The LGBTQ Community Center of Southern Nevada is a ‘haven for all’ – a welcoming and celebratory space where diversity and empowerment run amok. In the spirit of authenticity, The Center strives to empower all people to live unapologetically, safely, and authentically. This is evident in their designation as the first-ever non-profit to be designated as a Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) under the Nevada Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative.
The RFW Initiative empowers employers to implement recovery-friendly practices within the workplace and provide support for employees in recovery or those impacted by substance use disorder (SUD). A RFW is a business that chooses to go above and beyond for its employees by creating a workplace culture that supports people in recovery from SUD, as well as all those impacted. Nevada’s statewide Recovery Community Organization Foundation for Recovery combined forces with The Center and the rest – as they say – is history.
“Both organizations work together to assist individuals who misuse substances and those vulnerable to overdose by providing and connecting people to harm reduction strategies, and supporting them in their pathway to recovery with peer support,” said Jeffrey Alvarez, the Linkages to Care Coordinator at The Center.
There are many benefits to becoming a RFW., and it can not only improve lives but save them.
“The best part is educating all staff members on harm reduction strategies like fentanyl test strips and Narcan, whether or not they identify as someone who misuses substances. We believe knowledge saves lives.” Alvarez explained.
Working in a space that offers strength-based recovery support is not only good for the bottom line, but also for the employees and customers. “As someone in recovery,” Alvarez said, “it ensures me that no matter what, I am supported in my recovery journey, which gives me the confidence to excel in my journey.”
There is no cost for a business or organization to become a designated RFW, and companies are supported and guided throughout the entire process. Workplaces of all sizes and readiness levels are encouraged to consider becoming a RFW and will benefit from participation in this initiative. Resources include customized training, a curated toolkit, materials, and ongoing support.
In addition, the Foundation for Recovery staff will ensure workplaces are well connected to community prevention and recovery support services to best support their employees. Business leaders will have the opportunity to engage in ongoing recovery-friendly culture practices and activities, and receive ongoing support from your very own Recovery Friendly Ambassador (RFA) and Foundation for Recovery.
“After becoming an RFW, the culture has shifted internally by individuals trusting their peers enough to share their substance misuse experiences more openly. Also, I was surprised by how easily the staff members grasped the concept of Harm Reduction,” Alvarez said.
The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) was inspired by the Friday Night Men’s Rap Group at the Community Counseling Center in the summer of 1992. By June of 1993 space was purchased on East Sahara Avenue and Articles of Incorporation were submitted to the State of Nevada. Upon approval, the first safe public space for the LGBTQIA+ community in Southern Nevada was born. The same year, the Nevada legislature repealed the state’s sodomy law and the Las Vegas gay community rallied to celebrate and dedicate its new Center on October 15, 1993.
The Center was recently recognized for its recovery-friendly initiatives at the 10th annual Black Monday award event hosted by There is No Hero in Heroin (TINHIH). Black Monday is a yearly event to celebrate recovery, where attendees can browse resources, get trained on Harm Reduction modalities, and remember & honor those who are no longer here. This year’s Key Speaker was Former Professional Skateboarder, Author, and person in recovery Brandon Novak. Way to go, The Center!
Is YOUR Nevada business Recovery Friendly? Do you want to learn more? The Center is there to help, along with Foundation for Recovery.
“About 70 percent of individuals who use substances or alcohol are employed, but because of stigma, not everyone identifies as some who misuses substances. So caring about your employees allows them to better care for others,” Alvarez said. Click here to get started. Become a Recovery Friendly Workplace today and help create a better Nevada.