BCTC students create support group for recovering students

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky has seen an increase in overdose deaths over the past year. A serious problem, which a group of students have set themselves the task of reducing.

What do you want to know

  • Sylvia Kidwell started a group to support recovering students at BCTC
  • Kidwell uses his second chance to make an impact
  • The group is called Addicts and Allies for Education
  • Kentucky has seen an increase in overdose-related deaths over the past year

Sylvia Kidwell, a student at Bluegrass Community Technical College (BCTC), struggled with addiction for 16 years.

“My children have been placed in foster care. I’ve been to jail, I’ve been to rehab, I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of. But that’s not who I am,” Kidwell said.

Changing her life, Kidwell returned to college to graduate, but left an impact along the way.

“I went to the student organization page and was looking for a group to join and there really wasn’t anything that suited me,” Kidwell said.

Kidwell started an organization called Addicts and Allies for Education, a support system for recovering students.

“Research has shown that for a recovering person, one of the most important factors is a strong support system,” Kidwell said.

Kidwell says when an addict recovers, they lose everything. From the people they’ve hung out with, to the changes in places they go. Everyone starts from scratch.

“And a lot of people want to go back to school, but as a recovering person, you feel like you don’t belong in a place like this,” Kidwell said.

According to the CDC, the United States averaged a 20.6% increase over a 12-month period in drug overdoses between June 2020 and June 2021, with Kentucky increasing 35%.

During that 12-month period, Kentucky reported 2,300 drug overdose deaths.

Kidwell hopes through this group that she can show recovering Kentuckians their worth.

“If you take a $100 bill and you crumple it up in your hand and throw it across the room and stomp on it and put it to the test, it’s still a $100 bill “said Kidwell.

Using her life lessons as a resource to create second chances for others, Kidwell says this group will become a positive change and a resource for students in need.

Addicts and Allies for Education will organize a walk of remembrance in March. They hope to raise awareness of recovery and addiction outside of college and in the community.

Virginia S. Braud