Comittee discusses Project Purple

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — Plans are being finalized for starting Project Purple at Sidney Middle School.

The Shelby County drug Task Force’s Education and Prevention Committee discussed the program during its meeting Tuesday morning at the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department.

“We’re moving forward to launch the program at Sidney Middle School in January,” said Margo O’Leary, Wilson Health.

O’Leary and Ann Geise, Sidney City Schools counselor, will be meeting with the Student Senate advisers Thursday to outline the program. They will meet with Student Senate members in November to find out what the students would like to see included in the program.

“We’re going to let the students guide us as we move forward,” said O’Leary. “The last week of January is Project Purple Week.”

Project Purple is a nationwide program whose goal is to raise awareness about living a substance abuse free lifestyle.

O’Leary said once the program is established at the middle school, other county schools will be approached about joining the project.

Scott Barr, Shelby County United Way, discussed the character playbook which was started in all eight public schools in the county last year. Barr said each student fills out a questionnaire where they self identify themselves. The survey then asks various questions to determine where a student falls in the playbook.

At the end of the course, students take the survey again to see what knowledge they have gained.

“They learn how to resolve conflicts and learn how to step in when they see something that’s not right. It provides a self evaluation for each student,” said Barr.

The program is being taught at the middle schools in the county. The course might be taught in the health/lifestyles class or workforce partnership class.

The program is funded by the national United Way and National Football League.

“We want to give them healthy choice development before entering high school,” said Barr.

Julie Clay, Shelby County Counseling Center, reported a prevention group has been started at Sidney High School. The students meet twice a week for four weeks to talk about different topics.

Ian Ridgeway, Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health, said various schools had applied for mini grants through the agency. A decision will be held later this week on which schools will receive the grants.

The committee also discussed the recent Community Conversation meeting which was held. More than 100 people were in attendance for the meeting. The next open meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. at the Sidney American Legion.

In other business, the committee:

• Discussed the Working Partnership for Drug Free Workforce.

• Discussed national Drug Take Back Day which is set for Oct. 28.

• Discussed family training on Narcan and using it on a family member. More information is going to be gathered on Project Dawn.

The committee’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 9 a.m.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.