THP Project Purple Initiative: Loudoun, VA
Rose Holske and her daughter Grace, a senior at Rock Ridge High School in Loudoun County, VA., stood before the PEER students at the Gum Springs library to share their powerful story- of the dangers of drug use and how addiction affects families as they lost a family member just a few months ago to an overdose. He was an accomplished high school and collegiate athlete whose addiction began after being prescribed an opiate painkiller following a sports-related injury. They are passionate about increasing the awareness among students, are strong supporters of the THP Project Purple Initiative efforts and reached out to the schools for help.
Jennifer Livesay, a recovering addict bravely shared her personal descent into addiction and her inspirational story of recovery. Her brother, Justin Ashby died of a heroin overdose in 2015 and she hopes by sharing her story she will reach youth.
These heartfelt accounts were part of the PEER conference, which served to introduce THP Project Purple Initiative to the Loudoun County Public Schools. The conference, held in November, opened with a video presentation which provided a behind-the-scenes look at THP Project Purple Initiative. The 120 students in attendance representing 15 high schools sat wide-eyed.
Jennifer Wall, LPC, along with the Student Support Services staff at Loudoun County Public Schools, has collaborated with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration to bring THP Project Purple Initiative to Loudoun County. Sheriff Mike Chapman and Major John Fraga were in attendance and addressed the students on the issue and thanked them for their commitment to the cause. The Sheriff’s office provided THP Project Purple t-shirts for all those in attendance.
Since the conference, Loudoun County’s Briar Woods, Riverside, Broad Run, and Dominion High Schools have launched THP Project Purple Initiatives with many more schools following suit.
Broad Run High PEER students are working on many projects including a Purple Out event/walk out during the morning announcements and awareness activities throughout the remainder of the school year. THP Project Purple Initiative pledge sheet and posters are displayed in the hallways.
Plans are in the works with Dominion High’s PEER students. They will share the message with other students during Titan Times and ask them to sign up for information sessions. They will encourage more students to join their efforts. The students are also working on a THP Project Purple Initiative showcase outside the cafeteria. They plan to display flyers and posters in the hallways, have video announcements daily, and have students sign the pledge during all lunch shifts. They will also have stickers and bracelets at the sign up table.
At Briar Woods High, THP Project Purple Initiative posters and information will be displayed in two showcases (in the front lobby) and the bulletin board in the cafeteria. Students are also in the process of developing informational flyers on substance abuse and plan to include THP Project Purple Initiative information.
Riverside High PEER students are working on a “Bridge to the Ridge,” where they will reach out to their neighboring middle school students. As part of the initiative Chris Herren will come to Riverside High on February 15 for an evening speaking event.
LCPS schools and community partners are excited to have Chris come and share his story in Loudoun.