How one student in recovery found support and connection at Michigan State University

By: Student engaged in MSU’s Collegiate Recovery Community

I was just having fun, this was the mantra I continued to tell friends, parents, doctors, and the police as my addiction spiraled out of control. Everything revolved around how I was going to use that day, no matter what the cost. There were many mornings that I would wake up and say “Okay, that was scary, I am never using again”, but then a couple of hours, sometimes a couple of minutes later I was using again. At this point in my active addiction I couldn’t stand being sober, but at the same time using drugs and alcohol was destroying me spiritually, physically, and mentally. I didn’t think I would ever be able to break the cycle.

During spring break my freshman year of college, I hit rock bottom. I was desperate to break the chains of active addiction, to never feel this way again. I started going to recovery meetings and with help from the sober community, I got sober on January 11, 2017, and have been ever since. About a year after being in recovery, I was able to transfer to my dream school, Michigan State.

I was really excited when I found out that the Collegiate Recovery Community was available for students like me at MSU. The college environment often revolves around partying, so I often felt like it was hard to connect with other students. The CRC gave me a place on campus where I could cry, laugh, and be surrounded by like-minded individuals who knew what it was like to be a student in recovery.

I was lucky enough to get a leadership role in the club, working as the CRC Ambassador and Student Leader.  This position has given me opportunities to help many other students in recovery, which has had a large impact on my own personal recovery. My hope is that by sharing my experiences with others, it creates a space where everyone can feel open to talking about their own experiences. Addicts helping other addicts is a powerful tool that has gotten me where I am today in my recovery. I believe that being vulnerable is an important part of the recovery process and it is essential to have a safe space to do so. I am grateful that the CRC has given us a space on campus to listen and learn from each other. As much as I try to help the newly sober students, they are helping me stay sober too.

I have experienced personal growth, meaningful relationships, and countless memories from being a part of the CRC these past 3 years. Recovery is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it has been filled with many beautiful moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Before being in long-term recovery, I was never comfortable in my own skin. I am finally getting to a place where I am happy with where I am today. I’ve learned that recovery is not a linear experience, it’s more like a wave with many ups and downs. I have had times in my sobriety where I struggled with severe anxiety and depression, and I have also had long periods of time that I felt peaceful, happy, and content. As long as I keep going to recovery meetings, I know that I can get through whatever life throws my way, and I can get through it sober.

Since 2019, the Jamie Daniels Foundation has provided annual grant funding to Michigan State University’s Collegiate Recovery Community to ensure students in recovery have a safe and supportive community while they pursue their goals.

Helping Students in Recovery Manage the Challenges of College

By: Jessica Miller, Program Manager, Ten16

Pursuing a degree in higher education is an exciting time in a person’s life filled with hopes and dreams for a better future. For many traditional age students “going off” to college means independence and autonomy from any structure they’ve had for the last eighteen years. Other students begin or return to college more established in life, balancing the demands of coursework with responsibilities of career and family. Regardless of age and status in life, all students set a goal, an intention of successfully completing their degree requirements and ultimately graduating.

For students in recovery from substance use disorders the goal includes maintaining their recovery while trying to have a positive college experience. College campuses tend to be among the most recovery-hostile environments; increased access and availability of alcohol and other drugs combined with societal norms of college life, and lack of supports for recovery leave this group of students vulnerable to a return to use and stopping-out.

The Central Michigan Collegiate Recovery, Education and Wellness (CMCREW) program exists to create a community of support for these students, so they don’t have to choose between earning a degree or maintaining their recovery. Managed through a partnership with Ten16, support is available to students at Central Michigan University, Ferris State University and Mid-Michigan College through funding provided by the Jamie Daniels Foundation and The Children’s Foundation.

Students don’t set out with an intention of developing a substance use disorder, it’s not a choice one makes. Unfortunately, experimentation with substances and underage drinking is not new to young adults. What we are seeing now is the new ways in which students are obtaining substances. The pandemic created opportunities for curbside alcohol pick-up and cocktails to go from restaurants and home delivery of cannabis with high levels of THC. Fortunately, students experiencing negative personal and academic consequences of their use can benefit from early intervention utilizing motivational interviewing, which is what we provide through Coaching at no cost for students in or seeking recovery.

Often, students presenting with anxiety and depression also report substance use issues. Students who need substance use counseling often have barriers to accessing services. One of these barriers is often health care coverage. Many students, under the age of 26, are still covered under their parents’ policies and do not want them to find out they are receiving Counseling. In addition to confidentiality concerns, insurance policies can come with high deductibles and co-pays students are unable to pay.

Using the grant funds received from the Jamie Daniels Foundation, CMCREW plans to offer dedicated substance use disorder counseling for students in or seeking recovery free of charge. With this addition, we hope to remove the barrier of health care costs for any student seeking help with substance use disorder.

Raising the visibility of recovery and fighting stigma for MSU students

MSU’s CRC spends an afternoon kayaking in 2020

By Dawn Kepler, Collegiate Recovery Community Coordinator, Health Promotion Department, Michigan State University

Michigan State University’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) and Recovery Housing programs are aim to provide a safe and supportive campus community in which students in recovery from addiction can achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.

The support and grant funding from the Jamie Daniels Foundation and The Children’s Foundation since 2019 have been an important part of our ability to continue and expand support for students in recovery at MSU. This has been especially true over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been a particularly challenging time for young people navigating substance use disorders.

The pandemic has been an isolating experience, and isolation is the risk factor most often cited by MSU’s students in recovery. In addition, research has demonstrated that the presence of peer support is the most important factor in a young person’s ability to maintain sobriety (Kelly, Stout, Greene, & Slaymaker, 2014). As a result, we have seen students struggling to stay engaged with resources to support their recovery and mental health. The grant from the Jamie Daniels Foundation and the Children’s Foundation have helped keep our students in Recovery Housing connected and supported by a live-in Recovery Housing support specialist student position.

“At MSU, the CRC has been the foundation of my social life and growth, allowing me to meet amazing, likeminded, and supportive people,” said one CRC student. “I am very thankful for the CRC and all those who want to make it better.”

The Jamie Daniels Memorial Scholarship has also been a timely support. Job losses and unexpected moves home due to the pandemic added to the financial stress for college students in recovery. Often, these students use college savings to pay for the cost of treatment, are no longer eligible for federal financial aid as a result of past felony drug convictions or have other financial responsibilities that stand as barriers to affording higher education (Harris, Baker, Kimball, & Shumway, 2007).  

There are over 150 collegiate recovery programs nationwide, and their continued growth is important because college students in recovery are often marginalized and underserved on campuses (Brown, Ashford, Thompson Heller, Whitney, & Kimball, 2018). In fact, research suggests that many students in recovery would not be enrolled in college (34%) and would not have selected their present institution (20%) had there not been a collegiate recovery community (Laudet, Harris, Kimball, Winters, & Moberg, 2016).

MSU’s CRC supports young people in and seeking recovery by providing dedicated recovery spaces on campus, raising the visibility of recovery while fighting the stigma associated with addiction, and developing recovery-oriented programming to meet identified student needs. Programming includes Recovery Housing, individualized recovery planning, weekly on-campus recovery meetings, 24-hour admittance to the CRC Student Lounge, counseling support, wellness and life skills workshops, community service opportunities, and organized sober activities.

When adequately supported, students in recovery are some of the most successful students on campus, as demonstrated by MSU’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) students: 100% report cumulative GPAs above 3.0, and 50% have a 3.5 or higher (CRC program evaluation survey, 2020).

To learn more about MSU’s CRC, visit healthpromotion.msu.edu/recovery.


Grantee Story: Continuation of student recovery success at Michigan State University

The Jamie Daniels Foundation, along with The Children’s Foundation, has announced a grant to Michigan State University that extends the successful relationship established in 2019 to develop programming to help students in recovery.

This effort builds on the work of the Jamie Daniels Foundation to support children and young adults as they battle Substance Use Disorder and navigate and maintain recovery.

“We are proud of the success that has been achieved with our MSU partnership and know Jamie would be delighted with our support of his alma mater,” said Ken Daniels, cofounder of the Jamie Daniels Foundation and Jamie’s father.  “This program is designed to empower students in, or seeking recovery, to thrive in the fullness of the college experience.”

The services provided through MSU’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) have been independently identified as critical and essential in supporting a young person’s success in higher education. These include creating a campus community that supports recovery, available and supportive live-in Recovery Housing staff, and safe spaces to congregate with peers and staff.

Also included with the grant is investment in the Jamie Daniels Memorial Scholarship endowment fund that provides sustained academic and financial support for students in recovery from a Substance Use Disorder.

“The continued partnership and the funding provided is not only helping the CRC continue to establish itself, but also creating an environment for the students in which they are finding academic success,” said Dennis Martell, PhD, Director, Health Promotion at Michigan State University. “The CRC is helping to change the landscape of research around the issues of recovery and how we support students who choose not to use alcohol or other drugs.”

Grantee Story: Supporting college students through recovery

The Jamie Daniels Foundation, along with The Children’s Foundation, has announced a new grant focused on prevention, recovery and support for students struggling with Substance Use Disorder at three colleges in Michigan.

The Central Michigan Collegiate Recovery, Education and Wellness (CMCREW) program, a program of Ten16 Recovery Network, will provide support for students at Central Michigan University, Ferris State University and Mid‐Michigan College.

CMCREW was started five years ago by Jessica Miller, program manager, Ten16.  Funding will be used to add a full-time Licensed Substance Use Disorder counselor who would be able to assess for substance use disorders, provide counseling to students on issues dealing with substance misuse and recovery, and make appropriate referrals, if more help is needed.

“Our mission is to provide education, resources and support to those struggling with Substance Use Disorder, and we are proud to establish this partnership with CMCREW to help us achieve our goals” said Lisa Daniels-Goldman, co-founder of the Jamie Daniels Foundation.

There are two target populations that will be served through this grant. The first is those students developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and drugs, particularly in dealing with the stressors of college life. The second group is those students in early or established recovery from a Substance Use Disorder who need help in re‐constructing their lives and creating a life‐long recovery plan.

“We know students may have a pre-existing substance use disorder, and aspects of college culture can exacerbate that condition. This partnership with the Jamie Daniels Foundation will help provide support for students to manage and overcome these challenges” said Sam Price, President/CEO, Ten16.

Grantee Story: Student and parent prevention training

At the Jamie Daniels Foundation we know that substance use prevention programming in the schools is critical, probably now more than ever. Substance use has increased during COVID, vaping rates have doubled in the past two years, and today the average age of first-time alcohol use is fourteen.

That’s why the Jamie Daniels Foundation, in partnership with The Children’s Foundation, jointly supported the Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (LAHC) in their Life Skills Roots To Grow program which focuses on the prevention of marijuana, opioid, alcohol, and vaping use and consumption.

The program targeted over 800 ninth and tenth grade students at Edsel Ford High School, in Dearborn, during the 2020-2021 school year. A large percentage of the students are Arab American and include immigrants, refugees and English Language Learners. There is a great deal of stigma in the Arab American population associated with substance use and seeking professional help for addiction, and this program is meant to help reduce that stigma.

Students received 10 weeks of virtual, interactive and engaging substance abuse prevention programming. Additionally, 200 parents were expected to receive education on substance use, treatment, and the safe disposal of prescription medications. Learn more about the program in the video below.

Overdose preparedness through Narcan training

At the Jamie Daniels Foundation we are guided by the belief that one life lost is one life too many. As part of that mission, we are passionate about equipping families, friends, teachers, and community members with the ability to administer Narcan should they be faced with saving a life during an opioid overdose emergency.

In June we partnered with Alliance of Coalitions, and many other organizations, in promoting the free training in the use of Naloxone (also known by the brand name, Narcan®) a prescription drug that temporarily blocks opioid receptors in one’s body in order to reverse an opioid overdose until first responders arrive.

The training includes information on:

  • Signs & symptoms of an opioid overdose
  • Quick actions to take to help save a life and reverse a potential opioid overdose
  • How to easily and properly use Narcan nasal spray
  • Resource sharing
  • If you use your Narcan, how can you obtain a refill

This past month, more than 70 people were trained in a single session, including the Jamie Daniels Foundation new Executive Director, Chris Perry, “I found the class straightforward and essential. It means a loved one or friend can learn about overdose prevention and administer help even before medical help arrives”.

This interactive class, presented by a Certified Narcan & CPR Trained instructor from the Alliance, takes only 1 hour and a Save A Life Narcan Kit will be mailed directly to you once essential forms have been completed.

We invite you to be prepared in case of an emergency by registering for an upcoming class: Narcan Training Signup

Chris Perry named Executive Director of Jamie Daniels Foundation

DETROIT, May 10, 2021 – The Jamie Daniels Foundation, an initiative of The Children’s Foundation, announced today that Chris Perry has joined the organization as executive director.

Perry was most recently with United Way for Southeastern Michigan where he served in a variety of C-suite positions. Prior to shifting to the non-profit sector Perry worked in automotive, first with Isuzu and Hyundai in California, and then General Motors in Michigan.

“Chris’s experience with several key organizations in the community will bring great value to the Jamie Daniels Foundation efforts,” said Lawrence J. Burns, President & CEO of The Children’s Foundation.

In this role, Chris will work in conjunction with the Jamie Daniels Foundation co-founders Ken Daniels and Lisa Daniels-Goldman and the Board of Trustees on the development and execution of strategic partnerships, as well as maintaining responsibility for the organization’s philanthropic efforts.

“I’m honored to be appointed the first executive director of the Jamie Daniels Foundation and I look forward to building on the momentum that has already been established” Perry said.

Perry currently serves as an advisory board member for Samaritan’s Feet International, has previously served as a board member for United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the GM Foundation, is the former board chair of Beyond Basics, former governor of Opportunity International and has served as a member of the JDRF Marketing Committee.

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About the Jamie Daniels Foundation

In 2018, Ken Daniels and Lisa Daniels-Goldman established the Jamie Daniels Foundation in memory of their late son, Jamie, who died from an overdose at the age of 23 while receiving treatment for a Substance Use Disorder. Despite the support of his family, Jamie’s life was tragically lost due to substandard care and the predatory practices that exist in the billion-dollar substance use recovery business. Their hope is to save others’ lives by providing education, resources, guidance and support to those struggling with substance use or know someone who is. The Children’s Foundation is dedicated to advancing the health and wellness of children and families. With an area of focus on mental health, The Children’s Foundation is collaborating with the Jamie Daniels Foundation to lead children and families on a path to a happier, healthier future.  Learn more at www.JamieDanielsFoundation.org.

About The Children’s Foundation

The Children’s Foundation is a premier foundation focused on the health and well-being of the children of Michigan and their families by working in collaboration with other organizations in the community.  By listening to community needs The Foundation responds by mobilizing and enhancing resources through innovative partnerships and funding models. Since 2011, the Foundation has distributed more than 70 million dollars in grant funding to more than 120 partners throughout the state. Current initiatives of The Children’s Foundation include Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, The Jamie Daniels Foundation, First Tee- Greater Detroit and the Paul W. Smith Charities. Current areas of focus for the Foundation include mental health, nutritional wellness, abuse and neglect, oncology and cardiology research and injury prevention. Learn more at www.YourChildrensFoundation.org.

The Power (Play) of $40: Red Wings fans rally to raise funds for the Jamie Daniels Foundation

Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It is no secret that our beloved Detroit Red Wings had been in a power play slump, unable to score on a short-handed opposing team for 40 consecutive attempts. But because the Wings have the best fans in the world, Hockeytown rallied to turn their team’s predicament into a good cause, raising nearly $15,000 for the Jamie Daniels Foundation!

Embodying the spirit of Detroit, a Reddit member of the Detroit Red Wings subreddit at username u/Denver_Law14, suggested members provide a group donation to the Jamie Daniels Foundation based on the Red Wings power play woes. For each missed power play opportunity, fans would donate $1. The foundation was chosen in support of Red Wings Lead Announcer, Ken Daniels who is a co-founder of the Jamie Daniels Foundation and started the initiative with Jamie’s mother, Lisa Daniels-Goldman, after losing their son to an overdose in 2016.

Jamie Daniels Foundation Power Play Challenge! from r/DetroitRedWings

The idea was then brought to Twitter by Prashanth Iyer, who is also the co-host of Wings For Breakfast podcast from The Athletic Detroit, on Friday, February 26. From there it went viral with the effort being discussed on several popular podcasts and radio stations. 

On Saturday, February 27 in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Red Wings’ Christian Djoos finally broke the team’s power play slump. As a result, more than 280 individual donations were made to the Jamie Daniels Foundation in the average amount of $40.

This generous grass-roots campaign is representative of the heart of Detroit and comradery of the Red Wings community, which has been incredibly supportive of the foundation and the Annual Celebrity Roast. Not only has this power play push raised important funds, but because of its momentum, it has raised awareness about Substance Use Disorder and our message at the Jamie Daniels Foundation which will inevitably make a difference for so many. 

With Hockeytown’s support, we can continue working toward ending the stigma associated with Substance Use Disorder, provide substance use prevention support, and resources to individuals in recovery. Thank you to all those who were involved in this compelling act of generosity. Together, we can do more. LGRW!

If you’d like to make a gift to the Jamie Daniels Foundation, please click here.

Co-Founders, Ken Daniels and Lisa Daniels-Goldman, provide foundation update on Crain’s Detroit

In an interview with The Children’s Foundation President & CEO, Larry Burns, Ken Daniels and Lisa Daniels-Goldman, co-founders of Jamie Daniels Foundation share how they are channeling the tragic loss of their son, Jamie, into providing support for those suffering from Substance Use Disorder.

During their conversation, the co-founders recapped the Second Annual Celebrity Roast and discussed a variety of grant projects funded by Jamie Daniels Foundation that are providing programming and resources for those struggling with Substance Use Disorder and destigmatizing the mental health conditions associated with it.

Ken and Lisa also discussed a collaboration with the state of Michigan, to build an 80-unit apartment complex that will support those in recovery. The recovery housing will provide job training and financial literacy classes along with health and wellness programs. 

Click here to view the full conversation and learn more details of this project.