Celebrating One Decade
This year, Herren Project is celebrating its tenth anniversary as a nonprofit organization. To commemorate this occasion and kick off our 2021 Empowerment Appeal, we focus on the people who have positively impacted Herren Project and the cause of addiction in their own unique ways.
Each has played a considerable role in helping to transform an idea into a movement. The “power of one” is more than a phrase but the cultivation and enhancement of our motto, “one person, one family, once community at a time.” A strong community that is changing the face of addiction with the expansion of the Herren organizations’ outreach and the continued cultivation of a community that has come to define our mission to support, inspire and empower those affected by substance use disorder.
During July, in recognition of the transformative power of the individuals who have made a positive impact in our community and beyond, we celebrate 13 men and women who have demonstrated the impact one person can have. Each has exemplified the “power of one” philosophy by harnessing their unique power as individuals to enact positive change and influence in advancing our mission. This starts from the ground up, beginning with our organization’s namesake, Chris Herren, and his wife, Heather. Together, Chris and Heather made it possible to do the life-changing work we do today.
Chris and Heather Herren
When we think of the “power of one,” it is impossible not to consider the profound impact Chris and Heather Herren have made in the lives of millions of people around the globe. Using their own undeniably harrowing experience with addiction, both individually and as a family, Chris and Heather set a new precedent for effective engagement of substance use disorder treatment, recovery, and prevention. With the founding of their three organizations, Herren Project, Herren Talks, and Herren Wellness, they have created a platform for people to be open about their struggles or experiences with substance use disorder and find and celebrate recovery. The basis of Herren Project’s approach for addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery was born through Chris’ efforts to help others understand addiction and address it in a healthy, productive way. Herren Project is the first of its kind, all thanks to Chris’ ability to share his unique story in a way that resonates with people regardless of age, race, gender, or economic status.
When Chris first had the idea to create an organization that would help others find effective and reputable treatment like the Mullins had done for him, he was met with some hesitance. Some didn’t believe that such an approach would be effective or beneficial. Others just didn’t understand. But in their defense, there wasn’t anything or anyone to compare it with. Chris knew an extreme level of vulnerability would be necessary to break the hard-shelled stigma surrounding addiction and the misconceived stereotypes of a person who suffers from the disease. He also knew to have any chance of creating substantial change within our communities; he needed to start with the people at an age where most addiction stories begin: high school. Through his dynamic speaking engagements in high schools across the country, Chris opened the door for young people to be open about substances and their personal experiences. Chris’ unique circumstances allowed him to carefully, yet effectively, dismantle many people’s perceptions about addiction. For prevention, treatment, and recovery to be effective, addiction needed to be ok to talk about outside of the pockets of peer-support rooms and emerge from the shroud of anonymity. There needed to be a person that others of all ages could look up to as an example of someone who not only experienced addiction first-hand but thrived in recovery from it as well.
When discussing addiction as a family disease, there is no better exemplifying figure than Heather Herren. Heather is the epitome of unconditional love and never losing hope, even when her loved one was faced with almost certain death. When we think of Heather and of all the justifiable reasons she had to give up the fight to save Chris, we see the personification of unshakeable hope. Heather’s example helped to guide Herren Project’s inclusion of family-focused support. She showed us that there is no better foundation for recovery in the treatment of addiction than the support of family and the strength of a family. Heather has been a beacon of inspiration to countless families within our organization and beyond. Through her example, we know that there is hope and that the treatment and healing of a loved one’s addiction happens together and that “together we recover.”
How can you be a Power of One?
As Herren Project kicks off its annual appeal, we ask you to ask yourself, “how can you be a power of one?” Whether through sharing your time, talent, or treasures, we have the power to come together to bring hope and healing to those affected by addiction to drugs and alcohol. If you can, we ask you to donate or fundraise on behalf of Herren Project today to the 2021 Empowerment Appeal. Our goal is $250,000 to allow us to continue our work of providing free treatment, recovery, and prevention programs for individuals and communities nationwide