To support and recognize UConn students who are in recovery from addiction

Helping others Find The Light.

Collegiate Recovery Scholarship Support A Project of UConn Crowdfunding Iniatives

February 8th, 2016: Today marks my one-year anniversary of sobriety. On this day last year I began my journey of recovery, a new way of living that would save and change my life. Today I identify as a person in recovery, which for me means I no longer drink alcohol or use any other illicit substances.

Making this change at 21 years old was not something I ever imagined having to do, and certainly not a path that I could expect anyone to join me on, or be prepared to talk me through. I was apprehensive and scared, but thankfully not for long. On my first day of sobriety I was introduced to the UConn Recovery Community (URC), a collegiate recovery program here at UConn that accepted me, supported me, and guided me through a commitment that would change my life for the better.

I truthfully thought it would be impossible to live sober on a college campus but I was mistaken. This community helped me get through the most difficult days without picking up a drink. I learned how to have fun in sobriety without needing or wanting a mind-altering substance.

Many UConn communities, in addition to the URC, helped me to get where I am today. When the staff at the Student Union saw me struggling, they encouraged me to seek professional help. I started utilizing Wellness and Prevention Services and spent months with the dedicated staff in Counseling and Mental Health Services.

Community Standards was prepared to suspend me from the University, for having four documented incidents of endangering behavior while under the influence, during my time as an undergraduate. I was one month sober and had been attending the URC every week when the board scheduled my final meeting to determine the consequences for these student code violations. Because of my sobriety they decided to give me a final chance.

Thanks to all of these communities that believed in me, I graduated from UConn happier and healthier than I had been in a long time. My hope is that my story touches just one other student who is struggling with addiction and empowers them to join the UConn Recovery Community. They too can win this battle while on a college campus.

John Carter Whitney Scholarship: On March 31st, 2015, with almost two months of sobriety, I was the first college recipient of the John Carter Whitney scholarship: a scholarship for students at UConn recovering from addiction and utilizing the services of the URC. This was the most meaningful scholarship I had ever received because I was being commended and recognized for joining a community that is often stigmatized and misunderstood. It helped me to stop hiding from this disease and to share my story.

As part of my recovery journey, I started to make gratitude lists. This scholarship was among the things I was and continue to be most grateful for—because on my difficult days it reminds me that I matter – my LIFE matters. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 570,000 lives are lost to addiction every year. This is 570,000 lives too many.

I had the opportunity to meet with the donor of this scholarship, fueling an even more intimate appreciation for this honor. We connected over our shared experience of addiction and recovery. This person had tragically lost her brother, John, to this disease on December 1st, 2011. He was one of the 570,000 people taken before finding the light of recovery. This scholarship blessed me with an inspiring and incredibly supportive mentor and friend who has made more of an impact on my recovery experience than she will ever know.

Today there are 23.5 million people suffering from addiction in this nation. I am one of them. But because of UConn's commitment to provide dedicated services and communities for students like me, I was able to find a light that many spend their whole lives looking for.

Where I am now: In one year of sobriety I have graduated college, traveled to seven countries in Europe, started a full-time job working for a therapeutic group home with adolescent boys, and have applied to graduate school programs.

I have re-discovered the ambition, energy, and appreciation for life I once had – that my addiction had buried within me. I have received an invitation to interview with the Marriage and Family Therapy programs at UConn, Texas Tech, Colorado State University, and Syracuse. In fall of 2016 I hope to enter into one of these programs and study the impact of addiction and recovery on adolescent development.

I want to continue to shine a light on other college students who have committed to a life in recovery while pursuing higher education. The John Carter Whitney scholarship made an everlasting impact on my life and I foresee it making a huge difference in the lives of other students who are on a similar journey as myself.

I don't think there is a person out there whose life is completely untouched by addiction. Please consider donating to this very meaningful scholarship fund. But even more significantly, share my story and contribute to de-stigmatizing addiction and spreading a positive message of collegiate recovery.

For more information on collegiate recovery visit these websites:

UConn Recovery Community Webpage:

Association of Recovery in Higher Education:

Supported by 34 Donations:

  • Jennifer S.
  • Montique C.
    I Gave $50
  • Jeri B.
    I Gave $100
    So happy for you this is wonderful ❤️
  • Karen L.
    Karen L. '96
  • Michael & Colleen G.
    I Gave $23
    Happy 23rd Birthday!!!!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $100
  • Michael & Colleen G.
    We thank God everyday for bringing you into our lives!!!
  • Catherine C.
    I Gave $100
  • David  O.
    Congrats Ashley and thanks for your continued work supporting URC!
  • Heather M.
    I Gave $50
    A small ripple will become a huge tide.
  • Silhouette
  • Monique N.
    I Gave $25
    Ashley- You are truly an inspiration! Continue to inspire others with your story of strength and resilience. Love, Your UConn Connects Fam
  • Alessia S.
    I Gave $10
  • Meghan C.
    I Gave $100
  • Jessica C.
    I Gave $100
    Ashley - Congrats!! You're truly an inspiration...make the rest of your life the best of your life!!
  • Joseph v.
    I Gave $50
    I donated $50 Ashley V's Dad
  • chris p.
    I Gave $25
    God Bless!
  • Ashley  V.
    I Gave $100
  • Andrea B.
    Ashley, Your story is truly inspirational. For every quest, a beacon of hope shines brightly. Continue to shine on & share your light!
  • Marisa M.
    I am so proud of you! Beyond blessed to call you my best friend and sister. Love you Ash.
  • Roberta K.
    I Gave $365
    Ashley, Honoring your 365 days, commitment, strength, love, and humanity. Proud of you today, always. Love, Aunt Roberta !!
  • Melanie K.
    I Gave $10
  • Heather D.
    Everyone should be able to find a way to believe their life is important!