APNC, UNC Systems Office, Independent Colleges & Universities, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, and Appalachian State University present

Tipping the Pain Scale

From Our Partners

Message from Benjamin Asma

Appalachian State University's Collegiate Recovery Community

The Appalachian Collegiate Recovery Community (A-CRC) is a multiple pathways, harm reduction recovery model that honors each student’s unique needs, desires and goals as they continue to define their pathway to recovery.  We respect the autonomy of each student and strive to create a safe and supportive environment to assist students in creating and enhancing their recovery capital by way of focusing on holistic wellbeing and offering various means of recovery support, individual counseling, group meetings, sober social activities and peer support.  We are an inclusive community that provides resources for identity specific needs, taking into consideration the different experiences that people holding different identities, and the intersections of those identities, as they relate to the individual lived experience of a person. Our CRC and associated services can be a stand alone recovery and support program but does not have to be as it is often a complementary component of other recovery initiatives students utilize, such as but not limited to AA, NA, or other services and resources.

Dept of Wellness and Prevention Mission Statement

It is our mission to serve all students through the promotion of healthy behaviors, risk behavior modification services, and advocacy for campus-wide health policies which facilitate student success and holistic well-being. We offer services promoting health awareness and active lifestyles while taking a holistic approach to wellness, encompassing the following eight dimensions:


The Department of Wellness and Prevention Services offers educational programs on topics such as nutrition, sexual health, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, stress, and sleep. The Department hosts events designed to empower students about the importance of self-care. We also offer a variety of individual and group services for students to help them maintain wellness throughout their college careers. Individual therapy, nutrition assessments, and a resource library are just some of the many services offered to students.


The A-CRC is also open and able to engage with and provide support to students enrolled in the local community college, free of charge.


The following individuals have been champions in the creation, development and maintaining of the Appalachian Collegiate Recovery Community:  Jeff Hunsucker, Nicholas Bailey, Kati Woodford, Dr. Alex Howard, JJ Brown, Jennifer Kline, Yasmin Ramadan, Lexi Gross, Kiauhna Haynes, Audrey Lipschutz, Kayla Cheek, Jessica Souza, Annalyn Hall, Joy Green, Chris Campau, Emmy Knowles, Jarmichael Harris, Dr. Bethany Meighen, Lydia Mayer, and lastly our heroic educator, clinician, mentor and friend—Dr. Geri Miller!

The Division of Student Affairs in its entirety has served as a significant support system for our services and students, providing endless support and compassion for our students and efforts.

The Watauga Substance Action and Prevention Coalition for continued support and engagement with our department and community at large.

Appalachian State University Athletics for continued support and collaboration on efforts with our Collegiate Recovery Community, visiting friends and allies.

Our state partners, APNC and DHHS for providing technical support, grant funding, professional development and training opportunities, and mentorship along the way.

The North Carolina Higher Education AOD Coalition for holding the space to address the wellness needs of our students and state in an authentic supportive community of champions for the wellbeing of others.

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Joseph Green

Joseph Green

LMS Voice

Amber Dixon

Amber Dixon

Western Youth Network

Ashley Wurth

Ashley Wurth

Mediation and Restorative Justice Center

Sara Howe

Sara Howe , MBA, MS, CHES

Chief Executive Officer

Stephanie Almeida

Stephanie Almeida, CADC, CPS

Full Circle Recovery Center; Smoky Mountain Harm Reduction

Panelist Bios

Joseph Green is a motivational speaker, educator, trainer, professional storyteller, award-winning spoken word poet, and a person in long-term recovery. Joseph’s life story and work are featured in media outlets such as Youth Today, UpWorthy, PBS NewsHour, NPR, and many more. Joseph’s presentations and workshops are for anybody seeking a reconnection to purpose, motivation, or community.

Joseph has partnered with many programs making a positive change in schools and communities nationwide. He has designed youth empowerment programs and a comprehensive training for adults working in youth development.


Sara Howe is an award-winning, nationally recognized behavioral health leader with 20 years of experience building successful coalitions to take organizations to the next level. Sara holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health promotion from Purdue University and an MBA from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. Sara served on the board of directors and as public policy chair of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing for seven years. She also recently served as chair of the Illinois Department of Human Services Social Services Advisory Council.

Ashley Wurth is a High Country native who has worked in local harm reduction initiatives for the last few years. In 2020, she joined the Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, where she currently serves as the Clinical Case Manager for the Watauga Detention Recovery on the Inside Program and Watauga LEAD.

Ashley holds a B.S. in Psychology, M.A in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate in Addictions Counseling from Appalachian State University and is a North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist. She lives in Boone, NC, with her kids, Blaze and Delilah.

Stephanie Almeida is the owner of the Full Circle Recovery Center and the Executive Director of Smoky Mountain Harm Reduction, both located in Franklin, Macon County, North Carolina. She holds credentials as a NC Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and Certified Prevention Consultant (CPS). Through her clinical knowledge and 20+ years of harm reduction experience, she works to bridge the gap between substance use, prevention and treatment, harm reduction, recovery support services and HIV/HCV related issues.

Amber Dixon (she, her, hers) serves as Western Youth Network’s Interim Director of Community Health. She has a background in anti-gender based violence and worked in crisis intervention before joining WYN’s primary prevention work. Her passion lies in shaping equitable, intersectional, social change through primary prevention and building connections. Outside of work she is an avid climber, hiker, waterfall chaser, reader, and loves to find the humor in life. She and her partner live in Boone with their family and very happy dog, Thistle.