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Meet The CAF Team

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Shelly Young
Executive Director

Formerly a CAF Volunteer, Board member, Family Program Coordinator and Director of Programs, Shelly is Executive Director and mother of three young adults, one in recovery and all of whom are exploring creative arts and fashion careers. She is a passionate advocate for wellness, recovery, family support, a compassionate public health response to substance use and creating environments that support recovery.


Shelly is certified in Invitation To Change, The Anatomy of Transformation, ARISE Intervention and an RYT500 yoga teacher. She is also on the board of Unity Recovery in Philadelphia, facilitates the

STAR Family Program at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, serves on opioid task forces, consults for healthcare organizations, recovery organizations, workplaces & law enforcement to better serve individuals and families impacted by substance use.


When the Google Health Search team wanted to know how to better serve families in crisis, they asked Shelly what she thought they should do. When she is not studying the latest brain science, attachment theory, nervous system and recovery research, she's dancing, playing tennis, walking with her big black lab or enjoying movies, good food and music with her family preferably somewhere warm and sandy.

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Ginny Atwood Lovitt
Director of Advocacy & Development

Ginny Atwood Lovitt is the co-founder of The Chris Atwood Foundation.  She is certified by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health as a Master Revive trainer and has taught over two thousand individuals, families, and professionals how to save a life with narcan. 

She has spearheaded the unanimous passage of three Virginia state laws that pioneered community based access to Narcan for all Virginia residents, and collaborated on a team that advocated for three more state laws increasing the health and safety of people impacted by substance use. 

Ginny is an award-winning advocate for substance use disorder issues, and is particularly passionate about defeating the many stigmas surrounding this disease.  She has shared her family’s story and her work with The Chris Atwood Foundation on outlets such as A&E, NBC, NPR, the Washington Post, in international news in over a dozen countries, and at the White House.

She loves nature, God, writing, and being a mom - to her son Caleb, her three geriatric pugs, and her ever growing collection of house plants.

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Brittany Martin, iFPRS
Director of Programs

Brittany Roberts joined our CAF team as a Peer Support Specialist in August 2020. Since then she is always excited to share her personal experience in recovery since 2017 to help anyone seeking support with substance use disorder. She is an Alumni of Roseberry Oxford House in Manassas, VA and continues to work closely with the organization. When not working, Brittany enjoys going to the movies, spending time with family and trying to learn to cook. 


While Brittany believes there are many pathways to recovery, she’s found AA/NA most useful in her own journey and is always willing to take someone

along to a meeting. She welcomes anyone to contact her to learn about her story since incarceration, Oxford houses, AA/NA meetings & The CAF services. 

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Daniel Adams
Senior Peer and Community Liaison

Daniel is a Certified Forensic Peer Recovery Specialist, a PRS Trainer, and the Community Outreach Manager. I have made improvements with my life since I was blessed with a Second Chance. 


I was incarcerated since 1990, and finally made parole in April of 2020. While I was incarcerated, I participated in “Second Chance Quest “, which changed my life in prison and prepared me for returning to society. This group was designed to help a prisoner like me develop a way to think differently. I participated in college-level and other courses and obtained certificates and recognitions in many self-development courses while incarcerated.

Now, upon my release, since April 21, 2020, I am accomplishing things I never thought I would. Along with my certifications listed above, I’ve had my rights restored by the Governor of Virginia, and am a Registered Peer by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  


I volunteer my time in Arlington with Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiation, Community Service Board, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, and Offender Assistance Restoration. I invest my time speaking on behalf of other inmates who are parole-eligible with the Parole Board. I also invest my time and money with the kids who live in my apartment building.  


I will always be invested in our program, “Second Chance Quest “I participated with this program and know how beneficial it is towards a prisoners’ growth and development. It has inspired me to become my best self and helped me to move forward with what matters most, people.

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Dan Buckley, CPRS
Comprehensive Harm Reduction Program Manager

Dan joined the Chris Atwood Foundation as a Peer Recovery Specialist in the summer of 2021 and is now the Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) Program Manager. Dan is a person in long term recovery that wants to share his experience, faith, and hope in order to help others find their success in their own recovery. Dan believes in multiple pathways of recovery and knows that everyone has a different journey.


Dan has experience with harm reduction services and enjoys interacting with those interested in making any positive change. When he's not helping others, he enjoys spending time with his daughter, catching up with family, making music, and attending concerts.

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Jon Fairbanks, iFPRS
HOPE/Reentry Program Manager

Jon Fairbanks is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist working on the Hope team as the Re-Entry Program Manager. Jon has struggled with substance use from an early age and started his recovery journey in 2018. He is a proud alumni of the first group of individuals to go through the STAR program held inside the Fairfax Adult Detention Center. 


Since Jon was young, he has always wanted to make his parents proud and struggled to do so because of his substance use. Through the help and support of the Chris Atwood Foundation, he can finally say his parents are proud of him. Jon really enjoys visiting with his

family who currently live in Richmond and also loves to go to the gym with his friends. His mission as a Peer is to share the hope that gave him the drive to make a change for the better.

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Beth Cline,
Education & Training Coordinator

Beth Cline is a Registered Peer Recovery Specialist with the Chris Atwood Foundation. Beth grew up in Reston, Virginia, and has stayed pretty local ever since. She has an extensive background in customer service and administrative skills. She takes pride in any job that she has and loves to be a wealth of knowledge. Her passion for learning has made her a “Jill of all trades”  at most jobs. If she doesn’t know the answer to something, she will track down an answer for you.  She has lived experience with substance use disorder and PTSD which has propelled her to want to help others in the community.

Recently, Beth discovered that she not

only has a passion for learning but a passion for educating as well. She has found her role as an educator and blossomed into an amazing facilitator, obtaining her approval through DBHDS to teach the 72-hour PRS class to new peers in this growing industry. She has found her voice and continues to grow into a patient, tolerant, and compassionate instructor, peer, and mentor. 

She spends her free time painting and creating. Art has always been something that Beth relied on to express emotions but, using typically held her back. Now that she is in recovery, she has found new ways to paint, craft, and create. She lives with a very supportive family and is a proud cat mom.

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Susie Burklew, iFPRS
Certified Forensic Peer Recovery Specialist - HOPE Team

Susie Burklew is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist for the Chris Atwood Foundation working on the Re-Entry HOPE team at the Fairfax Adult Detention Center. She is thrilled to have changed roles from a clinical counselor to a professional peer helping serve CAF members. Prior to joining the CAF team Susie worked as a Behavior Specialist Counselor for Fairfax County Government at the program A New Beginning and before that she was  Residential Specialist Counselor for National Capital Treatment and Recovery. 


Susie has lived experience and is in Recovery from Co-Occurring Mental

Health/Substance Use Disorders. Susie became sober from alcoholism in January 2011, and 5 months later was hospitalized and diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. She is passionate about ending the stigma associated with Mental Health/Substance Use Disorders. She shared her story publicly, in front of a live audience, at the Spring 2017 Arlington This is my Brave Show. She also produced a This is my Brave show later that same year in the Fall. She believes that storytelling saves lives and it’s okay to talk openly and authentically about your mental health without being judged or stigmatized. 


Susie enjoys being outside as much as possible and loves hiking, paddleboarding, and kayaking. She also has a passion for gardening and travel. Her greatest gift in recovery is the amazing and authentic relationship she has with her 29 year old daughter Fallon who lives in  NYC working as a scuba dive instructor traveling all over the world doing what she loves. Susie is in the process of getting scuba certified herself which she is very excited about.

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Tameka is the Director of Finance at the CAF.  She is a Certified Public Accountant with her BS in Accounting. She has nearly 30 years of accounting experience.  She enjoys spending quality time with her children doing outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, and road trips.

Tameka Graham
Director of Finance
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Whitney Bland, CPRS
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist - CHR

Whitney Bland is a certified peer recovery specialist at The CAF. She works with incarcerated women in the Prince William County ADC as well as with our Comprehensive Harm Reduction program. Whitney had years of “long term lived experience.” She lived a nomadic life of crisscrossing the country struggling with untreated bi polar disorder and substance use disorder for most of her adult life. She managed to turn her years of being lost into something powerful and meaningful by helping others struggling with the same issues.


Whitney earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art at Virginia Commonwealth

University and is a current student of holistic wellness practices. She is passionate about Incorporating art and wellness as tools in her recovery and is eager to share her passion. Whitney believes using creative thinking  can help  people find their true self , their true purpose and maybe magical things life shows you along the way.


“I’m a unicorn ! I shouldn’t exist but here I am! The deal is;  I’m here for a purpose and that’s not an accident ! I want to help others find their own path to recovery. It’s a gift to have a passion that aligns with the way you make a living.”


If you're lost Whitney has a light that can show you the way to your unique path of recovery. She’ll meet you where you're at and remind you to laugh and to not take yourself too seriously!

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Kristina Barden, CPRS
Certified Forensic Peer Recovery Specialist - Community Team

Kristina is a Certified Forensic Peer Recovery Specialist with the Chris Atwood Foundation. She came to the foundation after Struggling with addiction, Mental health and Incarceration for over 20 years. She is a DMV native and an expert in navigating Fairfax county’s CSB and the resources that are available throughout the county.


Kristina is a loving mother to 2 boys, a caring wife to a supportive husband and an active, productive community member who is striving to do all she can to dismantle the disease of addiction. She has a warm and caring spirit that reaches beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping others.

Despite her past, at present, she is one of the elite Peers on the Community Outreach Team working hard to be an example of hope to those still struggling.

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Victoria Cira, CPRS
Recovery Project Coordinator

Victoria is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and a Recovery Project Coordinator at the Chris Atwood Foundation.  She came to the CAF as an intern to complete her Peer Recovery Specialist certification.  She did not expect that she would love it so much that she would apply for a job, but here she is.


Victoria has personal experience with mental health challenges including Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While she is a Mental Health focused Peer, she has had several deeply involved relationships with people who have Substance Use Disorder, which is the basis of her compassion for people

people who suffer from the disease.


Doing Peer work is the first time in Victoria’s life that she has had the opportunity to truly be of service to others who deserve her respect and dedication.  


In her spare time, Victoria sews and paints, watches YouTube videos of people sewing and painting, and plays video games.  She loves dogs and music.

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Alfred Head, CPRS
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist - CHR

Alfred Head understands that everyone deserves to be believed in and supported. Faith and love from the people who form the foundation of his life have allowed him to make it to the Chris Atwood Foundation. Living with a mental health condition, Alfred found strength in seeing the world from a different perspective, and learned to use that perspective to help others.  


In 2008, Alfred was a member of the first graduating class of peer specialists in Virginia. Since then, he has worked with many populations in our community, including unhoused veterans and those with disabilities. He brings his empathic 

and straightforward approach to supporting the mission of the CAF.


Animals in general, and dogs in particular, bring him joy. Living abroad as a child gave him an appreciation for diverse cultures, peoples and creeds. As a longtime NOVA resident, he enjoys the multifaceted international population of our region.

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Willie Butler, iFPRS
Certified Forensic Peer Recovery Specialist - Community Team

Willie Butler is a formerly incarcerated citizen who works with the Chris Atwood’s Foundation as a Forensic Peer Recovery Specialist. He’s currently on the  CAF’s  Community Outreach Team where he operates with a strong sense of urgency and passion, making connections and building relationships with those who are in need of peer services.


Willie has an Associate in Arts degree from Walla Walla Community College and has served in leadership positions on various prison reform and advocacy platforms, such as the Black Prisoners’ Caucus, the Career Bridge Program, and the Ready for Release Process. He

has achieved the International Toastmasters’ status of Advanced Communicator Gold and Advanced Leadership Silver.


In his spare time, Willie enjoys weightlifting, reading/writing, and listening to soothing soulful music. He appreciates long, deep conversation with his family, friends and loved ones. He practices and believes that self-care is what leads to and sustains a health recovery. In essence, Willie is an avatar of love who relentlessly works in a RADICAL, compassionate manner to dismantle the disease of SUD, Mental Illness, Incarceration, and Homelessness. “Even if the choices of a human being’s disease may make it difficult for many to understand, every human being is still worthy of love and compassion. For with love, we can conquer and cure all.”

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Alex Pinto, PRS

Alex joined The Chris Atwood Foundation in May 2023.

He has been living in Northern Virginia for almost 20 years. He was a former professional athlete and since that time his compassion and advocacy for those in need of help and prevention has increased - part of his DNA. Now as a Bilingual Forensic peer recovery specialist, his love for others has only grown along with his continued support for his community.

Peer Recovery Specialist - Community Team

Meet Our Board

Mark Atwood
Board Chairman

Mark W. Atwood is the Chairman of the Chris Atwood Foundation, which he co-founded in 2013 in the days following the death of his son Christopher at the age of 21 from a heroin overdose.  Mark is a lawyer by profession, specializing in aviation, and is a member of the law firm Cozen O’Connor; his office is in Washington, DC.


​He also has taught the High School Sunday School class at Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax for the past 15 years. He has been a judge of the Jessup International Law Moot Court for

over 20 years. He is a graduate of

Loyola University in Baltimore, and the University of Southern California.

His numerous hobbies include black and white photography, fossil collection and preparation, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Lauren Blackwell
Director of Social Media

Lauren Blackwell (LB) is an individual in long term recovery. She comes from Morgantown, West Virginia and currently resides in the DC Metropolitan area. She holds a RBA in Business Communications from West Virginia University. 


LB is passionate about advocating for individuals with substance use disorder and breaking the stigma of addiction by sharing her story.

She is thrilled to be a part of The Chris Atwood Foundation and continue her

efforts to lead individuals into recovery and create safe, loving support for all those with substance use disorder. Outside of recovery work, LB is dedicated to creating safe space for marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ and BIPOC communities. 

For fun, LB loves sending snail mail, thrifting, being around creatives, and hitting up Union Market (the endless choices are good for her indecisiveness)!

Allison Beyers Coleman
Board Secretary

Allison has been a committed board member to The CAF since its founding in 2013; sitting around the Atwood's kitchen table trying to make sense of the sudden and tragic loss of Christopher. 


Originally from Reston, VA, she now resides in Baltimore, MD, with her husband and son. She has over ten years of non-profit experience in communications, public relations, media, marketing, social media, and community outreach. 

​Allison received her BA in 

Communications and Art History from Virginia Tech and her MA in Arts Management from George Mason University. She currently works as the Public and Media Relations Coordinator at The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (The LLF), the non-profit organization federally designated to coordinate organ, eye, and tissue donation in the state of Maryland.


Allison is also the founder of Joey for Roo, a baby and children's clothing brand that strives to bring awareness to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Through her professional and personal experiences, Allison has developed a strong sense of dedication to public health and the non-profit sector. 

Marie Dyak

Marie Gallo Dyak is the President and CEO to the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC). She is responsible for concept development and implementation of EIC programs and special projects primarily involving the entertainment industry and health and social issues. This also includes technical support to entertainment industry content development, public service initiatives and campaigns, special events, constituent relations and development of in-kind support for prevention projects, health information

dissemination, and entertainment-based human resource issues.


She is an Emmy Award winning producer having produced educational, training and entertainment television specials.  Ms. Dyak serves on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health; the National Action Alliance for Suicide PreventionExecutive Committee; the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation Celebration of Service to American station awards; and appointed to serve on the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 through which Congress called upon the entertainment industry to create a voluntary TV rating system.

Neil Horikoshi

Prior to being named CEO & Executive Director of the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation, Neil Horikoshi led a distinguished 30-year career at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), where he held legal and executive management positions in the US and Asia Pacific.  After his IBM career, he led the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) as their President & Executive Director where he led new strategic initiatives to expand organizational programming to better

meet the needs of underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and help APIASF become a more socially impactful organization.


He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Hawai’i and a Juris Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.  He is a member of the New York State Bar.

Bob McMurtry

Bob McMurtry is the treasurer of the Chris Atwood Foundation.  Bob, having known the Atwood family for a number of years, was familiar with the Chris Atwood Foundation. He first got involved with the CAF after a fellow board member, Shelly Young, led an ARISE intervention for one of Bob's close friends who is now successfully living in recovery.  After the experience, Bob developed a strong desire to get involved in the fight against the disease of addiction.  Many people in Bob's life have been impacted by addiction, and he is passionate about working with individuals in active use and those

along the recovery continuum to help them overcome the disease.

Bob is a CPA with 10 years of experience working with nonprofits.    He has a bachelor's of science degree in Accounting with Honors from George Mason University.  He currently works as the Director of Finance at the Blue Ridge School, and he is currently enrolled in the executive format of the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business MBA program.  


He hopes his education and experience will empower him to have a positive impact on society, starting with those struggling with addiction or living in recovery from the disease. 

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