Jamie is a co-founder of Peter’s Place RVA and the organization’s Vice President of the Board. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education. She is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University pursuing a Master of Social Work. Upon graduation, she will continue her work in social equity as a champion of vulnerable populations within the addiction and mental health recovery field. Her goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker within 5 years of graduating with her MSW.
Her work in the social work field has connected her with organizations dedicated to the reparation and prosperity of the folx of marginalized (dis)ability, race, class, gender, and sexual identities. She has interned at Virginia's first free-clinic, Health Brigade, as a volunteer of Richmond’s Harm Reduction program and needle-exchange. Of late, her work is highlighted in community development and crisis aid, where she specializes in peer-to-peer counseling for Virginia’s Crisis Counseling Warmline through Mental Health America of Virginia. She looks forward to the ventures she will take as a Warrior for individuals seeking recovery support at Peter’s Place RVA.
Jamie is a first-generation, U.S. born Latina, who grew up with a single mother and three much younger siblings. At the age of 5, she was the second set of hands to her mother, who was raising four children, including herself, and a child with severe Autism Spectrum Disorder. Jamie’s lived experience has moved her through the center of a white, cisgender, heterosexual society that further marginalizes folx living with Black and Brown skin, substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and disabilities. Jamie met Humility long before walking into her first 12-step recovery meeting. She considers that genuine person-centered aid is already rooted in humility and finds that it can be re-traumatizing to encourage folx of marginalized identities to further “seek humility.”
She is the first person in her extended family to attend a four-year college and graduate school. She completed her undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a double major in Spanish at Virginia Tech (LET’S GO HOKIES!), where she met many unprecedented challenges as the first person to move away from her Latinx family and, somewhat, insular culture. She battled crippling mental health issues, came-out as queer, and dealt with substance misuse during her time at Tech. She also learned the language and intricacies of social injustice and inequity as a systemic issue. Thanks to the cosmos, she came across @RCatVT, a student-run recovery community, where she first learned about recovery and began her journey in early-2017. Since then, she has been able to dedicate herself as an advocate for social justice and a student of life.