Building momentum during challenging times

In 2021, COVID-19 continued to disrupt all of our lives while creating unique challenges for one in 10 adults in America who are struggling with Substance Use Disorder. And tragically, over 100,000 lost their lives to overdose in the past year.

These startling facts serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of our mission to provide resources and support to children, teens, young adults and their families in their battle with Substance Use Disorder. With your help, we have invested in programs that prevent substance abuse, aid those in recovery, and reduce the stigma associated with this disease.

Thanks to the generosity of caring people like you, we expanded our collegiate recovery support at Michigan State University and added three more schools to our roster of collegiate recovery programs. Grant support from the Jamie Daniels Foundation enables access to counseling, the development of recovery-oriented programming to meet student needs, dedicated recovery space on campus, and safe and healthy housing options.

Another important aspect of our mission is to reduce the stigma associated with Substance Use Disorder. We believe that by promoting an accurate understanding of Substance Use Disorder, we can reduce the barriers associated with seeking help and create awareness that makes early intervention possible. This effort is achieved through engaging parents, teachers, community members, and the media. Examples range from our sponsorship of an education campaign during National Recovery Month, distribution of Deterra bags for the proper disposal of medication, promotion of Narcan training, as well as various speaking engagements with community organizations and the media.

Earlier this year we also achieved a significant milestone with our first ever hire! This summer, Chris Perry joined our team as Executive Director of the Jamie Daniels Foundation. He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion to the organization. We were also excited to add Marilyn Bartley, Substance Use Disorder advocate and child well-being champion, to our Board of Trustees. We’re confident that the additional experience and expertise Chris and Marilyn bring will allow us to build on our momentum and continue to grow our impact.

We also successfully hosted our Third Annual Celebrity Roast presented by Delta Dental with guest of honor, NHL Hall-of-Famer Brett Hull. The event was great fun, providing a night of laughs and entertainment and raising $370,000 – a 25% increase from last year! The Roast also generated awareness awareness of Substance Use Disorder and shared tragic personal stories to enforce how this disease does not discriminate.

Looking forward, you’ll see an expansion of the Jamie Daniels Foundation’s efforts to enable substance use prevention, aid those in recovery, and reduce the stigma associated with Substance Use Disorder.

Throughout this challenging year, we have been extremely thankful for your continued support. It is because of you, we are doing more to create change and help individuals and families have fulfilling and healthy lives. Thank you for being with us on this journey – we wish you a safe, healthy and Happy New Year.


Ken Daniels and Lisa Daniels-Goldman, co-founders

Building healthy, smart, vibrant communities for all means ending the opioid epidemic

For the third consecutive year, Delta Dental is participating as the presenting sponsor of the Jamie Daniels Foundation’s Celebrity Roast. We sat down with Margaret Trimer, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana to talk about why Delta Dental continues to support this event, what the dental profession has to do with substance use disorder (SUD), and why she has been inspired to become personally involved with the foundation. Her expertise and thoughtfulness on this important topic are obvious. Here’s what she had to say:

Why is this event so important for Delta Dental to continue their support?

You cannot have a healthy community if you have a high degree of substance misuse.  Delta Dental wants a bright future for Michigan – and that’s why we are involved.

If we are going to fulfill our mission, we must address the issues associated with substance misuse. The Jamie Daniels Foundation Celebrity Roast is one way to bring necessary awareness to SUD. This broadcasted event puts the power of information into countless hands and helps raise necessary funds so that the use and misuse of substances can be prevented, and lives, families, and communities can be saved.

What does the dental profession have to do with substance use disorder and the opioid epidemic?

In 2018, Delta Dental was in the throes of trying to figure out our position on the opioid crisis, recognizing first and foremost that we needed to be part of the solution. The first time many individuals may have met an opioid is when they’re getting their wisdom teeth removed. For years, dentists were giving pain killers not realizing their addictive risks. We have learned that dental professionals must watch their practice, so they aren’t part of the problem.

What is Delta Dental doing to support the dental profession during this epidemic?

At Delta Dental, we are cognizant of communicating with both providers and members, encouraging the essential conversation between the two. We have continued to be keen on informing all constituents about opioids and their risks, participating in drug takeback days, and talking about other ways to alleviate pain from dental procedures.

We are seeing progress across the profession, but Delta Dental wouldn’t necessarily take credit for that – there has been an ongoing national dialogue about the reality of opioids. Over the years, the level of intensity on this topic has heightened the awareness among professionals. As a result, we are seeing far less prescriptions for opioids and fewer pills being given inside of a prescription. Use and misuse of opioids for pain has been curbed, which is good news.

But there’s still a lot of concern. The pandemic has increased substance misuse, and though people aren’t necessarily getting them in prescription form, there is a lot of access on the street to opioids and other drugs. Unfortunately, this crisis doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Though there is better control of the danger zones within the dental profession, Delta Dental persists in its involvement to eliminate the crisis as a whole.

In 2021, you joined the Jamie Daniels Foundation Board of Trustees. Why was it important to you to become a more active participant within the organization?

I have been moved by Jamie’s story, but I also recognize that his story is not isolated. There are so many families struggling with SUD. Some have paid the ultimate price and have lost a loved one; some still have the chance to save their loved ones or themselves. The Daniels family and their suffering should count, and Jamie’s life should not be in vain.

Jamie’s story and the Jamie Daniels Foundation has the potential to create high impact in helping families that are navigating the recovery side of substance misuse. Its message should be amplified across Michigan and beyond. This is very much about taking charge and managing this issue. To build something from the ground up is a rare opportunity. It is a very exciting to think about the potential Jamie Daniels Foundation has to create incredible impact, and I want to be part of that.

On a personal level, what would you like to share on this topic?

It is important for us to deal with the issue of stigma and shame for both family members and the individuals who are struggling with SUD. We have forever looked at SUD as not a disease, but a bad behavior that is born out of bad parenting or a bad family life. And I am here to say that my family has been affected, and my family is a pretty awesome family. Ken and Lisa are amazing parents and they dealt with this. People are affected with a high income or low income – this disease is not discriminating.

The judgement that people levy against families struggling with this is unfair and it must stop so we can have the kind of open and honest, problem-solving conversations. Because if you fear judgement, if you put your problem in the closet, you’ll never get to the other side or have the hope that is possible.

As a premier administrator of dental benefits, Delta Dental of Michigan is also a leading partner in preventing opioid abuse and is invested in recovery efforts that provide real, long-term change.

To learn more about Delta Dental, click here.

Photographed: Margaret Trimer, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

To support the Jamie Daniels Foundation Celebrity Roast of Brett Hull, tune into Bally Sports Detroit on Monday, November 22 at 8pm or livestream on our website. Our silent auction is currently open for bidding, here.

Karen & Nikolas: A story of loss and hope during the opioid epidemic

Karen Ford-Stein with her late son, Nikolas Goyke

When Karen Ford-Stein talks about her son, Nikolas Goyke, she describes him as funny, always laughing, smart, studious, compassionate…and a huge hockey fan! He was in college and thriving, surrounded by supportive and loving friends and family. His entire future was ahead of him.

Unfortunately, on March 8, 2018, at only 22 years old, he lost his battle with substance use disorder after an opioid overdose.  His death is one of countless that can be attributed to the drug crisis gripping our nation. In fact, in 2020, drug overdose deaths reached a record high of 93,331 – that’s 20,000 more than the previous high in 2019.

Karen and other family members will remember Nik by sharing his story on November 22, during the Jamie Daniels Foundation’s Celebrity Roast of Brett Hull.

Their goal: to bring awareness to substance use disorder, reduce stigma of the disease, and help raise funds for those struggling. 

Karen recently sat down with us to talk about her son and share why it was so important she supports the Jamie Daniels Foundation and participates in the televised event. Here’s what she had to say: 

How did you learn about Jamie Daniels Foundation?

In 2019, a friend of Nik’s from kindergarten decided to plan a fundraising event in his honor and the proceeds benefitted the Jamie Daniels Foundation. I had never heard of JDF before, but immediately threw my support behind it after learning about Jamie’s story. I felt connected to the organization’s mission and goals. Since Nik was such a hockey fan, this felt like a natural fit.

Why have you decided to support Jamie Daniels Foundation?

What struck me about JDF is their goal to build a supportive housing project for individuals with substance use disorder. Based on experience, Ken and Lisa know what individuals and families need during these uncertain times. Their perspective can help make sure individuals and families going through this get the proper care and counsel so lives can be saved.

There were a lot of unknowns as our family was going through the treatment and recovery experience. You don’t think something like this will ever happen to you so you’re unprepared and uninformed. You trust these facilities to help you make the right decisions and sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Recovery is an industry. We didn’t know how to navigate the situation and learned important lessons too late – this is an unfortunate reality for a lot of people.

Why do you feel it is important to share your family’s story during The Roast?

Losing a child like this brings pain that never goes away. The only way I can navigate the grief is by hopefully changing the outcome for someone else. It has been almost four years since Nik passed away. I’ve been searching for the right opportunity to make a difference for others, so when I was approached to be on the Roast, I immediately said yes.

If sharing my family’s story can stop one person, kid, or family from going through this kind of tragedy, it will be worth it to me. I will grieve my son for the rest of my life, but he didn’t die in vain, and I am determined to use our experience to create change.

What message do you want to share with readers about substance use disorder?

In his early teens, Nik was prescribed an opioid after having surgery. To me, it was a legal drug that the doctor advised he take for pain relief. I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t realize how harmful it could be. But it is.

Substance use disorder can affect anyone, and everyone thinks they are invincible to it. We need to have the tough conversations and stop shaming and stigmatizing those suffering because then the problem just continues.

My kids are my favorite topic of conversation, and I will never be ashamed of Nik’s story. I want everyone to understand these risks so they can protect our loved ones.

What do you think Nikolas would be saying about what you are doing?

Nik was so fun and had such a big heart. He would be very happy we are talking about him and sharing our experience to help others. I can imagine him smiling down on us, laughing, and thinking how cool it is that his hockey buddies see him connected to this event. I know he’d never want to see anyone else go through this and would be proud we are sharing his story; he would hope this makes a real impact – we all do.

You can hear Karen and Nik’s father, David, share their story during the Celebrity Roast of Brett Hull on Monday, November 22. Tune into on Bally Sports Detroit at 8pm or visit our website to livestream the event.

If you’d like to make a gift in memory of Nikolas Goyke, click here.

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

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