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Press Release | December 11, 2019

Transforming Youth Recovery Announces the Transfer of Higher Education Initiative to SAFE Project

Over 2.5 Million College Students Have Access to Recovery Support on Campus


For TYR: Pamela Clark

For SAFE Project: Gena Fitzgerald


Reno, NV (PRWEB) December 11, 2019 — Transforming Youth Recovery’s Founder and CEO, Stacie Mathewson, announced today the transfer of the nonprofit’s highly successful Higher Education Initiative to SAFE Project, a national nonprofit focused on addressing the addiction epidemic. Through their SAFE Campuses initiative, SAFE Project provides post-secondary institutions with tools and resources to support students through all levels of substance-use from prevention, through treatment and recovery.  

Over the past five years, the field of Collegiate Recovery has grown from just 35 programs in 2012 to over 265 today, providing 2.5 million students access to recovery support on campus. More than 165 of these programs were started through grants provided by Transforming Youth Recovery’s Higher Education Initiative. Many of these collegiate recovery programs have achieved institutional acceptance and are now financially sustained through the university system.

“Transforming Youth Recovery’s Higher Education Initiative and collegiate grant program has significantly impacted the way students with a substance use disorder are treated and supported,” said Mathewson. “The decision to merge the two programs makes perfect sense and allows SAFE Project to further expand services that assist students in recovery.”  

“SAFE is honored to continue the strategic, heart-driven work of Transforming Youth Recovery,” said Brandee Izquierdo, SAFE’S executive director. “This allows us to amplify our work with evidence-based tool kits, trainings, and research to make a real difference on campuses across the country. It’s what every student in recovery deserves.”

Transforming Youth Recovery Founder, Stacie Mathewson, and SAFE Project founders, Admiral James “Sandy” and Mary Winnefeld, both lost their young sons to overdoses while they were in recovery from opioid addiction. Each organization is committed to providing solutions that address the unmet needs of young people in recovery and to end the addiction epidemic. 

Following the loss of their 19-year-old son Jonathan to an accidental opioid overdose on his fourth day of college, the Winnefelds founded SAFE Project in November 2017. The SAFE Campuses initiative was created to address the pervasive gaps in how addiction is handled by post-secondary institutions. This year, SAFE Campuses began offering technical assistance to emerging and existing collegiate substance use programs through our national outreach campaign. Additionally, for the second year in a row, SAFE’s Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy provided students with the tools and training needed to create or strengthen efforts on their campuses, and become effective servant leaders.

Like SAFE Project, Transforming Youth Recovery believes in investing in the future of youth and families.  Its Higher Education Initiative was just one of many successful programs pioneered by the organization. Going forward, Transforming Youth Recovery will focus its efforts on streamlining and enhancing the CapacitypeTM data and mapping services platform. Working through a network of national partners, this resource database has grown to over 82,000 published records as people are being invited to map resources in their own communities. This is allowing those with knowledge of helpful supports for addiction to more broadly share that information with others. As the depth and sophistication of data collection expands, so will the understanding of how to better connect people to resources, and connect resources to other resources, for stronger pathways to care and support. 


About Transforming Youth Recovery

Transforming Youth Recovery is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to invest in the future of our youth and families by bringing research, solution-based programs and resources to substance use disorders, transforming the pathway for lifetime recovery. For more information, visit


About SAFE Project

SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) Project is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to overcoming the epidemic of addiction in the United States. Using a collaborative, multi-pronged and non-partisan approach, our key initiatives focus on SAFE Campuses, SAFE Communities, and SAFE Veterans. They are fueled by SAFE Project’s six lines of operation: public awareness, full-spectrum prevention, prescriptions & medical response, law enforcement & criminal justice, treatment & recovery and family outreach & support. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the support from our volunteers, SAFE turns hope into change for communities, campuses, and veterans through transformative programs, training, and technical assistance.  For more information, visit