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August 8, 2018

SpiritWorks Foundation offers addiction counseling

Video/Don Del Rosso
Video: SpiritWorks Foundation Executive Director Jan Brown explains the nonprofit’s history and its expansion to Warrenton.
We checked other communities they served and were impressed with what we heard.
— Deputy County Administrator Katie Heritage
SpiritWorks-Warrenton
• What: Peer-to-peer addiction recovery counseling center.
.
• Where: 30 John Marshall St., Warrenton.

• Provider/tenant: SpiritWorks Foundation, Williamsburg.

• Property owner: Fauquier County government.

• Office hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

• Center manager: Chris Connell.

• Website: spiritworksfoundation.org

• Facebook: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The circumstances seemed ideal for the Williamsburg-based addiction recovery foundation to establish a Warrenton office.

“The timing was right for us” to open a counseling center at 30 Marshall St. in downtown Warrenton, explained Rev. Jan M. Brown, founder and executive director of SpiritWorks Foundation. “This area is an example of how all the players work together.”

They include local government, social service groups, law enforcement agencies, churches and a range of nonprofits, added Rev. Brown, an ordained Episcopal minister.

“We’re all sitting at the table, recognizing the problems (of addiction) and working on solutions. I’ve done this work for many, many years. It’s unbelievable the way this community is addressing this issue.”

Founded in 2005, nonprofit SpiritWorks succeeds The McShin Foundation of Richmond, which opened an addiction recovery center at the Marshall Street office building last September.

McShin offered peer-to-peer counseling to recovering drug addicts and alcoholics at the center and to inmates in the county jail on nearby Lee Street.

But because of financial problems, McShin in May announced it would abandon the Warrenton operation three months later.

That led to a local effort to identify an organization to provide similar peer-to-peer services to recovering citizens, inmates and their families and friends. Community leaders in recent years have focused on solutions to the spike in opioid abuse and overdoses, which have killed dozens in Fauquier.

Earlier this summer, Deputy County Administrator Katie Heritage and a search group learned about SpiritWorks.

As a result, Ms. Heritage, former Warrenton Mayor Powell Duggan, PATH Foundation Senior Program Officer Andy Johnson and sheriff’s Capt. Ray Acors spent a day visiting SpiritWorks, which occupies two adjacent buildings in Williamsburg.

“We visited them and were very impressed,” Ms. Heritage recalled. “We checked other communities they served and were impressed with what we heard. They have a good reputation working with the CSB (community service board) down there.”

SpiritWorks took over the Warrenton office Aug. 1.

The foundation’s Williamsburg office employs two full-time workers, including Rev. Brown, and has about 25 volunteers.

The Warrenton office has one full-time worker — Manager Chris Connell — and three part-timers who staff the office and provide counseling.

Ms. Connell served as McShin’s Warrenton office manager.

Her decision to join SpiritWorks figured significantly into the foundation’s agreement to open a Warrenton center, Rev. Brown said.

“One of the conditions for us to come here is to have someone on the ground who knows the resources and is from this area,” she explained Monday in an interview at the foundation’s Warrenton office.

The Marshall Street property has commercial zoning, which allows counseling services by-right.

McShin sought special-permit approval from the town council to operate a 16-bed residential recovery facility. But, citing the zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan, the town council unanimously denied the application.

In doing so, it pledged to help find an alternative site for an overnight recovery center.

The council in June unanimously approved plans to allow a residential addiction recovery center in a county government-owned building on Hospital Hill.

Meanwhile, the county, town, PATH and others continue to look for organizations that would operate a residential recovery center at the 340 Hospital Drive building, Ms. Heritage said.

SpiritWorks has no residential recovery component to its counseling services.

The organization’s Williamsburg office provides addiction recovery services for adults, young adults and children.

For now, the Warrenton office will provide services to adults only, Rev. Brown said.

The foundation plans initially to spend about $10,000 to remodel the three-story, 4,500-square-foot Marshall Street building.

The organization’s budget for both the Williamsburg and Warrenton operations totals $250,000, Rev. Brown said.

“We do a lot with a little.”

The foundation relies largely on grants, but plans generate additional income through the sale of branded products — mugs, shirts, hats and the like — and fundraisers.

For example, it plans in September to hold a “Blue Jeans Ball” fundraiser at the Great Marsh estate near Bealeton to help fund the Warrenton office, Ms. Connell said.

Fauquier’s board of supervisors Thursday probably will approve an agreement to lease the 30 Marshall Street building to SpiritWorks.

The rent-free agreement requires SpiritWorks to pay for utilities and to maintain the building and property. 
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