by Kerri Rhodes Jenkins
There are three paths from addiction: Recovery, Jail, or Death.
After we lost Taylor in 2018, I promised I would find a way to be part of making a dent in how we treat addiction and help create programs that would have helped him in this fight. Delegate Carrie Coyner, Anne Moss Rogers, and I took HB 928 to the Virginia General Assembly in 2019.
A recovery high school did not exist when we entered this battle and it would have been a game changer for our family when Taylor was struggling with addiction and trying to graduate. When I tell you it was a nightmare I mean it. For far too long we have stigmatized the disease of addiction and many of these students were suspended or expelled. They did not have access to the support and services they needed for recovery.
Del. Coyner drafted the HB 928 and Anne Moss and I, armed with Taylor and Charles’s stories, were the faces of why it matters so very much that we intervene as early as we can. Lives depend on it.
On August 1, 2022, I attended the ribbon cutting as we opened the first Recovery High School in the Commonwealth. To think back three years ago and to stand there today was emotional. I felt the tears as they cut that ribbon.
I know so many families that needed this and it didn’t exist. And I know so many families that are going to have a better chance of seeing their children find recovery because today we filled a gap.
Carrie Coyner, thank you for sponsoring this bill and allowing me to share Taylor’s story. I am so grateful and I hope I get to continue to be a part of this project. Nothing would make me happier. Anyone in region 1 in central Virginia can apply.
Chesterfield Recovery Academy is open to students from Region 1 school divisions in central Virginia including:
- Charles City County
- Chesterfield County
- Colonial Heights
- Dinwiddie County
- Goochland County
- Hanover County
- Henrico County
- New Kent County
- Powhatan County
- Prince George County
- Surry County
- Sussex County
To be considered for enrollment, students must be substance-free for 20 to 30 days. Once enrolled, students may remain in Chesterfield Recovery Academy through graduation or may return to their home school when they feel ready to do so. If the academy reaches its enrollment limit, applicants will be placed on a waiting list. Admission continues on a rolling basis as openings become available.
Here a few posts on the history of HB 928, recovery school for Virginia.