KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. (WDVM) — According to the Addiction Center, millions of American lives are changed forever through drug and alcohol related substance abuse. However, Jefferson County Public Schools are empowering students to become each other’s mentors through the Recovery Coach Academy.

“We all go through crisis at some point in our lives, or change, or we want to set goals,” said Vice President of Grace Project Marti Steiner. “But definitely, if you go to other places in West Virginia it’s very visible. Our addiction issue is very impactful to everyone as a state.”

For the first time, over 50 Jefferson County students are taking part in West Virginia’s State Senator John Unger’s Grace Project. Over four weeks, students will learn how to become addiction mentors and help their community through difficult times.

“I think most people just get into it because they’re bored, or they’re not involved, or they don’t have someone to lean back on so I think more people out in the community having this background will help others,” said JCPS Student Chloe Munslow.

For one student, her father became paralyzed after getting hit by a drunk driver, and she hopes to use his survival story to impact her fellow classmates.

“I want to be the person that people come talk to that they don’t have to go down that path, they don’t have to get in a car intoxicated and try to run away from their problems,” said JCPS Brogan Dozier. “I want to be somebody that’s open that people feel comfortable coming to.”

JCPS is hoping to have the Grace Project available throughout the county for years to come.