Skip to content

Women’s History Month – Javonne Kirby, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

WHM - Javonne Kirby RACSBJavonne Kirby has been a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) for two years at Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. Kirby has been in recovery from substance use disorder since 2020, and has devoted her career, and life, to helping those in recovery as well. 

After admitting herself to a rehabilitation center, Kirby came back into the world on March 11th, 2020; a few days later, the COVID-19 quarantine began. Stuck at home, with very few places to go, she devoted her time to volunteering at one of her “safe spaces”: Downtown Greens. Kirby had been going with her daughter to Downtown Greens for years, and when she asked to volunteer for them, Downtown Greens was excited to bring her onto the team. After a few months of working there, she was asked to become a Board Member, which she graciously accepted. 

During Kirby’s tenure as a Board Member for Downtown Greens, she has worked on many exciting projects, including the Free Fridge and Pantry and Outdoor Kitchen. She additionally started to train and study as a CPRS, and fell in love with the field.

“It’s something I know,” Kirby said. “I know about the struggles of trying to get sober, and trying to stay sober. And I know about the struggles of what it’s like to not be sober…everybody needs to know that there’s this thing called recovery. We don’t have to suffer anymore!”

A CPRS has lived experience with mental illness, trauma, and substance use. They focus on working with, and relating to, people who are receiving treatment for shared experience. Kirby views her job as an opportunity to ensure these people that she is proof that they can get through their struggles. And as a CPRS, she is thrilled that she is getting paid to do what she loves. 

“I’ve always been a person that wants to help, and I love people,” Kirby said. She emphasized that it is essential to connect with, and empathize with, those struggling with mental illness and addiction. She believes that once you get to know people with these struggles, you can better understand the pain they have been through. 

Kirby is an example of someone whose past trauma and struggles have compelled and motivated her to build a successful and meaningful career. She has walked through fire throughout her life, and now that she is able to work in the fields she cares about, and is being recognized for her achievements, she is honored and grateful. 

“It makes me emotional,” she said. “A lot of times you just put one foot in front of the other, you just try to make it through. So to be recognized for it…it’s a miracle.”

If you are struggling with mental illness or substance use disorder, look into the wonderful services of Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. Follow them on Facebook. Follow Downtown Greens on Facebook as well. 

💻 Read more about the amazing women in Fredericksburg on our Women’s History Month page here.