Mark and Lisa Daley (left) and family.

In the 15 years that Mark Daley has been engaged with the UNC Horizons Program as an ambassador, donor and volunteer, he’s seen the lives of women and their children change right before his eyes. With trauma-responsive care that addresses the painful life experiences that often precede substance use, UNC Horizons provides women who enter the program with an opportunity to wholly heal and lead the lives they deserve.

Mark Daley knew that UNC Horizons worked, but as a business leader, he also knew that potential supporters of the program would need hard data on its outcomes. Daley knew one more thing: he’d found a new way to make an impact.

This year Daley and his wife Lisa made a substantial gift to UNC Horizons that complements an April 2018 gift of $250,000 from the John W. Pope Foundation. He said UNC Horizons’ innovative nature and desire to continually evaluate their processes is symbolic of a world-class program that deserves to grow.

“Early on, I was struck how by how integrated and holistic the program is, and it was clear that is a big reason in why they are so successful. Other programs deal with issues of addiction in isolation, and UNC Horizons has proven the efficacy of healing the whole person, which includes the previous trauma that so frequently precedes substance use,” he said. “By keeping a client’s children with her, the entire family can heal.”

Of particular interest to Daley and his family is the collection of data to measure the importance of responding to women’s spiritual needs while they are in treatment, and what role their spiritual lives play in recovery. For this research, UNC Horizons will collaborate with UNC’s Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Barbara Fredrickson, whose research on human emotions has added scientific weight to the power of positive thinking.

“Other scientific research has shown that what is going on with a client spiritually – how they view God or a higher power or their own belief system – is tied to mental and emotional health. Horizons’ work to heal the whole person touches on this, but we’re interested in finding out through Frederickson’s work how this truly impacts someone therapeutically.”

Daley said an objective, data-driven approach will produce results that can inform better treatment protocols all over the world.

“What we learn from this study will have a huge ripple effect. We have enormous public and private resources that are spent on ineffective treatment programs or incarceration. These programs mean well, but we want them to learn from our success,” he said. “In order for women and families to heal, here in North Carolina and around the world, UNC Horizons needs to fine tune what it already does well so that we can reach more women and children, and so we can change the trajectory of their lives.”