Addiction does not discriminate. Bridging the divides in our polarized country is an essential way for people to work together to fight the opioid epidemic, which is what One America West Virginia is trying to do.
The objective of One America West Virginia is to build a community to fight opioids by connecting hundreds of folks within existing efforts to combat the epidemic and be a public voice to fight this widespread problem that thrives on silence and shame. One avenue of doing this is to learn from others what does or doesn’t work and bring communities together to save lives and fight addiction.
Anna Robinson, newly appointed Program Coordinator for Panhandle-based One America West Virginia, is working to bring communities together who wish to fight addiction in the West Virginia and Washington, D.C. area.
“In this role, it’s my job to coordinate churches, community members, and anyone who wants to get involved here in the Panhandle to build a community and fight opioids,” she said. “We want to organize volunteers to get involved in this crisis, be really public, and get people talking and working with each other.”
Robinson grew up in the Eastern Panhandle, and after graduating from Martinsburg High School, attended West Virginia University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in strategic communications. While in college, serving her community was a huge priority.
“Whether I was working as a VISTA for the Relatives As Parents Program in Martinsburg, or planning an event that raised money for the Mountaineer Boys & Girls Club at WVU, I have always taken pride in serving our beautiful state and its people,” she emphasized.
The work that One America West Virginia is doing literally hit home for Robinson. She personally saw how opioid abuse affected West Virginia as a whole, particularly the people in the Eastern Panhandle.
“It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening here, and I just want to do my part to help the people and the community that helped me become the person that I am today,” she explained.
Robinson may just be getting started in her new position, but there has been a favorable response from the community for the effort of this organization.
“We’ve received positive feedback from people in the community that we’ve spoken to about our work,” she noted. “Given that this is my hometown, I know a few individuals who are already doing work in this space that seem really excited about One America West Virginia.”
One America West Virginia Director, Andrew Hanauer, discussed how they will reach out to churches and communities across Berkeley and Jefferson County to build relationships with people who wish to get involved—and the importance of Robinson’s position in this effort.
“Long term, it’s using that volunteer list to really drive help to where it is needed and raise the public profile of this fight,” he maintained. “Anna will be leading all of these efforts with the partnership of pastors, health officials, doctors, people in recovery, and anyone in the community who wants to stand with us.”By Robin Murphy