2024 Hope Ambassadors

Meet the 2024 Hope Ambassadors

There are many forms of recovery, and there are many people who play key roles in making it possible. The Hope Ambassadors program highlights stories of recovery from individuals with personal experience and those who have impacted the journey of others. See their stories below!

Arik Avaneszadeh

Owner of Omnia Recovery Treatment Center

"In my nearly three decades of continuous recovery, I've reached countless addicts, guiding them back to life. Initially through personal 12-step sponsorship, then through Omnia Recovery, blending community-driven care with evidence-based therapies. I'm here to share my journey, showing that while there's no one-size-fits-all solution for addiction, miracles happen with willingness and genuine relationships."

Brandon Conlin

Director of Peer Support Services, Addiction Recovery Care
Director of Ky Affiliate, NPRA

"I learned that as much as sharing my lived experience can help my peers; the opportunity, resources, and space to create their own experience is what was needed. I still sponsor people, and work with people we serve, but today I get to work with other Peer Support Specialists on a daily basis. Empowering, educating, and supporting other Peers in this workforce. That is my passion today."

Samantha Dowden

Peer Support Coordinator

"I promised myself if I could get sober that I would carry that message to others, as well. I have been given a second chance as a daughter, mother, sister, employee and student in recovery and I just want to share with others that there is an amazing life after addiction. I have seen the devastation of addiction from many perspectives and I have seen how recovery can heal whole families."

Willie Pearl Evans

Overdose Prevention Administrator

"By sharing my recovery journey, I champion equitable access to public health resources, treatment, and peer recovery services for all Minnesotans."

Shannon Hall


"I want to be able to be that light in somebody's darkness, be that hope they need, and to show others that God still preforms miracles. It I can do it, anyone can do it."

Christina Sargent


"I want to share hope with the ones struggling to find a way out of darkness like I was shown at my lowest point. I can be a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on. We were all created with a purpose and the struggles or obstacles I had faced has been overcome by the love of Jesus. Helping others find the light and solution to problems is why I strive for recovery. I have personally lost many people to addiction so being the voice for the ones who lost their voice is my motivation for recovery today."

Adam Larkin

CEO Gitt Apparel 

"I motivate and encourage others through a healthy lifestyle! Everyday...Inspire to be Better! As an American entrepreneur from Saratoga Springs, NY, I've been featured in CEO Weekly, the Los Angeles Wire, New York Weekly, US Insider, US Reporter, and Recovery Today Magazine. I promoted Gitt Apparel during an 11-day Northeast tour over Christmas, and I've edited videos featured on Times Square billboards in NYC. Additionally, Governor Andy Beshear conferred upon me the prestigious title of Kentucky Colonel, recognizing my remarkable achievements and service to the community, state, and nation. I do not say these things to boast, I want to show the world what recovery has done for me!"

Rachel Loveday

Clinical Services Coordinator, LCSW, LADAC II, CPRS

"I had lost hope in myself in my active substance use and had resigned to living a life of misery. There were multiple people in my life that had hope for me and believed me and I believe now that is what carried me through to where I am today.  I lost everything in my active substance use, including a home, marriage, vehicles, dignity and self-respect and my career as a social worker.  Once I began treatment and joining a 12-step program, I found out that there was hope for me and I worked one day at a time to begin my journey in recovery. I want other people to know that they can come back from anything; they can turn their life around and accomplish things they never thought possible. I want to give that hope that was so freely given to me." 

Aisian Lucas

Lead Liaison 

"I think it's important to share hope for others that are struggling. Having lived a life that was hopeless while in active addiction, hope from others is the only reason I continued to press forward. I just want to be able to help someone, no matter in which way."

Kevin Lyttle


"I want show people struggling that change is possible. I was in addiction for over 30 years and I'm now 3 yeas clean."

Joshua Maggard

Case Manager, New Day Recovery Center

"I have a strong passion for helping and seeing addicts just like myself, and I want to help change their lives."

Pete Nielsen

CEO/ Addiction Treatment, Prevention, Recovery and Harm Reduction Advocacy

"Through my on person challenges with addiction I want emphasizes that individuals in recovery and their support systems can be change agents in our communities, ensuring a stronger recovery capital. It is critical that people experiencing substance use receive the support they need. The reality is that substance use recovery is essential to overall health, prevention does work, treatment is effective, and people do recover."

Jessica Stanley

Overdose Prevention Specialist 

"I'm a mother in recovery who used drugs while pregnant with my first child. I came into recovery when he was one and never thought I would live to be a mother. Today, I am a mother, harm reduction advocate, in long term recovery and a social media influencer. I want people to know that recovery is possible, and it is happening every single day in our communities!"

Hear More Stories of Hope in Atlanta