SCHOLARSHIP AWARD: $1,000
New Fairfield HS – New Fairfield, CT
Growing up, like most kids, the phrase “clean and sober” didn’t hold any significant meaning to me. I never thought by freshman year, adding the words, “I am” to the phrase would make it my proudest accomplishment today. Six days ago, I celebrated three years of continuous sobriety. Every day, since April 21, 2013, I have been celebrating the opportunity to be a son to my parents, a brother to my siblings, and most importantly, a young person in recovery.
After Mr. Herren told his story to my high school back in 2014, I became inspired to spread awareness on adolescent drug abuse by telling my story. Independently, I started sharing my story with schools, adolescent treatment centers, and other people that currently struggle in active addiction. My heart feels for the person that thinks they are alone in this disease, so I try to speak whenever asked, and reach out to the addict that is still suffering whenever I can.
I am not alone in my activist pursuits. Sophomore year, I joined my town’s Drug Prevention Council and became my school’s Going Purple Student Representative. This position allows me to be a part of organizing different prevention and awareness based events geared toward educating the community on the effects of drug abuse. When I originally joined, it was me and a few concerned parents at a library table brainstorming different ideas. Today the council is made up of my superintendent of schools, principal, social workers, guidance counselors, numerous community members, and a number of students as well. We all work together to make things happen in my town, especially during Going Purple week. We typically dedicate at least three months worth of planning for that week and every year, Going Purple is a huge success in New Fairfield. It has been extremely fulfilling to be a part of the fight against substance abuse with my community, as well as independently.
Today, on day 1,102 of being clean, I’m proud to be purple. This movement has removed the isolation I felt as a young person in recovery. This movement has given me countless reasons to stay sober for the people still suffering when I did not want to stay clean for myself early in sobriety. I’m fortunate to live in a community that tries to carry the Project Purple Initiative. Going Purple in New Fairfield means, you are willing to be an ear to listen, a hand to hold, and a shoulder to cry on when your help is needed. It is only through this initiative that I learned, I am good enough, but WE are better than I can ever be.