Virginia's first Recovery High School, McShin Academy, to open at the Villa

The Virginia Department of Health reports more than 1,400 people died of drug overdoses in 2016--a 38% increase from 2015. The McShin Foundation and St. Joseph's Villa are partnering to break to cycle of addiction in adolescents by establishing the first recovery high school in the state.

"We have seen an alarming rise in opioid use and fatalities among teenagers," said Honesty Liller, CEO of the McShin Foundation.

McShin Academy, located on the Villa campus, is designed to help students recover from substance use disorder while continuing their education in a small and nurturing environment.

McShin Academy will operate in its own building on the Villa campus

The McShin Foundation is Virginia's leading Peer-to-Peer Recovery Community Organization. Students of McShin Academy will receive guidance from McShin's peer recovery coaches, while St. Joseph's provides education services.

"There are not many schools in the country that operate a substance use recovery model," said Cindy Faison, COO of St. Joseph's Villa. "It is a relatively new concept."

McShin Academy will be housed in its own building and run separately from the Villa's other schools. It is funded by private tuition, with scholarship opportunities available through the McShin Foundation.

"St. Joseph's Villa was founded to meet the most critical needs of vulnerable children and youth. Our partnership with the McShin Foundation directly aligns with that mission," said Kathleen Burke Barrett, Villa CEO.

For a tour and details about the admissions process, please call Honesty Liller at 804-249-1845 or the St. Joseph's Villa Admissions Office at 804-553-3241.

Find out more in these articles by the Henrico Citizen, Richmond BizSense and Style Weekly.

Villa briefs Congress on
rapid re-housing progress
Tucker (left) and Barrett (right) prepare to address
Congress at the U.S. Capitol

Villa CEO Kathleen Burke Barrett and Director of Housing & Homeless Services Kimberly Tucker joined the National Alliance to End Homelessness at the U.S. Capitol to brief Congressional staff on progress that has been made nationally toward ending homelessness through rapid re-housing. Outcomes at local levels were highlighted, and Congress was asked to support the successful housing model with leadership and resources.

The briefing was sponsored by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).

Flagler Housing & Homeless Services housed 653 people in Richmond and the Tri-Cities last year. 85% are remaining housed 12 months after exiting the program.

Career and Transition Services help Keimon discover a new tomorrow
Keimon is a kind and caring student who knows about making good choices--but before coming to St. Joseph's Villa, he had a hard time going against peer pressure. He often felt unheard, misunderstood and isolated. His built-up frustrations led to outbursts that affected academics and strained relationships.

At the Villa, Keimon found a safe place to pursue his interests with Career and Transition Services (CATS). While exploring vocational opportunities, he joined a snack preparation and delivery program serving Villa students with autism, and interned with Villa athletic operations. Keimon also toured local colleges and worked with college student mentors on a variety of skill-building projects.

Keimon (left) with Career and Transition Specialist
Garland Guion (right)

Keimon says CATS helped him build self-esteem. He now feels confident stepping out from the crowd to become his own individual. He even performed in a live play through the University of Richmond's Jepson Shakespeare Project--something he never pictured himself doing.

Now Keimon is dreaming big for his future.

"I wanted to be a counselor one day, because I like how the counselors here treat me," he said.

The positive relationships Keimon formed with Villa staff and college mentors also inspired him to mentor an elementary student in the Villa's Dooley School. He enjoys imparting the lessons he has learned at the Villa, and feels that serving as a mentor is a great way to prepare for a career in counseling.

"CATS changed me a lot," said Keimon. "I'm a whole different person."

Sarah Dooley Center for Autism goes global!
Dreyfus at Rahman Medical Institute in Pakistan

Sarah Dooley Center for Autism director Adam Dreyfus traveled to Pakistan to present at Foundation University and Rahman Medical Institute in support of their autism programming. Hospitals and organizations from all over the county participated in the symposium on October 10th, World Mental Health Day.

Autism is a growing in frequency the world over. Dreyfus is among the first autism experts to visit that area of the world and advance partnerships in education.

Villa honored with Making Kids Count Award by Voices for Virginia's Children
Members of the Villa team accept the Making Kids Count award

Voices for Virginia's Children, the only independent multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization in the state, honored St. Joseph's Villa with the 2017 Carol S. Fox Making Kids Count Award on October 4th. The award recognizes long-term commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children, while upholding the highest ethical standards. We are grateful for this recognition, and for Voices' partnership in creating brighter futures.

In this Issue
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We're seeking Qualified Mental Health Professionals! 
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Changing Lives
"St. Joseph's Villa has helped me feel more confident and more able to take control of my life."

- Mental Health Skill-Building Services client