May 2022

Spring fever is in the Nexus house this month! Anticipation and media buzz are building for the inaugural launch of the Auxiliary of Nexus’ Mother’s May Brunch on May 21; a longtime Nexus volunteer explains her spirit of volunteerism; the Nexus campus is increasing the security of its community, thanks to the donation of six Automated External Defibrillators (AED) from Living For Zachary; and Nexus alum, Ryana Asgarali, lets us get up close and personal.


Living For Zachary donates AEDs to Nexus

If it’s true that fortune favors the bold, then we’re incredibly grateful that Nexus Recovery Center is the recipient of six automated external defibrillators (AEDs), from Living For Zachary, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness and prevent sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in youth.

Nexus COO, Charles Betts, accepts the donation of 16 AEDs, from Melanie Patterson, of Living For Zachary.

The AED is a device that helps people in the midst of a sudden cardiac arrest episode. The device not only analyzes a person’s heart rhythm, but also provides defibrillation or delivers an electric shock to the heart, to bring it back in rhythm.

At Nexus, one AED will be placed in each building housing residential clients, and the admissions building. Nexus has two dorms for Adult Women, one dorm for people in the Pregnant and Parenting Women with Children program, one Detox dorm and the Child Development Center.

Through its AED Donation Program, Living For Zachary donates AEDs to Texas organizations that work with people from the ages of 12 to 22. Additionally, recipients also must demonstrate a financial need for the device or don’t have adequate AEDs for proposed facilities.

In addition to generously gifting Nexus with the AEDs, the donation program also provides instruction on their use.

“We definitely provide training; we provide CPR and AED training free of charge for people located in North Texas,” said Kendra Briscoe, marketing communications manager for Living For Zachary. Kendra also said certification in the use of AEDs last for two years, after which the non-profit will return to recertify Nexus personnel initially trained on the device’s use. During the three-hour training program, trainees will receive instruction (for up to eight people) in CPR and CPR using the AED.

Items contained in AED kits include the defibrillator, a five-year battery, a 9-volt battery and adult pads, which need to be replenished after each use, as the shock is delivered to the person through the pads.  

Thanks to Living For Zachary’s donor support and business partnerships, the organization was able to provide a total of 75 defibrillators this year, to area organizations that qualify for the AED Donor Program. In fiscal year 2021, the non-profit provided 62 defibrillators to area organizations.

The young man, in whose honor Living For Zachary is named was Zachary Troy Schrah. It was during football practice at Plano East High School in 2009 that Zachary, 16, collapsed from SCA. There were no signs or warning that something was amiss with Zachary. His family later discovered Zac’s death was due to congenital heart diseased named hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is common cause of SCA in not just young athletes, but young people in general. 

“There’s not as much research as you would think surrounding cardiac arrest with young people. It’s something that we definitely were aware of that we see as an issue that needs to be explored further, but yet, you often see it in young athletes. However, you see (SCA) it in kids, too, who unfortunately often will go to sleep one night and not wake up,” said Kendra. She added typically – not all the time – SAC in young people is due to an abnormality or an electrical issue in the heart or a structural issue from birth. “At any given time, if the right circumstances hit and the heart maybe stressed or its just wrong timing, sudden cardiac arrest can happen,” said Kendra.


Nurturing the spirit of volunteerism is joyous for Beverly Barry

Showing kindness, fostering a sense of community, compassion for children and using her servant’s heart to help women in need are the compelling forces inspiring Beverly Barry’s volunteer spirit for Nexus.

The retired drama teacher from St. Mark’s School of Texas, also says it was a chance to dress up in costume and create holiday-themed soirees for children drew her in.

“I love kids,” explains Beverly, detailing her initial foray as a volunteer through her status as an Auxiliary of Nexus member. “I was asked to go out and do a children’s Halloween party in 2005. And to see the moms and the kids – I thought, ‘this is where I want to put my time and energy.’”

Beverly says the mission of Nexus also proved to be a harbinger. She says helping Nexus clients get back on the right track portends bigger implications not just for the clients and their families, but the society at large.

“To know that the women were improving their lives by getting sober, and how that would improve their children and families’ lives, and how that would help our city, the country and the world,” she says. “One stone in the water and the ripples go all the way out. Any good we share with anybody, is good for everybody.”

Additionally, Beverly says she was drawn to volunteer for Nexus because of its female clientele.

“I’ve always been surrounded by boys. I have three brothers, two sons and I taught at St. Marks. I love men and little boys. However, not having a sister – and alcohol had been a big problem in my family – I knew that I wanted to help out women and girls and children,” she says. “I had heard about Nexus. I was very interested in the recovery community. Nexus just seem to be a fit. I feel such a connection with all mothers,” says Beverly, who has two adult sons. “And I feel such a connection with women wanting to make their children’s lives better, and I thought what better way?”

A past president of the Auxiliary, Beverly said the Auxiliary is in flux presently, affected by trends in today’s volunteerism. “There are less and less women who either have the time or want to do social service volunteer work. They’d rather write a check, some would like to do volunteer work, but they have a job – an important career, and if they have a family, they don’t have anytime to do that (volunteering). So our Auxiliary has transformed somewhat, and it is still in a transformational time about what it has been and what it will be. With COVID and the (trend) change in non-profits, we’re having to reconfigure what we’re going to do to raise money for Nexus,” says Beverly. “Our mission is to raise money for Nexus. We bring money to give to those areas that would not be happening (from other sources).”

But Beverly is confident the spirit of volunteerism will never be extinguished and Nexus should have no fear.

“We have a large element of our society who struggles with addiction. It’s a known entity and there are many kinds of addiction,” said Beverly.

Learn more about volunteering at Nexus: Volunteer | Nexus Recovery Center. If you’d like to join the Auxiliary of Nexus, please visit: The Nexus Auxiliary | Nexus Recovery Center.


Get Your Raffle On

The anticipation is building for the inaugural launch of the Auxiliary of Nexus’ Mother’s May Brunch. The brunch, which represents the first event the Auxiliary is hosting in two years, will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 21, at the Dallas Country Club and will feature three luxury raffle packages.

Three lucky winners will receive the ‘Queen Mother for a Day’ raffle package, which features gift certificates for a spa, dining and fashion experiences.  Raffle tickets are $25 each or $100 for five tickets. Raffle ticket purchases will soon be available through the Nexus Recovery Center’s website.

Brunch sponsorships and tickets are available now at And Nexus alum, Jade Rose, is the event’s featured speaker.  

The event is getting great media buzz. Last month, brunch chair, Louise Collins, was interviewed by KRLD and print articles about the brunch ran in local publications including Park Cities People. This month, honorary brunch co-chairs Laura and Harriet Jeffers, pa interviews with Fox 4 News and WFAA.


Parenting in recovery

Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Ryana remembers having a normal childhood, playing outside all day with friends as a child and making straight A’s in school. Everything changed when she was 10 years old, and her family life crumbled because of domestic violence. When she was 14 years old, Ryana tried marijuana because her friends said it helped take the pain away. She soon began relying on substances as a coping mechanism and was kicked out of her home when she was 17 years old. She moved with her family to Texas at age 18, but then returned to Florida shortly after. Before age 21, she was drinking every day and began using pills. At age 22 or 23, she tried heroin. As her substance use disorder became more severe, she started having more issues with her relationships and ended up homeless. She felt imprisoned not only by the substance itself and its physical and emotional toll on her, but also by the lifestyle around getting it and using. She also began having legal troubles. In 2012, she returned to Texas. In 2019, she entered a state-funded judicial treatment center, but relapsed when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. Once Ryana discovered that she was pregnant, she tried to get sober on her own, but struggled to maintain it. During the winter storm in February 2021, she went to Parkland and told her probation officer that she had relapsed. Instead of going to jail, she entered treatment at Nexus.

Ryana with her son, Valor.

In March 2021, Ryana was admitted into the Pregnant and Parenting Women with Children (PPWC) program while she was in her second trimester. She appreciated how the staff were warm, welcoming, and attentive. While at Nexus, she was able to learn many things about substance use disorders and their impact on the brain and attended music therapy sessions, which were one of her favorite things to do. She is also appreciative of the PPWC’s focus on parenting education. “They teach you not only the things that every parent should know about a child, but they teach you how to cope with these things as a parent in recovery with children of various ages,” says Ryana. “It’s not easy to be a parent first of all, but then add recovery on top of that and it gets very difficult. Nexus offers the tools and coping mechanisms to be patient [and] present for your children.”  

Ryana completed residential treatment just shy of 60 days and has remained active in Nexus Generations. She says that the program has been a major factor in her recovery success today because of the opportunities for connection. In addition to the Sober Mom Squad, a support group for moms in recovery, staff stay in contact and check in on her and provide resources and help for moms.

It’s not easy to be a parent first of all, but then add recovery on top of that and it gets very difficult. Nexus offers the tools and coping mechanisms to be patient [and] present for your children

These days, Ryana enjoys spending quality time with her son, Valor, and the people she loves. “Being a mom has changed my life in the best way possible,” she says. “It is the best thing and my favorite thing in my whole entire life.” She also enjoys taking care of her responsibilities, which makes her feel accomplished and productive. Although she is still on probation, Ryana anticipates moving to the final phase of her drug court program in the next month or so and expects to close her CPS (Child Protective Services) case in July of this year. She has also found a great NA (Narcotics Anonymous) sponsor and a great home group and attends NA meetings regularly. Ryana hopes to go back to school to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor and then get a bachelor’s degree in psychology, since she has always wanted to help people help themselves.

Reflecting on her recovery, Ryana says, “I’ve never been this clean for this long in my entire life. I feel very accomplished. It’s a sense of freedom that I’ve never experienced before.”