Southern Oklahoma Addictions Recovery is a therapeutic work program for men who have been convicted of drug and alcohol offenses. We work with courts in central and southern Oklahoma to place people in jobs rather than in jail or prison. The program emphasizes personal responsibility and strict accountability as well as sobriety. It's the only one of its kind in the region.
Before SOAR was founded in 2008, courts had no choice but to send nonviolent drug and alcohol offenders to prison. After officials in Pontotoc County expressed concern about the situation, Ada businessman Duane Murray began organizing the long-term rehabilitation program. Today, nearly two-thirds of SOAR's clients graduate and return to their communities as sober, productive citizens.
SOAR has a nine-member board of directors, two full-time and two part-time staff members, as well as a number of volunteers. We serve about 40 clients each year, most of whom spend six months at the facility.
Most of our clients are referred by courts in Southern Oklahoma. Upon entering the program they are placed in jobs with area employers. They are expected not only to work but to attend regular 12-step meetings and church services. Abstinence is strictly monitored. To meet a growing demand, SOAR expanded in 2013, moving to a new facility with beds for more than 20 clients.
SOAR doesn't receive any taxpayer money. Our costs are paid by donors and by our clients themselves, who earn their way through the program by working at jobs in the community.
SOAR couldn't exist without the support of companies, organizations and individuals in our community, and we return that support in a number of ways. In addition to their paying jobs, our clients do community service projects such as painting, cleaning and other work at area schools and homes for the elderly. They assist at local food banks, and help needy families who are unable to pay for needed services.
In return, SOAR receives community support in the form of donations, which include used clothing, surplus food, vehicles and work equipment. In 2013, individual community members contributed a total of $50,000 to meet the budget for remodeling our new facility on North Oak Avenue in Ada. SOAR is also applying for grants from foundations and companies.