Tarusa Stewart has been a woman in long-term recovery since 2002. She began working in the Behavioral Health field in 2010. Tarusa has aligned her work around the Peer Workforce Model. In February 2015, Ms. Stewart developed and facilitated the engagement of her community through focus groups in three counties in Georgia. These activities led to the development of the Recovery Symposium in Houston County, GA, to bring community solutions and extend the peer workforce movement and fostered collaborations that led to the creation of iHOPE Inc., a 501c (3) recovery community organization in Warner Robins, GA, serving Middle Georgia. iHOPE is an acronym for Intentional Holistic Opportunities to Promote Empowerment.
From 2017-2020 Mrs. Stewart’s organization was designated as a subcontractor for the Building Community of Recovery (BCOR) Grant. As part of the steering team, she focused on community partnerships, asset-based community development training, and implementation, and constructing collaboration utilizing the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory (Wilder Inventory) to measure the outcomes. Mrs. Stewart delivered community workshops that promote recovery while enhancing recovery-oriented systems of care; and providing technical assistance to four emerging recovery community organizations.
As a Certified Peer Specialist in addiction and mental health, a Forensic Peer Mentor, a Certified Addiction Counselor, a skilled facilitator in the science of addiction and recovery, Cultural Competency, and a Black woman, she supports others in recovery by living her recovery out loud to empower other recovery leaders in the rural community of Georgia. Ms. Stewart is proud to be part of a broad recovery community collaborative that developed and hosted twelve National Recovery Month events to increase awareness of peer recovery services. Mrs. Stewart is skilled at building and maintaining relationships with researchers, advocates, and peers. Tarusa Stewart, the Founder and Executive Director of iHOPE, the Advisory Team, and the Board of Directors continue the recovery movement by building peer/ally leadership and recovery partnerships that help keep people well in our communities.