Longwood Recovers, Longwood’s collegiate recovery program, received a grant this past summer to help grow the program, and is making more efforts to promote it in order to reach more students.
The program, which currently serves about five to seven students, was originally started in 2013 by Dr. Kevin Doyle, associate professor of counseling and coordinator of the counselor education program at Longwood.
He said on the program, “Longwood Recovers is part of a national movement to support students on college campuses who are in recovery already, from a substance-use disorder primarily or other health issues, as well as students who are thinking about making a change.”
In June, they were one of six universities in Virginia to be awarded a grant funded by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (VDBHDS). The grant is worth $50,000, and will be spread over the course of two years.
Ashley Hiemenz Green, graduate assistant and coordinator of Longwood Recovers, said on the grant, “The grant money is going towards raising awareness, supporting the students, facilitating meetings and also facilitating events in addition to visiting other schools to see how they run their recovery programs.”
Thanks to the grant, Green will also be able to attend the Association for Recovery and Higher Education (ARHE) convention, to learn how to better structure the program and raise awareness on Longwood’s campus.
Longwood Recovers currently offers students different options on ways to get help, such as meeting in a group or individually. They currently hold group meetings on Tuesdays at 3:15 p.m. in Upchurch, and those meetings are used as an informal way to touch base and help each other. Students who feel they need more help are also able to meet with Green one-on-one as needed.
Both Doyle and Green want students to know that there are options for them out there, and that they should use them. Their biggest objective is to create a safe environment where the Longwood community can come together and support those who are in recovery or would like to make a change.
Doyle said, “We want to make this a supportive environment that is welcoming to any student. And we want people to know that there is no wrong door to treatment.”
Green added that they also want to get rid of the stigma around recovery and help people learn how to talk about recovery and spread awareness. They also want to reiterate that recovery is always possible no matter how bad, and anyone can get help.
Students can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get help.