Meet Us Monday: Ervin, REAL LIFE East
Up next for our #MeetUsMonday is Ervin Hart. He is a Peer Recovery Coach coming to us with over twenty-five years of experience in the field of addiction. Ervin serves as a Peer-to-Peer Specialist to our Lifers.
Ervin battled substance use disorder himself and has been clean for 28 years. With his own experience with addiction and long-term incarceration, he knows what it’s like to need support through recovery. As well as living in recovery, Ervin has family members in the field of social services, so he wanted to get involved himself, specifically for substance abuse recovery.
After getting sober and prior to his arrival to REAL LIFE, Ervin worked for seven years at HomeAgain Richmond as a Substance Abuse Counselor. Ervin also served as the Chair of Hospital and Institutions for a 12-step Program. Ervin and Dr. Scarbrough both worked in programs in the Richmond Jail. When he went to work in the community, he continued to volunteer and be involved. When REAL LIFE started in the community, he continued his volunteer service and remained connected.
When we began programming in Riverside Regional Jail, we were able to hire Ervin to deliver the program to the male inmates there. COVID shifted things, as they did for everyone, and we were no longer able to provide programming in the jail. However, we did open REAL LIFE East, where he now serves as a peer recovery coaching. Through this he engages in community outreach in the East End of Richmond, works one-on-one with those coming through that Center, leads groups and classes, picks people up from jail when needed, among many other things.
This work is not always easy, but we could not be luckier to have Ervin as a part of the REAL LIFE family. He is an integral part of our Lifers’ journeys, and we could not do the work here without him!