As a mom to four children Jonae was committed to starting a new life for herself and for her family. After trying several short-term treatments, Jonae knew she needed a long-term and comprehensive residential program.

Jonae started TROSA’s program on November 14, 2017.  TROSA is a multiyear recovery program for men and women with substance use disorders. TROSA provides cost-free housing, clothing, meals, counseling, life skills and vocational training, education opportunities, health care, and more.

Every TROSA resident participates in community assignments as part of a comprehensive therapeutic program. Jonae’s community assignment was primarily on the TROSA Kitchen and Culinary team, where she gained experience “in just about everything you can think of.” Her attention to detail and skills showed through her baking and cooking. Jonae is proud of her accomplishments…proud of her recovery…and proud of the person she has become…but this confidence didn’t arrive overnight.

“I first got high at age 8. When I was 13 or 14, I started with alcohol…then heroin in my 20s. I had overdosed three different times. I really needed help.” After years in addiction, she learned about TROSA.

Led and managed by graduates of TROSA’s multiyear recovery program, the TROSA Kitchen team organizes, preps, cooks, and serves a wide variety of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Last year, our team served over 500,000 meals to TROSA residents. TROSA Kitchen also oversees the campus coffee shop, and prepares special catering orders for TROSA meetings and events.

During COVID-19, the TROSA Kitchen team worked together to enact new cleaning and serving protocols, and social distance measures to help keep our community nourished, healthy, and safe. This included preparing and delivering additional meals to graduates and residents who may not be able to travel to the campus cafeteria, and coordinating deliveries of produce and supplies for TROSA residents to cook together in their shared housing.

While learning new healthy behaviors for a life without drugs and alcohol, Jonae participated in TROSA’s life skills and education opportunities, gaining many transferable skills and credentials. Through TROSA, she completed Durham Technical Community College’s Culinary Arts Training program and earned her ServSafe certification, which is a national food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the U.S. National Restaurant Association. And through her hard work and dedication, she’s regained her family’s trust: “My family is proud of me. I’m consistent. I’m reliable…they trust me now.”

At TROSA, Jonae was able to focus on herself while also helping others. She is particularly proud of her work teaching and empowering other women in TROSA’s program. “I’m someone the other women can relate to. I’m able to get to know them and we have shared experiences. I felt it was important to help train women in the program in TROSA’s Kitchen because it’s a great opportunity, and I’ve encouraged our women to challenge themselves.”

Today, Jonae is looking forward to her future. And she can do so with confidence. “One of the things I’ve gained here is self-respect,” shares Jonae. “I know I am worth it.”