click to go to

News | November 30, 2023

2023 Mary L. Fleming Memorial Mentor of the Year Award

SAFE Project is excited to announce that Eric Bailly was selected by our 2022-2023 fellows as the 2023 Mentor of the Year! The Mary L. Fleming Memorial Mentor of the Year Award honors individuals who have gone above and beyond in their mentorship to students in the SAFE Project Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy (CRLA) fellowship program. These individuals demonstrate extraordinary leadership and commitment to our mission and the students they serve.


Eric Bailly (left), and SAFE Project Senior Director of SAFE Campuses Kimberly Boulden (right)


Eric Bailly is a person in long-term recovery, vested in working with substance use treatment, recovery, prevention, and policy. He has served as a mentor in SAFE Project’s Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy since 2020, and is now mentoring his 4th cohort.

Eric currently serves as Senior Director at Third Horizon Strategies, supporting key consulting projects including promulgating the Alliance for Addiction Payment Reform, Addiction Recovery Medical Home Alternative Payment Model, and ongoing efforts to support behavioral health/physical health integration and payment reform. Throughout Eric’s career, he has asked hard questions and championed change in large and complex systems. Eric has worked to not only shine a light on systemic dysfunction, he has promoted sustainable and actionable solutions. Eric’s commitment to service is evidenced by his involvement with boards and committees tied to organizations who are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of those who live with mental health and substance use issues.

Eric has worked with college students long before his involvement with SAFE Project’s CRLA: Eric previously served an adjunct professor at Concordia College where he taught Health Information Systems to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in healthcare and healthcare administration.

I believe Eric showed true compassion and empathy toward those who have been impacted by substance use disorder. Upon meeting him in DC, I was left with hope in my project because I felt as though the support was there, and would be there when I needed it.

Eric has been a great help to me and has always been open to setting up zoom meetings to talk about recovery related topics.

Thank you, Eric, for your dedication to our students, for consistently showing up for them, and for going above and beyond in your commitment to our cause. You really are our “L’Etoile Du Nord.”

2023 Leadership Academy Working Group Leader of the Year Award

SAFE Project is excited to announce that Zev Keppleman has been selected as the recipient of the 2022-2023 Working Group Leader of the Year Award! Working Group Leaders, who are former CRLA students, play an integral role in the CRLA program. Our volunteer Working Group Leaders serve as peers, mentors, and sounding boards to students throughout the year as they navigate their impact projects, their recovery, and everyday life challenges.


Zev Keppleman (left), and SAFE Project Assistant Director of SAFE Campuses, Student Development Programs Sydney Cheifetz (right)


Zev Keppleman is a graduate of the 2021-2022 Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy and currently serves as a CRLA mentor. Zev is a graduate of the Hazelden Betty Ford Addiction Counseling program and is currently lead therapist at AIM House – a transitional living facility for young adults struggling with mental health and/or substance use issues and who most often are returning back to society after being in a wilderness therapy program. Prior to AIM House Zev worked as a crisis clinician at a 24/7 walk-in unit and as a therapist at a substance use residential facility. When not therapizing, Zev loves to hit the gym, spend time outdoors, and be with friends. Zev lives in Boulder, Colorado and has two chickens and a collection of colorful Vans shoes. This is Zev’s third year with the CRLA and students were eager to share the ways Zev has impacted their work and their recovery:

Zev is one of the most approachable people I know. I knew I could count on Zev to support me with my project, talk through the good things and the challenges, and have fun while doing it.

Zev has taught me how to be a better leader. He is a model of compassionate accountability, authenticity, and good vibes.

Thank you, Zev, for your dedication to our students, for consistently showing up for them, and for going above and beyond in your commitment to our cause. The CRLA would not be what it is today without you as a fellow, a working group leader, and as a mentor.