Archie is enrolled in the College of Health Sciences: School of Community & Environmental Health at Old Dominion University. Courses begin the first week of August 2020. Help Archie graduate debt-free, with a Master of Public Health.
Archie is a community leader bringing over 20 years of experience in neighborhood engagement. He identifies residents in hopes of connecting them to teams of neighbors in a “Block by Block, Neighbor helping Neighbor” system. He actively mentors and trains new interns from Norfolk State University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Wesylan. Archie received an Associate’s Degree from Tidewater Community College in Early Childhood Development. He received a Bachelors of Science with honors, in Early Childhood Education, at Norfolk State University. Boone is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Public Health.
‘Recovery is Possible’
For Boone, a native of the Norview and Park Place neighborhoods, the mission is personal. He can remember standing on local high school football fields doing “Just Say No” campaigns with his mom, whom he said was instrumental in the Norfolk prevention community.
But somewhere along the line, his focus changed. Around his 11th birthday, he said, he became addicted to various substances. While growing up, rap wasn’t allowed in his house — just jazz, which his mom would play while cleaning the house. On Saturday mornings, Boone would head to a local barbershop where he said he learned what was cool.
For much of his teenage years, his mom sent him to a private school in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until he returned to Norfolk at 19 that he realized he’d become someone his mom didn’t raise him to be. “It broke my heart,” he said.
So he got sober — and has stayed that way since Jan. 11, 2002, he said. He found salvation in music — rapping himself and often focusing on his struggles with addiction. And he started giving back to the community, at first informally, until 2016, when he landed an official position with the Norfolk Community Services Board. He traveled across the country — to Las Vegas, Orlando and Buffalo, New York — for training on how to battle the opioid epidemic. He learned how to administer Narcan, which he said he has not personally had to give someone yet. He started stocking the opioid antagonist in his home in 2018.
Boone became certified for the Revive overdose-prevention training and taught others how to use the antidote, including dozens of Eastern Virginia Medical School students and hundreds of sheriff’s deputies. “(The work) has given me a stage — a platform to reach people to say: ‘Recovery is possible,'” he explained.
On any given day, Boone can be found around town or on a Zoom meeting talking about his plans to prevent overdose deaths. He coordinates outreach activities at Norfolk Community Services Board. At public events, Boone and groups provide recovery support services for people with mental illness or those battling addiction.
The goal, Boone said, is simple: “Prevent overdose deaths.” With the possible presence of strong substances like fentanyl, there’s an increased urgency to have these supplies, Winfield said. The early minutes of an overdose are vital to saving someone’s life. Since the state issued a standing order in 2016 allowing anyone to carry naloxone, the antidote has become much more prevalent, Boone said. Virginia Beach police, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services have all carted Narcan for years and will be equipped with it this weekend, said police spokeswoman Linda Kuehn.
Grant funding covers the costs for Boone’s outreach and salary. Starting Fall 2020, Boone’s will be working from his home on the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic and the Global COVID-19 Pandemic. His grant funding is ending after 4.5 years. Until September 31, 2020, Boone will be leading the Connecting Tidewater Campaign. Wellness kits, which reads “We Are Still Here” on the back, are left with Norfolk residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic. They’ll have pamphlets outlining how to get help, iPads to collect people’s anonymous neighborhood assessments, and, of course, information on COVID-19 testing and Narcan.
Archie is enrolled in the College of Health Sciences: School of Community & Environmental Health at Old Dominion University. Courses begin the first week of August 2020. Help Archie graduate debt-free, with a Master of Public Health, Class of 2022.