Ocean City educators announce Project Purple anti-substance campaign

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Cindy Nevitt / Former NBA player Chris Herren shares the story of his 14-year drug addiction with an audience Thursday night at Ocean City High School. Cindy Nevitt / Former NBA player Chris Herren shares the story of his 14-year drug addiction with an audience Thursday night at Ocean City High School.

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City High School will be going “Purple” to kick off an anti-substance abuse awareness program created by former NBA basketball player Chris Herren.

The Project Purple kick-off will take place 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 during the boy’s basketball game against St. Augustine’s Prep at Ocean City High School, Sixth Street and Atlantic Avenue.

This will be the second time Herren will address students and parents of the district. Former addict turned motivational speaker and author, Herren first spoke at two assemblies last April that were met with rave reviews from students, parents and faculty. Both of Herren’s appearances were made possible by the Ocean City Education Foundation.

Thanks to a grant from the Ocean City Home Bank Charitable Foundation, all students from both Ocean City and Upper Township school districts will receive a free Project Purple T-shirt at the game by showing their school identification when they enter.

Project Purple is an initiative of The Herren Project, a non-profit foundation established by Herren that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction. Project Purple’s goals are to create awareness and educate the public on substance abuse, while encouraging people of all ages to make good choices and stand up to drugs and alcohol.

The program will also raise funds to provide treatment for those who need assistance to overcome substance abuse.

The Project Purple concept was developed when Herren, who struggled with substance abuse throughout his basketball career, was speaking at a local high school and the students in the front row were wearing purple shirts.

After Herren shared his story, one of the students wearing a purple shirt raised her hand and stood up to speak. As snickering and laughter could be heard in the auditorium, the student said, “Thank you Mr. Herren for validating what we do. We are the sober students of this high school and each year we take a pledge to not use drugs or alcohol.”

Herren was captured by the courage it took to stand up and share the symbolism of the purple shirts, and was inspired to make a difference amongst adolescents across the United States.

For more information on Project Purple, see www.GoProjectPurple.org or www.theherrenproject.org. For more information on the Ocean City Education Foundation, see www.ocnjef.com.


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