Llano Independent School District, located in Llano, Texas, provides a trauma-sensitive school environment where they strive for all students and faculty to feel safe, respected, valued, and meaningfully engaged. With this mission at the forefront of every program they offer, they established two Herren Project Clubs to Support, Inspire, and Empower their school community. Both clubs have integrated the Herren Project Club “Be You” slogan into their club name and are known as the Be You Crew. Club members pride themselves in taking the Herren Project Club Purple Pledge and completing a minimum of two hours of community service. They also focus on leadership development and include student-elected co-leaders and historians in their successful club model.
Advisors and student leaders go above and beyond to educate club members and the entire student body in the five Herren Project Club Pillars of Prevention: Healthy Choices, Decision-Making Skills, Stress Management, Self-Care, and Empowerment. The five pillars of prevention are also put into practice throughout the school year, and this is especially recognized during Wellness Week with Herren and Mental Health Awareness Month.
The two clubs organize outreach efforts and fundraisers to spread awareness and raise money to hold school-wide events. The highlight of May 2022 was Mental Health Awareness Month, when they hosted Chris Herren to present at both the middle and high schools. On the day of Chris’ presentation, the school campuses ramped up their mental health awareness efforts. Students wore purple shirts to show their purple spirit and to celebrate prevention and recovery. The Be You Crew joined in front of the auditorium to welcome Chris Herren.
Here is what Christi Lundby and Christine Appleby, two of the Be You Crew Advisors, had to say after Chris’ presentation:
“The word I keep hearing is impactful. His words were so powerful for our students. We are very grateful for his message.” – Christi Lundby
“The impact of Chris Herren’s presentation to our student body and the staff was educational and inspiring. The impact has motivated continued support for Llano ISD campuses and community as well as having the Be You Crew at LJHS and LHS. There is now a paradigm shift that is occurring in Mental Health awareness and support in our community, and it is not just with our student population. I am so grateful to be a part of the changes that support our community members with mental health care and its challenges.” -Christine Appleby
Chris’s presentation set the tone for an uplifting Mental Health Awareness Month. Students and faculty demonstrated a stronger commitment and deeper awareness of mental health and substance use challenges. Club members shared mindfulness techniques (using the five senses) with the entire student body and designed a slide show on self-care practices and the importance of mental health awareness.
Engagement is Key
Engagement is the key to successful Herren Project Clubs at Llano Independent School District. Advisors send uplifting weekly messages and activity reminders through Google Classroom. Students love that many of the club’s special events are incorporated into the school day, making student involvement possible regardless of other extracurricular activities.
To promote a welcoming and inclusive school environment, club members focused their planning efforts on ways to show appreciation for every individual that makes up the Llano Junior and Senior High School community.
In November 2022, the Junior High Be You Crew organized an activity and contest that filled the school with gratitude. Students in each grade level competed to have the most gratitude entries added to their turkey displayed on the wall. Club members went around during their lunch period and recruited peers to participate. There was a lot of excitement and camaraderie. In the end, the eighth-grade class had the most gratitude entries and won a pizza party.
Following the success of the Junior High event, the Senior High Be You Crew organized a Kindness activity where students could pick a treat that had a handwritten “feel-good” fortune attached. To pay the act of kindness forward, students created their own kindness cards, using note cards, markers, and stickers, to give to someone in their school community.
Dedicated student leaders host membership drives and Purple Pledge signing events to ensure the Be You Crew continues to thrive long into the future. Thank you to Llano Independent School District for empowering youth to make healthy choices, live substance-free, and be true to themselves.
Be You – Find Your Crew!
Herren Project Clubs is a school-based, evidence-informed prevention and wellness program designed by prevention specialists, clinicians, and school counselors to empower students to live substance-free while creating a peer network in schools. Its goal is to provide tools to strengthen social-emotional learning and coping skills to make healthy choices and live fulfilling lives.
Learn more about Herren Project Clubs and register to start a club at your school.