Longwood has been awarded a $25,000 grant to expand the University’s program to support students in recovery from addiction.

Funded by a federal grant to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the money was awarded to Dean of Student Engagement Cheryl Steele and Ashley Green, graduate assistant, to expand the Longwood Recovers program, which seeks to provide a safe environment for students in recovery from addition-related issues or exploring recovery.

The program has grown from an effort initiated in 2013 by Dr. Kevin Doyle. Steele and Green said the resource is needed now more than ever amidst the pandemic, which has had a tremendous impact on students’ mental health and led some to turn to substances. Longwood Recovers provides a place to meet other like-minded students.

“I think if we can have that early intervention at this point in a student’s life, it can change the trajectory of their life,” said Green, a second-year graduate student in Counselor Education. “They are so brave to be making these changes and recognizing those behaviors so early on. Recovery is something that should be celebrated, not stigmatized. And we have a lot of fun because it’s about celebration!”

Longwood was awarded an initial $50,000 grant to help build and grow the program two years ago. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) serves as the lead institution for a network of 8 universities across the state, including Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. This collaboration builds on the success of VCU’s Rams in Recovery program.

“I would like to thank the sponsors of this grant for making this possible. Without them, resources were having to be stretched, so it really is a gift and we want to do everything we can to put it to good use,” Steele said.

With the new resources, Steele and Green have important plans for this year’s activities, including the introduction of Longwood’s first coffee bike. “We’re taking Longwood Recovers on the road – well, to Brock Commons – to pedal (and peddle) free coffee and share information about recovery,” Green said.

Longwood’s Office of Research, Grants, and Sponsored Projects (ORGSP) provides support to university faculty and staff interested in obtaining external funding for their research, scholarly and creative activities. The comprehensive support services ORGSP provides to the campus community for the preparation and successful administration of externally sponsored projects include funding searches, proposal development guidance and support, proposal review and submission, negotiation and processing of awards, execution of contracts and sub-awards, interpretation of sponsor guidelines and requirements, and professional development workshops.

If you would like more information about ORGSP, please call 434-395-2987 or email Dr. Alix Fink (finkad@longwood.edu) or Jim Wiecking (wieckingjw@longwood.edu).