In 2012, Chris Herren, founder of Herren Project, spoke at Mount Hope High School in Bristol, Rhode Island, where a group of students was sitting in the front row wearing purple shirts. After Chris shared his story, one of the students raised their hand and said, “Thank you, Mr. Herren, for validating what we do. We are sober students, and each year we choose not to use drugs or alcohol.” Chris was inspired by the courage it took to stand up and share their purple shirts’ symbolism. Empowered to make a difference for adolescents everywhere, the THP Project Purple Initiative was born. From April 2014 through April 2019, the initiative empowered schools and communities nationwide to “GO PURPLE” and stand against substance abuse, encouraging living substance-free.
As Chris continued to speak across the country, more middle and high school students continued to reach out to Herren Project to share their stories and look for support. With the growing need for prevention and wellness resources, Herren Project knew it could make an even more significant impact on today’s youth. A group of educators, clinicians, student adjustment counselors, and students came together to create a program to meet the social and emotional needs of elementary, middle, and high school students. In April 2019, the THP Project Purple Initiative was officially retired, opening the door to an evidence-informed peer-to-peer club environment called Herren Project Clubs.