Mary Jo McMillen, Executive Director
Mary Jo has been in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction since September 16, 1985. She is a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor with 28 years experience. In 2006, she participated in a grass-roots group effort to establish USARA as a non-profit organization and was a founding board member.
In 2010 Mary Jo was hired as Executive Director and has been instrumental in the development of USARA’s leadership in collaboration with other national Recovery Community Organizations. She currently serves on several councils and committees in Utah advocating for needed services, funding and policies that impact people with substance use disorders. She completed the University of Utah Counselor Certificate training in 1988 and was staff for the U of U’s Annual School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies from 2003 to 2011. She just recently joined the Advisory Board for the Central Rockies Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC).
Mary Jo is passionate about building partnerships to grow the recovery community in Utah and nationally. She is proud to say that her greatest gifts have been a life in recovery and the love and support she receives from her family, many friends, peers and colleagues to be of service.
Javier Alegre, Development and Communications Director
Samantha Easthope, Recovery Coach, Addiction Recovery Management (ARM)
Sam has over twenty years in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Her recovery has included giving back to populations with similar life experiences. She’s volunteered and worked with the homeless population, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Sam has worked as a Domestic Violence Shelter Advocate Director, Program Director for Victim Services, and an Assistant Coordinator for the statewide domestic violence hotline.
Sam is nationally credentialed as an advocate with domestic violence and sexual assault emphasis. She is also a national Certified Crisis Response team member, which responds to major catastrophic events within the United States to provide crisis intervention to those exposed to the emotional and psychological trauma of the event. With a deep understanding of trauma and her own lived experience with addiction it was a natural fit for her to come full circle and back to her passion for addiction recovery.Sam is married and her blended family consists of 9 children, 10 grand kids, 2 German Shepherds and a cat named Rex.
Becca Brown, Recovery Coach, Addiction Recovery Management (ARM)
Becca is a women in recovery from alcohol & drug addiction, with over 6 years of active long term recovery. She credits her success in recovery to the mentors within 12 Step Recovery groups, which empowered her to achieve a life she never dreamed possible. As a result, she now dedicates her life to giving back to the recovery community. Becca is also a proud mother of two incredible children. Having her children by her side throughout her recovery has been a steadfast anchor for her.
Becca and her children now provide service to other parents and children in Recovery, by organizing activities for children at Recovery events, and providing childcare for parent date nights. Building friendships and bonds in Recovery has been especially meaningful to her. The people who she has encountered throughout her journey have become life-long friends that feel more like a family. Becca also met the love of her life in Recovery. It has been especially rewarding for them to share their journey of recovery, and work together to build a family. They also strive to motivate and empower one another, as well as serve the same organizations that made it possible for them to find Recovery.
Professionally, Becca built a career in vocational development and life skills coaching, specializing in dual diagnosis clientele with significant life and vocational barriers. Becca served clientele in this capacity for over 10 years, and was well respected within the agencies she served. She holds many vocational certifications, and is gradually working towards her goal of obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree. She is honored to now serve as one of USARA’s Peer Recovery Coach’s through the Addiction Recovery Management Program, where she can utilize her skill set to serve and advocate for the Recovery Community of Utah.
Trevor Cook, Recovery Coach, Addiction Recovery Management (ARM)
Trevor Cook is in long-term recovery from alcohol addiction and his sobriety date is January 5th 2013. Trevor is a certified Peer Support Specialist, CRAFT Interventionist, and SMART Recovery Trainer. He’s passionate about helping others, supporting the peer recovery movement and the development of peer support services throughout the state of Utah. Trevor is a full time single dad of three kids, and is active in a 12 step program. Outside of his work for USARA and Utah’s recovery community, Trevor is a chef and dreams of one day owning his own food truck, which he will name ‘Too Fat too Fly’.
Tara Wilder, Recovery Coach, Addiction Recovery Management (ARM) (Moab, UT)
Tara is celebrating 3 years of long term recovery as of January 24th, 2015. She is a proud graduate of Grand County’s Felony Drug Court on 10/19/2013. On the 1 year anniversary of graduating Drug Court, she ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) in Moab called “The Other Half” and raised over $700 for Grand County’s Felony Drug Court program.
Tara is a proud mother of 2 boys ages 21 and 10. In addition to being very active in her recovery community Tara’s favorite past time is watching her son play sports. Her youngest is an incredible athlete with All-Star ratings in baseball and played his second year of tackle football last year as a Quarter Back. Her oldest son is a track star at his former high school with a school record held for 4 years of which she is extremely proud.
She has a wonderful husband that supports her in all that she does. He has been incredible through her journey of recovery, growth and change. The support that her family has provided for her life in long term recovery is something that she reflects on daily. She is also the proud mother of 2 bulldogs; Buster (Blah Blah) and Moose. They bring so much love, humor and affection to her family and she loves them like children.
Ali Shelley, Recovery Leadershp Initiative (RLI) Program Director
Ali is currently a Family Resource Facilitator for the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, and is housed at USARA (Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness). In addition to her work with USARA, Ali is a Youth Advocate at the Volunteers of America’s Young Women’s Transition Home where she works with at-risk teenagers who have been homeless to assist them in their pursuit of self-sufficiency and education. As a volunteer, Ali mentors women exiting the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, as they navigate the transition back to society, and learn how to create a brighter future for themselves.
Ali is currently a student at the University of Utah’s College of Social Work, where she has completed 3 semesters so far. Her plan is to finish her bachelor’s degree and SUDC (Substance Use Disorder Counselor) program, then continue into a master’s program. Her personal motivation is derived from strong relationships she has built with her family and in the community during her four years of sobriety, as well as her desire to be an example for her children that all dreams are possible.
Ali is a passionate and active member of the recovery community, with an inextinguishable motivation for helping others. She is a graduate of Felony Drug Court (2009) and remains an active member of their alumni association, in conjunction with Stepping Stones to Recovery and the Friends of Drug Court (FODC) Non-profit Organization. She is a proud and active member of FODC’s Board of Directors.