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The Recovery Community Center (RCC) at BUCM exists to inspire individuals facing substance use disorder and mental health challenges, particularly those in the homeless community. We emphasize healing, acceptance, and empowerment. Education, outreach, and group support are central to our mission, serving as the bedrock of our efforts. Through collaboration, we foster resilience, guiding individuals to reclaim their narratives with strength and dignity.

what is the rcc?

Recovery Community Centers are peer-operated centers that serve as local resources for community-based recovery support. People do not live at these centers, but rather, these resources can help individuals build recovery capital at the community level by providing advocacy training, recovery information, resource mobilization, peer-support organization meetings, social activities, and other community-based services.

who are peers?

Peer specialists in the substance use treatment field have lived experience of recovery from problematic substance use and special training to work with people seeking or in recovery. Many peer specialists are certified by state or national organizations. Peer specialists come from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, and they work or volunteer in many different settings.

How could a peer help you?

Your peer specialist may fill some or all of these roles when working with you:10,11

  • A role model for recovery and wellness

  • A connector who puts you in touch with other people in recovery to build your support network

  • A resource navigator who can link you to available services in the following areas:

    • Housing

    • Transportation

    • Child care

    • Health care

    • Employment

    • Education

    • Social services

    • Legal assistance

  • A coach who practices new behaviors and ways of thinking with you

  • A sounding board who gives you honest feedback

  • An advocate who stands up for you and shows you how to stand up for yourself

  • A cheerleader who celebrates your recovery accomplishments with you

Meet the RCC Director


Karen J Russell is a peer support specialist and veteran service member. Like her father, Karen joined the Army at age 17, having her mother sign for her to join. (Running away since the challenges and temptations kept coming). Karen moved to North Carolina in 1993, where she went to work at the DOC and other jobs leading to her recovery path 10 years later. In 2003, Karen began her recovery with her Higher Power and Native Shaman. Karen is now in sustained recovery from mental health challenges, depression, grief, and anxiety using self-directed recovery. Karen also has an Associate in Human Service, is a Reiki Master and Healing Touch apprentice, and is a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) Facilitator. 

Karen became a NC Peer Support in 2015, working one-on-one with peers and facilitating groups at Psychosocial Rehabilitation Facility, sharing her story and journey of recovery, working with a Shaman, practicing self-healing, and realizing that self-directed recovery does happen. When not working, Karen enjoys being with her family, gardening, camping, hiking, singing, and playing guitar. Karen contributes her sustained recovery to her spirituality, faith, family, and Hope, her certified therapy dog.   There is always Hope in Recovery!

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