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Signature Programs

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey currently has two signature programs.

  • The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey collaborates with the Partnership for A Drug-Free New Jersey on the Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative. This initiative addresses the opioid epidemic through community outreach, prescriber education, parent education and a statewide awareness campaign.

    The Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative began in 2017 with the Town Hall Series held for all 21 New Jersey counties in 2017 and 2018. The program expanded in 2019 and 2020 to include a prescriber education webinar, as well as parent education through PDFNJ’s 5th Grade Parent Alert. In addition, this expansion accomplished community outreach via a statewide awareness public service campaign. The second phase also included community town halls, which were interrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic and held as webinars in spring and fall of 2020.

      Knock Out Opioid Abuse: Rutgers Hall of Fame and NFL Quarterback Ray Lucas


    Ray Lucas:
    Ask your doctor about what else you can take besides a narcotic. "How much are you giving my son, daughter? I want to know. Are you going to give him a week's supply, are you going to give him a month's supply?" One game does not define your career.

    Ray Lucas:
    So when I got to college, here, I'm the big fish at Harrison High, you get up there, you're like, "Hold on, wait a second. Maybe I made the wrong decision. Maybe I'm not in the right place." You start questioning yourself. But I had the wherewithal inside me that there was not going to be one man to ever hold me back from attaining what I wanted to obtain. When I got to the NFL that's when it started coming in where you have one prescription for knee surgery. I blew my whole knee out. I got 120 Vicodin. That went to 500 Vicodin. That went easily to 1,000 Vicodin. When I was at my worst, it was 1,400 to 1,600 pills a month, sometimes 80 pills a day. So that rolled up on itself real quick, and that's how I became dependent on opioids. And it was like that, quick, fast, and in a hurry.

    Angelo Valente: Prescribed opioids have the same chemical makeup as heroin, and that's why they're so addictive.

    Maguire: The health of you, our student-athletes, is the number one priority for the NJSIAA.

    Schiano: Sports are awesome, but injuries are something that do occur. And when you get hurt, you need to go to your trainer, go to your doctor, be honest with your parents. Occasionally, you're going to need medicine, and if opioids is the choice of your doctor, make sure you communicate with your trainer and your parents. And if it becomes any kind of an issue, please, please talk to your family about it because there's help out there. It does not have to be a problem.

    Kunis: Student-athletes are at an even greater risk of substance use, social anxiety, and eating disorders than other students. And many say they wouldn't know what to do or where to go if they needed professional help.

    Angelo Valente: It is so vital that athletes, parents, and coaches understand the risks of opioids.

    Ray Lucas:
    What got me to the top of the mountain in the NFL was a blessing and a curse at the same time because when I got into addiction, I didn't know how to say, "Hey, I'm killing myself. You all need to help me quick, fast, or I'm going to die." That, to me, was the hardest thing I had to do.

    Valente: Parents and coaches, you need to know the signs and symptoms of addiction so we can keep our children and athletes safe.

    Ray Lucas:
    What you learn in sports will benefit you going forward in your life. Not everybody's going to go to the NFL or WNBA or whatever that may be. But if you get an education and you fall back on what you learn playing that game, you will elevate yourself to levels that you can only dream of.

    Schiano: As coaches, as parents, as administrators, we have to keep our eyes open, and we need to listen to our players. If you need help, help's out there. Ray's story is a classic example. When he asked for help, any number of people came to his assistance.

    Ray Lucas:
    Athletes, if you need help, ask for help.

    Maguire: If you need help, ask for help.

    Kunis: If you need help, ask for help.

    Angelo Valente: If you need help, ask for help.

    Greg Schiano: Together, we can knock out opioid abuse.

    The third phase of the project focuses on educating student athletes, a group that can be more susceptible to opioid misuse and addiction. This is due to a higher likelihood of exposure to prescription opioids to treat sports injuries. The new Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative also includes parent education through the 5th Grade Parent Alert and community outreach via a statewide awareness public service campaign.

    The town halls will be delivered in 10 high schools statewide, and will feature Ray Lucas, a former professional athlete. Lucas has battled a substance use disorder, and will share how it impacted his own life and those around him. Collaborating partner New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) will help facilitate participation from its member schools.

  • Kids’ Oral Health Program

    The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested $1,250,000 in the Kids’ Oral Health Program since it launched in 2016. The goal of this Signature Initiative is to improve oral health-related awareness, education, prevention and treatment for young people up to age 18 years.

    Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the initiative provided 18 grants totaling $1,000,000 to New Jersey-based nonprofits working to improve the oral health of children. Collectively, both phases served over 30,000 individuals.

    Collective Impact of Phases 1 and 2

    • 23,098+ Oral Health Education Recipients
    • 10,412 Fluoride Treatments
    • 5,604 Sealants Applied
    • 2,209 Fillings

    Phase 3 – Horizon Endowed Scholarship

    The Horizon Foundation launched Phase 3 of the Kids’ Oral Health Program to continue improving the oral health outcomes of children and families.

    Horizon provided a $250,000 grant to the Rutgers University Foundation to establish a Horizon Endowed Scholarship at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (RSDM), the state’s only dental school.

    The scholarship will give individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds more opportunities to attend dental school. The goal is to build a pipeline of diverse professionals in the dental field.

    Meet the Inaugural Horizon Endowed Scholars

    Ben Regis, a first-year student and Saloni Patel a fourth-year student in RSDM’s pediatric residency program, each received a $10,000 scholarship.