East Islip’s varsity softball team all wore purple T-shirts on April 24, a stylistic statement in support of Project Purple’s fight against substance abuse.
Back in February, East Islip coach Jason McGowan had arranged for his players to visit Amityville High School to hear former professional basketball player Chris Herren speak about his career in the NBA and his life as a recovering drug addict. “His message of making the right choices in life was so important,” explained McGowan, who learned that Herren would be launching Project Purple
on April 24, an initiative to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and shed light on effective treatment practices.
“Chris sent me a box of shirts and I gave them out to my players,” said McGowan. “They wore them all day at school to represent the fight against substance abuse.”
“When other people in school see a group of girls wearing the purple shirts, they start to ask why we're wearing them,” said senior Lindsey Zenk. “When we explain that it’s a movement against substance abuse and tell them about Chris Herren, they look up to us. As long as we can change one person's view about substance abuse, it helps."
“Drugs and alcohol are everywhere, and Project Purple reminds us that we have a choice," added senior Courtney Blake.
Said senior Alyssa Groneman, “It takes courage to stand out against the crowd and raise awareness about drug abuse. Herren’s project is a great way for students to realize the awful effects of drugs and learn how to refuse peer pressure. We can make a difference one step at a time.”