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Blossoms of Hope event highlights sober living in college


A Collegiate Recovery Program student gets a photo with Keynote Speaker, Susan Packard

The Jamie Daniels Foundation welcomed Susan Packard, co-founder of HGTV and author, as its keynote speaker for a luncheon on April 4, 2024, which focused on collegiate recovery programs and their benefits.

By Stacey Winconek

The Jamie Daniels Foundation welcomed Susan Packard, co-founder of HGTV, author of several books and advocate for college students in recovery, as the keynote speaker for its Blossoms of Hope luncheon on Thursday, April 4 at The Community House in Birmingham. Fox 2 Detroit’s Kellie Rowe was the Master of Ceremonies for the program, which included a panel of three representatives from collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) supported by the Jamie Daniels Foundation.    

Packard, who is in long-term recovery, discovered CRPs when she was asked to be the Grand Marshall at Michigan State University in the fall of 2019. She met students from the university’s CRP and was so inspired, she went on to collect stories about sober living during college from students in CRPs in Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona and more. She detailed their experiences in her book, The Little Book of College Sobriety: Living Happy, Healthy and Free.

“Having met these students, their courage, their resiliency — when everyone around them is partying, drinking and carrying on — and they’re choosing a different path, a better path for themselves, the strength that takes, those are all exemplary leadership qualities and so I wanted to support them,” Packard said during her keynote speech, in which she welcomed Caleb Knight, a student at Columbia University in New York, who is in long-term recovery, to share his experiences.

Like Packard, the Jamie Daniels Foundation is passionate about supporting college students in recovery. Here in Michigan, the Jamie Daniels Foundation provides funding to collegiate recovery programs at nine universities including University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Mid-Michigan College, Oakland University, Ferris State University, the University of Olivet, Central Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College and most recently, Wayne State University.

“Essentially, my goals are the same as Jamie Daniels (Foundation), which is to help support and grow collegiate recovery communities,” Packard said, adding that currently only 5% of universities have CRPs.

CRPs are incredibly beneficial during the college experience, which is filled with temptation and can be overwhelming for students in recovery. In fact, 1 in 3 college students involved in collegiate recovery programming report that they would not be in college if it were not for recovery support.

During the panel, representatives from three universities — Matt Statman, CRP Manager at the University of Michigan, Dawn Kepler, CRC Coordinator at Michigan State University, and Erin Cox, CRP Coordinator at Wayne State University — provided details about the collegiate recovery programs at their respective universities and how funding from the Jamie Daniels Foundation has been integral in the success of their programming.

“It has made our program happen. Quite literally, without them, we would not be existing,” Cox said of the funding from the Jamie Daniels Foundation. “ …We are so grateful for the Jamie Daniels Foundation.”

Through funding, the University of Michigan’s CRP has been able to hire additional help to take on caseloads. Meanwhile, Michigan State University has been able to provide the Jamie Daniels Memorial Scholarship, in addition to having live-in support for students in recovery.

Sustaining and expanding collegiate recovery programs throughout the state of Michigan is one of the goals of the Jamie Daniels Foundation. “We know that this disease runs deeper than just the individual. Our hearts will never heal over the loss of my son, Jamie, but it is my hope that through the Jamie Daniels Foundation that we can affect change so no one else will have to suffer a loss like my family has and others in this room today,” Lisa Daniels-Goldman, co-founder of the Jamie Daniels Foundation, told Blossoms of Hope attendees.  


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