Five Questions With The Morgan School & Jared Eliot Middle School, Clinton, CT
Q: How long have you been Purple?
In early 2016 we kicked off the THP Project Purple Initiative at our high school with a school assembly. We showed a brief video of one of Chris Herren’s interviews, shared THP Project Purple’s mission statement with the entire student body and provided every student with purple “Game Changer” rubber bracelets. At the beginning of this school year, we held a similar assembly in our middle school. Project Purple club membership now exists in both schools, with in-school teacher advisors.
Q: Why did you decide to bring the THP Project Purple Initiative to your school and community?
Not enough was being done in our community to educate our kids or families about the drug epidemic, addiction and the consequences of make poor choices. Despite the statistics, and the results of recent high school surveys that showed an increase in drug use by teens in CT, many parents think “not my kid”. Every day we read stories of another “good kid” with “good grades” from a “good family” battling addiction, or worse, dying of a drug overdose. I think there is a perception, especially in smaller communities, that we are somehow immune; that could not be farther from the truth. We’ve lost a few children in our town. Teenagers are naturally curious, and risk takers; they tend to push boundaries. Students are also under a tremendous amount of pressure and stressed out for a variety of reasons. Drug experimentation should never be their outlet or answer. We do not want to lose any more sons, daughters, moms, dads, friends or neighbors. We know families are suffering and they need to know their community cares and they have support. We believe in THP Project Purple’s mission and beliefs, that you are good enough the way you are, without drugs and alcohol.
Q: What activities are you doing this year that you’re most excited about?
This year we held our 1st Annual THP Project Purple Community Dodgeball Tournament and 1st Annual THP Project Purple Hot Shot Tournament for our middle school kids. We will be making those annual events during THP Project Purple week in January. In the spring of 2017, we plan to organize a Color Run. Before Chris arrived in our community, our high school students held a Project Purple Spirit week. They handed out 729 purple lollipops with the “Good Enough, Purple and Proud” message attached. Those lollipops represented the number of people in CT who lost their life because of a drug overdose. Students were also asked to guess how many purple jellybeans were in a jar. The number of jellybeans, which was 888, represented the number of people projected to die in CT in 2016 of a drug overdose based on the current trend. Students and teachers also signed an “I AM” Banner and wore “I AM” name tags to help express what they were most proud of.
Q: Favorite Memory from a Project Purple event?
We have two favorites. Our Friends of Clinton Youth and Family Services Bureau held our very first THP Project Purple Community Dodgeball Tournament this year. 17 adult and student teams, (10 people on each team,) participated, which is quite an achievement in our small community. The community support we received that evening was overwhelming. The other is the day 496 large purple flags went up all over our town. The purple flags represented the number of fatal drug overdoses in CT in 2014. The effort was organized by Clinton’s “Pretty Committee”, an all-volunteer group who makes sure our small shoreline town is always looking her best. Everyone asked about the flags, so it increased awareness and started a very important conversation in our community.
Q: Favorite piece of THP gear?
Our purple “Game Changer” bandanas have been a hit with our students. They wore them during our dodgeball and hot shot tournaments, and during Project Purple Spirit Week. We have also been selling purple bracelets to our community; they were designed and created by one of our non-profit group members.