event to help make people aware of resources that are available for those who use substances and are challenged with mental illness.

“Since we have the tables available from different providers and collateral agencies that work within the community, people can go from table to table to get information and network with each other to find out what other agencies and programs do,” said LeNelle Mozell, Community Services behavioral health program manager.

People who attend the event and complete a short training session will receive free naloxone, the medication used to reverse overdose.  This naloxone is provided by the Virginia Department of Health and Behavioral Services and Prince William Community Services.

The work peers do can help Prince William County families better cope with the substance abuse and mental health issues they might face.

“We want people to be aware that peers exist and work in the community; and that peers are available for folks to talk to, and that family members can work with peers called family support partners. We want people to know that’s available in the community, and they don’t have to do it alone.  Peers are here. They’re doing great work every day, all the time. We have peers that go into the jail. We have peers that go to meetings with clients. We have peers in the office just so that people can reach out to them,” Mozell said.

The event, funded by a $2,500 matching grant from the Virginia Department of Health and Behavioral Services, will include free hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and sodas.

Speakers will include local peers Carlos Lopez and Lisa Bell, along with Fairfax-Falls Church Recovery Programs Manager Dianna Taylor. Neabsco District Supervisor Victor Angry will also give remarks; and County Executive Chris Shorter will give closing remarks.

For more information visit Year of the Peer – Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. See the event schedule here.

Community Services requests that people register here. Registration is not required.

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