The Barry Robinson Center
May 20, 2024

Introducing The Majella Project: Improving the Lives of Children by Offering Hope to Pregnant Women Facing Substance Use Disorders

The James Barry-Robinson Institute (JBRI) has been dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families for over 90 years. With a long-standing commitment to providing support and resources, JBRI has played a vital role in creating positive impacts on communities. The Majella Project, an innovative and compassionate initiative, is set to launch on May 20, 2024. This intensive outpatient program is specifically designed to support pregnant women who are facing a substance use disorder so their unborn children can be born in a safe and stable environment. By partnering with experts in the field, The Majella Project aims to provide expectant mothers with the necessary resources, guidance, and skills to overcome addiction and embrace motherhood with optimism. Pregnancy is a transformative and vulnerable period in a woman’s life. For those struggling with substance use disorders, the journey becomes even more complex. The Majella Project recognizes the unique needs of these expectant mothers and seeks to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to their recovery and well-being. The program will offer a range of services including substance abuse recovery using the evidence-based curricula from The Change Companies including:

  • Women in Recovery
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Trauma in Life
  • Strengthening My Parenting Skills

Through a combination of counseling, therapy, education, and support groups, participants will gain the tools and knowledge to address their addiction head-on. The Majella Project will also prioritize the physical and emotional health of the mothers and their babies, offering classes, hosted by experts, in prenatal care, nutritional guidance, and financial resources. These services will include, but are not limited to, lactation consultancy, car seat safety, and sleep safety.

The Majella Project will offer a supportive network that empowers women to break free from the cycle of addiction and build a brighter future for themselves and their children. “We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, and that journey begins before birth,” said Tim Webb, JBRI Outpatient Director. “By providing comprehensive support and guidance, we are confident that The Majella Project will make a lasting impact on the lives of these courageous women and their children.” The Majella Project is actively seeking partnerships and collaborations with healthcare providers, community organizations, and individuals dedicated to supporting pregnant women with substance use disorders. Together, we can create a community of care and compassion that transforms lives. For more information about The Majella Project and how to get involved, please visit, contact Vickie Butts at, or call JBRI Outpatient Services at (757) 524-5585.

May 7, 2024

It is a bittersweet day at The Barry Robinson Center as we bid farewell to Mr. Willie Linn, a beloved member of the team for over 34 years. Willie’s retirement marks the end of an era, leaving behind a legacy of dedication, compassion, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of the Center’s residents. Throughout his tenure, Willie has been an integral part of the recreation therapy department, bringing joy and laughter to the lives of countless young individuals. Whether it was organizing team-building activities, leading outdoor adventures, or simply lending a listening ear, Willie has had a profound impact on the lives of the residents he worked with. He instilled in them a sense of hope, resilience, and the belief that they could overcome any obstacle in their way.

Willie led the Scouting Troop, providing guidance and mentorship to the young scouts. Through community service projects and leadership development, he nurtured their potential and helped them discover their own strengths and abilities. Many of those scouts went on to achieve great things, thanks to Willie’s unwavering support and belief in their potential. However, Willie’s impact is not limited to the residents and scouts alone. He has a knack for recognizing the talents and potential of his fellow colleagues, and he took it upon himself to help them find their path in the field of behavioral health. Through his guidance and encouragement, he inspired and mentored numerous employees, helping them grow both personally and professionally. Willie’s ability to see the best in others and empower them to reach for their dreams is truly remarkable. Willie is more than just a colleague; he is a friend, a confidant, and a source of inspiration for all who have the privilege of knowing him. His warm smile, contagious laughter, and genuine care for others touch the hearts of everyone he encounters. He has a way of making people feel seen, heard, and valued, creating a nurturing and supportive environment for both staff and residents alike.

As the news of Willie’s retirement spread throughout the center, there was a collective sense of sadness and loss. The void left by his departure will be difficult to fill. But amidst the sadness, there is also a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the incredible impact he has made during his time at The Barry Robinson Center. Willie Linn is not just an employee; he is a guiding light, a beacon of hope, and a symbol of the transformative power of compassion and dedication.

His unwavering commitment to helping others find their path, his ability to uplift and empower those around him, and his immense heart will forever be cherished and remembered. As Willie embarks on this new chapter of his life, the residents, the staff, and the entire Barry Robinson Center community wish him nothing but the very best. They know that his impact will continue to live on in the countless lives he has touched and the wings he has given to so many. Willie Linn will be deeply missed, but his legacy will forever be a part of the Center’s fabric, a reminder of the incredible impression one person can make on the lives of others.

February 23, 2024

In the quiet corners of a West Coast home steeped in the echoes of service and sacrifice, a family stands at a crossroads, navigating the delicate balance between love, duty, and the well-being of their military-connected teenager. As anxiety and depression cast shadows over their daughter’s path, Mom and Dad, two veterans, one disabled, who have weathered the storms of service together, find themselves grappling with a decision that carries the weight of their sacrifices and the hope for a brighter future. For their teenage daughter, raised in the embrace of duty and honor, the demands of military life contribute to her anxiety and depression, casting a veil of uncertainty over her once-vibrant spirit and love of school.

As the family comes to terms with the challenges that lie ahead, the prospect of residential care at The Barry Robinson Center emerges as a beacon of hope – a sanctuary where their daughter can find solace and the support she needs to navigate the complexities of her mental health journey.

In the embrace of family therapy, a space is carved out for healing and understanding, where the wounds of service-related trauma and the commitment to military life are laid bare. Through shared conversations and moments of vulnerability, Mom and Dad confront the complexities of their roles as parents and veterans. They delve into the depths of their shared experiences, and the family finds comfort in the power of connection, recognizing that healing is not a solitary journey but a collective effort that weaves together the threads of love, sacrifice, and resilience. In the safety of family therapy sessions, walls crumble and barriers dissolve, paving the way for open communication, mutual understanding, and a renewed sense of unity in the face of adversity.

The decision to consider residential care is not merely a practical choice but a profound act of love rooted in the unwavering commitment of parents to ensure their child’s well-being. The dedicated team of professionals at The Barry Robinson Center, many of whom have a personal connection to the military or a deep understanding of military culture, welcomes each new resident with a renewed sense of hope and, through the various therapies at the Center, works tirelessly to encourage positive outcomes and healing.

The Barry Robinson Center’s unwavering commitment to military families is rooted in the organization’s ninety-year mission of improving the lives of children and their families. The Center has welcomed residents, ages 11–17, from 47 states and 7 countries with the goal of helping those families that stand to preserve our freedom and safety.

To learn more about The Barry Robinson Center please visit

December 8, 2023

Norfolk, Virginia – Founded downtown in 1856, the Hospital of St. Vincent dePaul, more recently known as DePaul Hospital, was more than “just a hospital.” It was a ministry of hope and mercy to patients and their families; it was a place of joy when new family members were born, and a place of loving care for those living their final moments. Thus, it is not surprising that, when this cherished institution closed in 2021, so many wondered what would happen to the property.

During the last ninety years, The Barry-Robinson Trust, an organization founded by Norfolk businessman Frederick J. Robinson, has been driven by its Catholic heritage and mission to improve the lives of children and their families. Currently, the organization’s programs include The James Barry-Robinson Institute, providing residential treatment to military-connected youth, foster care services for Hampton Roads children and teens, as well as an outpatient program for teens and young adults facing substance abuse challenges. The Trust also established Saint Patrick Catholic School in 2005, with the mission of cultivating future generations of courageous and compassionate student leaders. Barry-Robinson has now launched Next Step to Success (NSTS) as a bold initiative to tackle the high rate of intergenerational poverty in Norfolk.

Currently, NSTS is serving 70 youth next door at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, providing transportation to attend its afterschool and summer “experiential learning” programs that encourage youth between the ages of 13 and 18 to develop the character strengths and higher self-expectations necessary to achieve their full God-given potential. In just its third year, Next Step To Success has outgrown its current location. So, when the opportunity arose to acquire Virginia’s oldest Catholic hospital property, to be repurposed to serve the future generations of this City’s youth, it  seemed providential.

The new home for Next Step to Success will be called the St. Vincent de Paul House. It will take approximately two years to build and will incorporate a beautiful campus of “learning houses”, a gymnasium, dining hall, gardens and a regulation-size soccer field, dedicated to serve up to 300 future “Success Stories” from Norfolk’s most underserved communities. Rob McCartney, CEO, states, “The team at The James Barry-Robinson Institute is honored to continue its service to the Norfolk and greater Hampton Roads community with programs that lead with compassion and hope while giving great consideration to the memory of DePaul Hospital and the countless families impacted by their unwavering commitment to care.”

Next Step to Success

Next Step to Success is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers teens a wide range of activities that will inspire and propel them to become more confident and capable versions of themselves. Through highly intentional programming, teens will learn strategies to maximize their chances for success. Life skills and character strengths such as resilience, grit, growth mindset, learned optimism, self-control, teamwork, problem-solving, and responsible decision-making are central to our program. Next Step to Success is an affiliate of The James Barry-Robinson Institute and the Barry-Robinson Trust.

The Barry Robinson Center, the nation’s only residential treatment program exclusively dedicated to serving military-connected youth and their families, has announced that Mandi Wines has been promoted to Vice President of Operations with immediate effect. After a nine-month exhaustive nationwide search, Wines, who has been with the organization for five years as the Clinical Director for the Girls’ Program, was chosen for the position.

Previously, Wines oversaw clinical programming, therapy assignments, communicated with families, and managed interns in the highly sought-after internship program at The Barry Robinson Center. In her new role, Wines will oversee clinical programming for the entirety of the residential program, as well as nursing staff, educational programming, nutrition, and campus infrastructure.

CEO Robert McCartney states, “Mandi is a tremendous leader. She not only understands the culture of competency, kindness, and fun at The Barry Robinson Center; she uses that culture to promote successful outcomes among our staff, our residents, and their families. We are fortunate to have such a talented team of executives to look towards when making these significant changes in leadership, and I am looking forward to the continued growth of all our programs as we maintain our steadfast commitment to the youth and young adults we serve through The James BarryRobinson Institute.”

As a twenty-three-year resident of Hampton Roads and a graduate of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Wines is deeply committed to continuing the remarkable success at The Barry Robinson Center. “I am incredibly proud of the work we do here, and I am humbled by the strength and determination of our residents and their families. This new role will allow me to continue to walk alongside the youth here as they heal and take the next steps towards successful futures, and I am grateful for the opportunity,” said Wines.

About The Barry Robinson Center

The Barry Robinson Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides a holistic environment that sets military-connected youth and their families on the path to healing. Our staff includes qualified and compassionate therapists, teachers, counselors, doctors, nurses, and dietitians. Our open, college-like campus on the border of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia, combines modern residential facilities with several original colonial-style buildings dating to 1933. This combination makes it one of the most beautiful and unique residential treatment centers in the region. Our campus provides a safe and serene setting for programs designed to help military-connected youth and their families overcome emotional and behavioral difficulties.

As one riffles through national headlines, the overwhelming number of articles discussing the demand for staff cannot be ignored. “Help Wanted” signs are in every window locally, and large billboards detail the employee benefits for a variety of companies as you maneuver through the traffic in Hampton Roads. Employees, depending on their skills, appear to have the luxury of being very selective in their career choices. Job seekers no longer have to settle; they are able to commit their time and energy to organizations that offer more—more benefits, more advancement, and more purpose.

While these other companies are struggling to fill vacancies, The James Barry-Robinson Institute (JBRI) has 95% of positions filled! So how is a nearly ninety-year-old nonprofit in Norfolk, Virginia, not only filling those vacancies but also filling them with exceptional candidates that see a future with the organization?

There are a few variables to consider:

The leadership is outstanding! While other firms post jobs on the standard job boards and websites and wait for calls, the team at JBRI seeks out candidates who not only have the qualifications but also understand the culture of the organization. A huge part of the mission at The Barry Robinson Center, JBRI’s residential program, is to serve military- connected youth and their families. Candidates who have an understanding of military life and the challenges military-connected youth often face arrive on campus, and they instantly find a connection to the incredible work being done. Jen Padavana, Director of Engagement, states, “We place our mission first. The youth and families we serve deserve to interact with a staff that puts the “why” into their role every day.”

The culture of the organization is central to its success! CEO Robert McCartney often says, “To work here, you have to be competent, be kind, and have fun!” While many companies might portray a similar ethos as they share smiling stock images on recruitment ads and talk about the family environment future employees may enjoy, the team at JBRI lives by the standard. Recently, employees were asked, “Why do you love working here?” for a simple video to obtain organic reactions in an impromptu setting. It was remarkable how, regardless of which department we were speaking to, the answers were very similar. They genuinely love their job, the mission-driven work they do, and the environment in which they work.

JBRI has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the last ten years! With the expansion of the Intensive Outpatient Program for teens and young adults as well as JBRI’s poverty initiative, Next Step To Success, aimed at helping teens in Norfolk realize their incredible potential, the organization not only seeks new hires but also looks within when promotions are made and new projects need an inspirational leader.

Prospective employees want to know they can look forward to new roles, professional growth, and, of course, competitive compensation. They trust that those opportunities can be found within JBRI; there is no need to look elsewhere.

At conferences and events, it is not uncommon for participants to ask questions about The Barry Robinson Center. They have heard about our program, our focus on care, and our many success stories and want to know more. As a nearly ninety-year-old nonprofit, we are eager to share our perspective with others and how they can also choose to put connection before correction. However, some of what we do can’t be put into words. The unspoken personal dedication within our team is what makes the organization special.

Upon walking back to my office this summer, Laura Chaney, our Director of National and OCONUS Relations, passed me in the hall. She greeted me with a smile, but Laura had that look—the look many have seen before—that she had a family that needed our help, and that was her focus. The file in her hand represented a mission. Within a matter of minutes, I could hear the halls buzzing with activity. This military-connected family was from outside the United States, and their child needed urgent acceptance into our facility. Within two hours, our clinical team reviewed the files for admission, the youth was assigned a therapist familiar with the unique needs of the resident, and their room was being prepared.

Throughout the next 24 hours, as we tracked the process of the case, we watched as our fantastic admissions team organized a myriad of details and reviewed flight options, determining whether the family would be coming in on a military flight or a commercial flight. When arrangements were settled, the second stage of the mission went into effect. Our Senior Vice President, Dr. Chuck Brooks, a remarkable man who has dedicated more than 50 years to the field, chose to collect the family personally from the airport. This type of personal connection is typical for Dr. Brooks, a man who makes you feel that you have known him for a lifetime and values the importance of a handwritten thank-you note. He acknowledges parents are making a monumental decision when choosing residential treatment for their child, and even after decades in the field and hundreds of admissions similar to this one at The Barry Robinson Center, the admission of each child should be taken with a renewed sense of hope and dedication to healing. So, when the flight was delayed by several hours, Dr. Brooks was still there, waiting for the exhausted family to arrive and helping them check in to their hotel around midnight. So, this family never had to question the next step; Laura had left a welcome basket in their room, letting them know she would be there in the morning to pick them up to begin the admissions process on campus.

After this type of admission is finalized, one could say “mission complete,” but it’s just the beginning. Connection and trust are continuous and central to our mission of improving the lives of children and their families. So, when others ask, “Why do parents choose The Barry Robinson Center?” or “What makes you different from other residential facilities?” The answer is often intangible. We are proud to say, “This is what we do and who we are.” Because in the end, one’s commitment and devotion cannot be measured.

Please contact us to learn more about our services or to refer a youth in need