Richmond, VA – The Virginia Department of Health reports more than 1,400 people died of drug
overdoses in Virginia in 2016–a 38 percent increase from 2015. Two Richmond‐based nonprofits, the
McShin Foundation and St. Joseph’s Villa, are partnering to break the cycle of addiction in adolescents
by establishing the first recovery high school in Virginia.
McShin Academy, located on the Villa campus, is designed to help students recover from substance use
disorders while continuing their education in a small and nurturing environment.
“We have seen an alarming rise in opioid use and fatalities among teenagers,” said Honesty Liller, CEO of
the McShin Foundation. “There is an increased need to help teens recover while keeping them in school
and engaged in other activities.”
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. St. Joseph’s Villa will
provide education services. The Villa currently operates four schools on its 82‐acre campus that address
students’ distinct academic and behavioral needs.
Nine out of ten people who meet the clinical criteria for substance use disorders began smoking,
drinking or using other drugs during adolescence, according to the National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse. While there are treatment facilities for drug and alcohol addiction, McShin Academy
will be the first place in Virginia to support students in recovery as they complete their high school
“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