New OBX wellness program ‘The Life Skills Series,’ designed for recovery community

By on September 28, 2022

Program creators and facilitators Jen Yang and Louisa Farr.

There’s a new wellness program coming to the Outer Banks this October — one that is focused specifically on the area’s recovery community. Funded through a grant from The Outer Banks Community Foundation and sponsored by the Saving Lives Task Force, “The Life Skills Series: Steps for Sustained Recovery,” is the first of its kind in the area.

The program’s creators and facilitators, local occupational therapist Louisa Farr and local nurse coach Jen Yang, believe the principles of wellness and self-care are especially important for the recovery community. The series of programs are presented free of charge.

Offering a series of eight activity- and education-based workshops beginning on Oct. 4 — and focusing on topics such as nutrition, stress management, self-care, finances, healthy relationships, and pain management, to name of a few — this series isn’t about lecturing people on getting their four to five servings of fruits and veggies a day.

According to Farr, learning these healthy habits is actually much more crucial to sobriety than some may think.

“Statistically, a lot of people relapse when there’s a lot of stress in their life, so they might be a few months sober. But then they lose their job, and they just don’t know how to deal with it – and then they start using drugs again, she said. “So they don’t necessarily have the coping skills to rely on to get through that.”

Farr spent a year researching this topic for a class project in her Occupational Therapy Masters program in which she and her classmates were assigned to create the pilot for this program for a sober living facility in New Jersey. They researched and planned the program and recorded and analyzed the participants progress and results.

“So I feel confident in the program in that it’s completely evidence-based,” says Farr.

When she joined with Yang to bring the series to the Outer Banks, they updated and tweaked the content with Yang’s expertise in holistic wellness, which focuses on treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors rather than just the symptoms of a disease.

When asked how she wants participants to feel when they leave the workshops, Yang said “I want people to leave the workshops knowing they have a toolbelt of resources to get through any situation.” Yang and Farr will incorporate some fun and games into the program. For their first workshop of the series, on Oct. 4, they will be playing a nutrition-themed version of Jeopardy.

The two women say they’ve had many supporters helping them along the way in the year-long process of planning the program and acquiring funding. When applying for the grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation, they learned that in order to qualify, they had to become an official non-profit organization. Foundation President and CEO Chris Sawin told them not to give up and encouraged Farr and Yang to find a local non-profit that would sponsor them.

“Our grants committee was enthusiastic about supporting the Life Skills Series program,” Sawin told the Voice. “This free workshop series will offer participants in-depth education and training and will impart new skills to help them successfully navigate life challenges while they are on their journeys to recovery.”

For its part, The Saving Lives Task Force immediately agreed to come on board and sponsor the program.

According to Roxana Ballinger, Co-Chair of the task force, ongoing recovery support and teaching the skills to maintain the recovery journey fill one of the biggest gaps in the services offered on the Outer Banks.

“Going through treatment and/or rehab is only the first step in that journey,” she said. “Recovery is a lifelong journey. After you get out of rehab or any kind of treatment for addiction, you need support in many areas of your life. The recovery life skills program is just that. We need this program.”

For more information, please contact Roxanna Ballinger at 252-475-5619; Louisa Farr at; Jen Yang at





NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS:  BIDDER PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUEST:  Barnhill Contracting has been selected as the Construction Manager at Risk by Dare County and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade and specialty contractors to submit bids for furnishing Labor, Material, Equipment, and Other for the new “Dare County – EMS 1 / Fire Station 14” (KDH) located in Kill Devil Hills, NC.  PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The scope of the project encompasses approximately 36,000 sqft of new construction and 18,000 sqft of demolition on a 3.5-acre site located at the 1630 N Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC. The project includes masonry bearing walls supporting a Standing Seam Metal Roof over Light Gauge Trusses housing administrative, living and support spaces along with 6 apparatus bays. Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages: BP750 – Turnkey Siding. Additional Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business participation is encouraged. Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals to Meredith Terrell by December 2, 2022, via email at or mail to PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (Office Location – 4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612). PREQUALIFICATION FORMS CAN BE OBTAINED from BuildingConnected through this Invite under the “File” tab or from BuildingConnected link on the Barnhill, Bidding Opportunities website at by selecting “Dare County – EMS 1 / Fire Station 14 – Prequalification”, or by contacting Meredith Terrell  (919-604-2367). Please submit completed prequalification forms A and B along with all required supporting documentation and with All Bid Packages you are Prequalified for Checked. Form B must be submitted for this project. Form A is good for 1-Year and if you have submitted one to Barnhill within the last year, it should still be valid. If you are unsure, please verify this with Meredith. Target Bid Date: January 2023


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