Friends of Recovery Association

FORA, a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, has been advocating for Oxford Houses, transitional housing for people in recovery from drugs and alcohol, in Kansas since 1991.

  • There are 159 houses in Kansas (as of August 2022). 

  • FORA provides the start up loan for all new houses in Kansas.

  • FORA provides mentoring, crisis intervention, conflict mediation, community liaison work and landlord negotiations.

  • FORA has helped thousands of individuals in recovery break away from the destructive pattern of addiction and become productive members of their communities.

  • According to a DePaul study, people who stay in an Oxford House for 15 months have an 80% success rate of still being clean and sober in 5 years.

  • FORA helps families stay together by establishing houses for men with children and women with children.

Our Mission

Friends of Recovery Association's mission is to support and collaborate with Oxford Houses in Kansas, which are self-supporting, democratically-operated homes for recovering individuals. Friends of Recovery and Oxford Houses assist service participants to attain and sustain recovery from substance addiction.

Our Vision

There is an Oxford House for every recovering individual in Kansas.

Our History

Friends of Recovery was started in 1991 by a task force formed at Asbury United Methodist Church, headed by Ed Stephenson and Harold and Ruth Keeling. Mr. Stephenson brought Oxford House founder Paul Molloy back to Kansas, where the first Oxford House was opened and is still open today, as Oxford House Santa Fe in Overland Park, Kansas. 

The Oxford House Program

Oxford Houses is transitional living for people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. The houses are not a boarding house or a halfway house, but a home run democratically by the service participants themselves.  If everyone pays their own way, does not drink or use, and abides by the democratic process, they may stay in an Oxford House as long as they wish. 

Friends of Recovery Programs

Friends of Recovery (FORA) is the outreach organization supporting the Oxford Houses in Kansas.  FORA programs include opening new Oxford Houses with federal block grant money, mediating in houses, case management and education.

Opening New Houses

Paul Molloy, using his influence with Capitol Hill, helped establish start-up loans for Oxford Houses worldwide.  In 1988, Congress enacted P.L. 100-690, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act. This Act included a provision that required all states to establish a revolving loan fund to provide startup funds for groups wishing to open sober living environments based on the Oxford House model.  The mandate was changed in 1990 to a permissive provision codified as 42 USC 300x-25.

Kansas has a revolving loan fund for Kansas Oxford Houses since 1993.  A new house applies for the loan through FORA, which works with the chapter to open the new Oxford House.  

Case Management

Oxford Houses' case management includes attending house and chapter meetings, mediating disagreements between house members, landlords or neighbors. Monthly New Member orientations help Oxford House service participants understand the principles and traditions of Oxford House. Alumni, Chapters and Friends of Recovery offer workshops focusing on house officers, communications, and trauma-informed care. 

1673108234309.jpgChairman of the Board of Directors LEnny Lippert 

Lenny’s history of success is directly related to his ability to plan and execute various strong strategies to increase system optimization along with developing and ensuring maintenance of efficient track record of data to lead major increase in company outcomes. When he moved back to Kansas City, he wanted to be a part of an organization that served a larger purpose in the community and meant something to him personally. Lenny found F.O.R.A. and knew he could utilize his skill set to help the board ensure all members of the program were given the tools to succeed both professionally and financially during their recovery. 

Staff Members

Stephanie Fillmore

Executive Director

Stephanie Fillmore is a person in long term recovery.  She is an Alumna of Oxford House Serenity Hills, and actively participating in the Alumni Association for the Kansas City area. Stephanie was  a part of the Board of FORA for 6 years. She has served as Secretary and Treasurer for the Board. She was on the Oxford House World Council  for 5 years and active in Oxford House State Association.

Erica Hasler

Office Manager

Erica Hasler has a passion for helping, especially those who suffer from substance use disorder find longer term Recovery. She believes that with Oxford House and a program of recovery it is possible.

She has been an active member of the recovery community since 2014, she was quickly introduced to the Oxford House concept of transitional sober living. She has been a strong advocate ever since.

Erica became the Office Manager at the corporate office located in Overland Park in 2019. Her experience with the recovery community, community resources and excellent multi-tasking assist her in being a superb team member at FORA.

Outside of work Erica is a mother to her two wonderful girls. Her hobbies include camping and enjoying the outdoors with her significant other and children.

DJ Mecum

Outreach Coordinator

DJ Mecum has been a strong advocate for Oxford House since 2016. He has a passion for helping those who are living with substances misuse disorder find long term freedom from their addictions.

He became the Outreach Coordinator for the Kansas City Chapters in February of 2023. DJ’s experience with recovery resources, and excellent people skills make him an amazing asset to the FORA team.

Outside of work DJ is a father of 1 daughter. And his hobbies include traveling with his daughter and significant other. DJ is an avid BBQ foodie.

Tom Wanko

Outreach Coordinator

Thomas Wanko is an Alumni member of Oxford House Chautauqua in Wichita. He resided in Oxford House for 4 years. His recovery date is February 2nd 1999. He has been an Outreach Coordinator with Friends of Recovery since 2013.

Travis Cox

Outreach Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon!

Brian Holmes

Outreach Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon!

Kady Stevens

Outreach Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon!

Matthew Caraway

Outreach Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon!

Kasia Hoover

Outreach Coordinator

Bio coming soon! 

Jose Para-Padilla

Outreach Coordinator - Dodge City

Bio Coming soon! 

Jose Para-Padilla

Outreach Coordinator - Dodge City

Bio Coming soon!