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Connecting People, Ideas and Resources

So youth and young adults in recovery can thrive in educational settings

Transforming Youth Recovery

One Community, One School, One Student At A Time

The Stacie Mathewson Foundation was founded in 2011 to focus on addiction recovery and prevention for young people and is committed to erasing the social stigma associated with substance use disorders. In 2013 the foundation created the 501(c)(3) nonprot, Transforming Youth Recovery, to support educators, parents and community members in helping students in recovery thrive in the fullness of everyday life. The vision of the nonprot is to transform youth recoveryone community, one school, one student at a time.

To nd whats working and do more of it, more often, in more places

How can we build the capacity of institutions, local communities and families to help youth and young adults in recovery thrive within primary, secondary and post-secondary educational settings? And how might those efforts create a ripple effect in our communities and the world? To answer these questions, Transforming Youth Recovery is looking specically at the educational, peer and family networks that inuence youth development and achievement, and we are both studying and conceiving novel approaches that could dramatically expand schoolbased recovery support services. For us, the key is to mobilize localized community assets into relevant recovery practices and coalitions. To help remove barriers to local action, we advocate for reforms in public policy, work to erase the social stigma associated with addiction and fund studies aimed at uncovering and promoting best practices within the recovery eld. Were all about giving students, families and communities the ability to look out, nd others who are building capacities similar to their own, and rapidly copy and emulate those recovery practices that are helping youth and young adults live their best life.

Transforming Youth Recovery

Info-Graphic Treatment Here


A Conversation for Now

A lot of young people use alcohol and drugs.

A lot of young people use alcohol and drugs.

The use of alcohol and drugs leads to substance use disorders.

The use of alcohol Because of a change in criteria, substance use disorders and drugs leads to will be more widely diagnosed in the years ahead. substance use disorders.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, more youth with the diagnosis of substance use disorders will have access to treatment.

Because of a change in criteria, substance use disorders will be more widely diagnosed in the years ahead.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, more youth with the diagnoofyouth substance useto disorders Whensis more have access treatment,will current rehave access to treatment. sources will be overloaded.

Transforming Youth Recovery

To deal with the overload, more school-based recovery services are required.

To deal with the overload, more school-based recovery services are required.

When more youth have access to treatment, current To reinforce theresourceffort to create more school-based reservices, The Stacie Mathewson Foundation has es will be covery overloaded.

launched a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Transforming Youth Recovery.

Transforming Youth Recovery is not shy in proclaiming that acceleration is why we exist. While significant contributions continue to emerge from academic and governmen Transforming Youth Recovery is tal sectors, the rate of change has been too slow innot the shy in proclaiming that accelcontext of lives that need saving. We simply have run out eration is why we exist. While of time.

significant contributions continue to emerge from academic and governmental sectors, the rate of change has been too slow in the context of lives that need saving. We simply have run out of time.

To reinforce the effort to create more school-based recovery support services, The Stacie Mathewson Foundation has launched a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Transforming Youth Recovery. Transforming Youth Recovery 5

Building Blocks of TYR


Addiction is a preventable disease with its origin in adolescence. For individuals who begin using alcohol and drugs before the age of 18, one in four will develop an addiction. When rst use is at age 21 or older, the addiction rate is one in twenty-ve.


Recovery from addiction is not a linear process. It is a personal path whereby people achieve abstinence, improve their health and wellness and strive to live the best life they can. It can take years or a lifetime to recover, and recovery is often marked by multiple relapses and treatment episodes. The younger a person stops using, the greater the prognosis for recovery.

Transforming Youth Recovery


An asset, in our usage, can be a place, a resource, a service, an experience or a relationship. Our work focuses on nding individual and organizational assets in a community and mobilizing them into recovery practices and local coalitions.


A practice, for our purposes, is the useful application of assets. For example, an AA community might be an asset, and a dedicated meeting space might also be an asset. Hosting regular AA meetings in the dedicated meeting space would be a practice.


A coalition is an alliance of assets working together to remove barriers to local action and to build an academic communitys capacity for helping students in recovery thrive in the fullness of their educational experiences.


Networks are a means of connecting people, ideas and resources. To help local organizers amplify school-based efforts and connect recovery communities that span geographies, we offer a specially designed network platform known as Capacitype.


Acceleration is why we exist. While signicant contributions continue to emerge from academic and governmental sectors, the rate of change has been too slow in the context of lives that need saving. We simply have run out of time.

Transforming Youth Recovery

Acceleration in Five Key Areas

We are accelerating the rate of change in ve areas of focus: Higher Education (School-Based Recovery Support) Community Colleges (School-Based Recovery Support) High Schools (School-Based Recovery Support) K-8th Grade Prevention and Intervention (Family Education and Support) Life Skills Initiatives A key accelerator will be funded seeds of hope grant programs to kick off the early-stage building of capacity for recovery efforts, both school-based and community-driven. Through these early-stage activities, our intention is to move dispersed or underutilized services into networked support structures accessible to any youth vulnerable to a substance use disorder.

Transforming Youth Recovery

Higher Education
Mobilizing existing assets for collegiate recovery
When we first got involved with collegiate recovery, we found a conventional wisdom that colleges lacked the dedicated resources for helping students in recovery fulfill their academic and personal potential. In other words, there was a perception that the problem was a resource gap. resources that in many cases already existed. And the real need was for help in building the types of relationships that enable students to take advantage of the full breadth of the collegiate experience. Our focus is on stimulating community support for collegiate recovery programs. Our goal is to work toward institutional acceptance and ownership of support services necessary in an environment prone to drug and alcohol exposure. Toward that goal, we are providing toolkits, assistance and $10,000 seed grants to help student-led groups find and mobilize collegiate recovery assets that already exist. Extending further, we recognize that advocacy is needed to influence state and federal policies that might better support collegiate recovery efforts.

Consequently, we have pivoted from a program focus to a relationship focus, a migration from problem solving to capacity This perception had led building. Its a matter of starting federal agencies and academic with the assumption that college institutions to adopt a problemcommunities already have solving approach that sought the resources and capabilities to add activities and services to necessary to help students in address supposed deficiencies. recovery to thrive. When you start However, through an asset-based there, you can then concentrate research project funded by The on removing barriers that may be Stacie Mathewson Foundation, constraining students in recovery we discovered a nearly universally from accessing those assets that held opinion that the real issue could help them thrive in the was how to manage access to fullness of their college experience.

Transforming Youth Recovery

Community Colleges
Taking the asset-based approach into a new setting
While our participation in collegiate recovery includes active efforts on more than forty campuses, our involvement in community colleges is still at a formative stage with few existing insights to build on. In fact, our review of the literature indicates that a limited amount is known about recovery support and services in this setting. Our first step, therefore, is a study seeking to determine community college receptiveness to recovery support efforts in post-secondary educational settings. Community colleges play an important roles in the U.S. educational system. With 44 percent of the nations enrollment of college-level students, community colleges contribute in a large way to our nations educational attainment. The United States once led the world in educational attainment by a wide margin, but that position was lost over the past generation. Recent focus has been placed on regaining the lead by 2020 and community colleges will need to adapt significantly for that goal to be met. While the role of community colleges in advancing educational attainment is recognized, what is less understood is the existence of these institutions as a major crossroad for students in recovery. Most adolescents in recovery who have been able to graduate from high school find themselves ill equipped for an immediate transition to a fouryear higher education institution. Community colleges offer the opportunity to regain self-efficacy and student skills that are needed to succeed in more rigorous academic environments. We are committed to addressing the important transitional environment of community colleges by designing ways to help students in recovery find and access the support they need to advance their educational goals. Similar to the approach taken for collegiate recovery efforts, a capacity-building approach will guide us in extending assistance to community colleges that are receptive to serving and supporting students in recovery.


Transforming Youth Recovery

High Schools
Working for academic and recovery advancement
A National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Monitoring the Future survey of over 46,000 youth found an alarming increase in the use of illicit substances while perceived risk of use declined. Most alarming, however, are findings that non-medical use of highly addictive prescription pain medications are on the rise and are being used in relatively high numbers. The age at which people first try many substances has remained relatively constant in recent years. For those using in their teenage years, the age of first use is between 15 and 17 years old. All of this points to high schools as the critical educational focal point when it comes to addressing the potentially devastating long-term effects of the disease of addiction. It is essential to prepare the nation to serve adolescents in recovery in an environment that promotes both academic and recovery advancement. A key resource for both academic and recovery support is the recovery high school. A broad market study on recovery high schools is being undertaken on behalf of the Association of Recovery Schools. Included in the study is a stateby-state analysis of the laws, rules, policies and practices that might best support the proliferation of secondary school mental health and newly defined school-based recovery support services across the nation. With the help of this market study, we will advocate for advancements in public and educational policies that extend health care benefits and services to adolescents qualifying for treatment and recovery support. In the near term, we are supporting the development of an accreditation process to be administered by the Association of Recovery Schools, resulting in all operating recovery high schools being accredited by 2016.

Transforming Youth Recovery


K-8 Family Education and Support

Aiming to delay the age of rst use of alcohol and drugs
Sixty-five percent of Americans report that addiction to alcohol and other drugs has had a significant impact on their lives and families. Emerging research is pointing to a new direction that may assist in reducing the damaging effects of the disease of addiction. That direction is rooted in delaying the age of first use of alcohol or drugs. For those who are at-risk for substance use or co-occurring disorders, initiation happens between the ages of 15 and 17. But studies have also shown that first drug and alcohol use can occur as early as age 11 or 12. Many times behavioral issues displayed by a child as young as five years old can be red flags for predisposition to the disease of addiction. An early age of first use is correlated with a higher rate of dependence later in life. What is clear from 20 years of National Institutes of Health research is that most effective programs still need to be implemented broadly. This is particularly true when it comes to family education on intervention and prevention programs available for children ages 5-13 and in their early years of schooling. We are positioned to be part of a solution of delaying substance use initiation and finding novel ways to strengthen the support system for youth who are unable to escape the disease of addiction. Our focus is on better understanding the life trajectory of youth when they are introduced to substances such as alcohol, medicine and prescription drugs at certain ages. Our belief is that a greater awareness of the potential impact of substance use initiation at certain ages can help families and communities protect the well-being of youth at all points of life and educational development. We will undertake outreach efforts aimed at delaying first use of substances that correlate to a higher rate of potential dependence later in life. Under that umbrella, we will work to equip families and communities with emerging knowledge and strategies aimed at protecting youth atrisk for substance use disorders.


Transforming Youth Recovery

Life Skills
Focusing on the gap between secondary and post-secondary education
Adolescent substance abuse is one of the largest and costliest preventable public health issues in the United States. Total costs to federal, state and local governments of substance abuse is estimated to cost the nation more than $600 billion per year. Add to this the further impact that the use of drugs and alcohol is having on academic success and retention in a nation where currently 30 percent of high school students are not graduating. Most substance use or cooccurring disorders are considered chronic. That is, once an adolescent is facing these problems, they will not go away on their own. Suspending or dropping out of traditional school systems becomes a common occurrence for the substance use disorder population. Students drop out or have limited academic success for a variety of reasons. We are looking to play an active role in two of the leading reasons the need for basic life skills and the call for an evolved educational system that recognizes the importance of intervention, prevention and recovery support services. Our efforts are predominately focused on the gap between secondary and post-secondary education, where students in recovery are most vulnerable to the failure to launch phenomenon as the strategies and supports that worked in high school when protected at home are not adequate to the new demands that independent living and advanced learning can place on young adults. We are initiating studies designed to identify how best to define and deliver needed life skills to transitioning young adults in recovery. It is expected that these initiatives will require significant outreach and coalition building. We stand ready to be a major contributor in helping those students just identifying their addiction to successfully sustain recovery and find their lifes path.

Transforming Youth Recovery


Learning, investing and building behind the scenes

Behind the specific activities in the five Areas of Focus, we are continuing to build our knowledge and understanding, to invest in infrastructure and to build capabilities. Behind-the-scenes undertakings include: Research-driven studies to uncover the programmatic, political and social landscape for school-based recovery efforts:
The Assets for Building Collegiate Recovery CapacityApril, 2013 Market Study for Recovery High SchoolsSeptember, 2013 Thriving Quotient for Students in Recovery2014-2015 Asset Framework for Community Colleges2014-2015 Market Study for Youth and Family Intervention, Prevention and Recovery Support Services2014-2015

Investments in network platforms to connect people, ideas and resources:

Transforming Youth Recovery is building a robust network platform, Capacitype, to serve as a vehicle for mobilizing collective action on a large scale. Allows activities to spread quickly without being routed through a central authority. Offers space for making connections among people in order to strengthen existing ties, bring new people into the fold and bridge divides. Enables organizers and funders to amplify their place-based efforts and connect communities that span geographies. Supports relationship and network analysis within and among coalitions emerging to serve youth in recovery within communities. All based on the discipline of community mapping to create an inventory of individual, organizational and physical assets that shape the practices of each school-based recovery effort.


Transforming Youth Recovery

Dissemination of grants to provide seeds of hope, infuse energy and mobilize community-based assets to dramatically expand the footprint of youth recovery support efforts.
The creation of toolkits to implement capacity-building activities and the promotion of a networked community of students and practitioners are to be stimulated by seeds of hope grant programs administered by Transforming Youth Recovery. Takes advantage of multiple tactics understood to advance change and garner genuine community support for local recovery support efforts. Includes careful evaluation to inform grant programs due to come online after completion of each areas-of-focus study.

Sustaining the North Star of strengthening healthy action taken by families to properly care for the disease of addiction.

Join Us
We invite you to join our growing network of individuals, professionals and organizations as we work together to create viable solutions and leading edge programs that save lives and change public perceptions of addiction and recovery, one community, one school and one student at a time.

Transforming Youth Recovery

c/o The Stacie Mathewson Foundation P. O. Box 6448 Reno, NV 89513 (858) 350-1111 Stacie Mathewson, Executive Director

Visit for helpful tools and resources and to learn more about our efforts to build pathways to recovery and success.

Transforming Youth Recovery


Transforming Youth Recovery

One Community, One School, One Student At A Time