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The McShin Foundation’s Marker Project

chain link fence with wooden white crosses at the mcshin foundation

Each year, thousands of Virginians die as a result of Substance Use Disorders and related causes.

The McShin Foundation’s Marker Project is a mobile movement to honor these lives and bring awareness to the devastation caused by this disease. The McShin Foundation challenged Virginia middle and high schools to a research project to determine the statistics related to Substance Use Disorder deaths in the state. The winning school, Cornerstone Christian Academy located in Appomattox, received a $2,500 prize for their research, which revealed the staggering number of 3,500 individuals lost each year. The Marker Project was born out of this data, to show our communities the toll the disease is taking on our loved ones and to show that there is a solution – and that solution is recovery.

With the help of generous supporters, The Marker Project was lifted off the ground. Sherwin Williams donated 5,000 21” paint sticks, Widespread Solutions donated white paint, and Hurricane Fence Company donated fencing to create this incredible display. McShin staff, participants, board members and volunteers spent two weeks using these materials to cut, sand, paint, and assemble 3,500 individual markers.

Each one representing a life lost.

In 2017, The Marker Project began traveling around the state, bringing together organizations, families, and individuals to share in their grief and work together for a more hopeful future. The Marker Project can be set up in a variety of ways to suite a diverse set of locations and venues. We look forward to continuing to watch this movement grow.

Marker Project 2017-2019 Locations:

  • Crystal Lake Park – Fed Up Hopewell Event Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church
  • Deep Run Park – Out of the Darkness Walk McShin’s Recovery Fest & BBQ Cook Off
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church Celebration Church and Outreach Ministry
  • REVIVE RVA Opioid Summit New Market and Laburnum
  • Church Hill Irish Festival Trinity Christian Church
  • Amelia Academy – Out of the Darkness Walk BAAD 5K – L. Douglas Wilder Middle School
  • Cornerstone Christian Academy – Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America

If you would like to bring the Marker Project to your community, contact The McShin Foundation at (804) 249-1845 or contact Nathan Mitchell at Please provide your name, community location, and proposed date of project set up.

McShin Foundation

Founded in 2004, The McShin Foundation is Virginia's leading non-profit, full-service Recovery Community Organization (RCO), committed to serving individuals and families in their fight against Substance Use Disorders. While providing the tools for recovering individuals to create positive lifestyles, we aim to spread the word of recovery and educate families, communities, and government regarding SUDs as well as reduce the stigma attached to them.

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