At TROSA, we believe in comprehensive recovery and building individuals’ skills in order to promote long-term success. That’s why we are dedicated to supporting our residents’ educational growth and vocational aptitudes. As an example, all individuals without a high school diploma or GED who are receiving treatment at TROSA – approximately 25% of our residents – are required to take GED prep courses with the goal of earning their GED. With this educational foundation, residents have a much greater opportunity for success in gaining and maintaining stable employment and sustained sobriety, thanks to this hard-earned credential and a newfound sense of pride and accomplishment.
We provide these opportunities at no cost to our residents. To make this possible, we rely on the support of donors and community partners who believe in our work and share our passion for helping to rebuild lives. Recently, a generous bequest from Margaret (Peggy) Pickard Sirvis (1924-2017) has funded our education advancement opportunities for TROSA residents for one full year. Thanks to the generosity and friendship of the Sirvis family, our residents can earn their GEDs or take their first college courses. Last fiscal year, 23 residents earned their GED and 55 residents took courses at Durham Technical Community College.
Margaret had a long history of dedicating her time and resources to empowering her community. She was born and raised in Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Group Social Work. A longtime activist, she was dedicated to social justice, working behind the scenes on desegregation efforts and speaking out in opposition to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
While working at a nonprofit in Bridgeport, CT, Margaret met her husband, Genrik S. Sirvis (1918-2005), the son of hard-working immigrant parents from Lithuania. They married in 1945 and welcomed a daughter, Barbara, a year later. They each had a dream—he to be an entrepreneur and she to make the world a better place. Together, they built a small, successful technology-related business in California. Throughout this time, Margaret continued in the spirit of her nonprofit background as a Girl Scout and community volunteer, including service as an Elder and Delegate to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
Margaret and Genrik worked hard and lived modestly. Margaret asked that their remaining income be used to support community agencies that provide services and tools to help rebuild lives. With her legacy gift to TROSA, Margaret is able to give back to an organization that serves individuals in her home community. Her gift is directed to help cover expenses for individuals seeking educational advancement opportunities at TROSA.
One such individual is Bill, a 2016 TROSA graduate who earned his GED while a resident in TROSA’s two-year recovery program. As a child and teenager, Bill was quiet and shy, struggling socially and academically. By the age of 12, to “try to fit in and feel like I was a part of something,” Bill tried marijuana for the first time.
He was introduced to the drug through his neighborhood friend’s father who smoked and drank alcohol. Bill dropped out of school, became a father at the age of 18, and began taking prescription pain pills as a way to cope with his tumultuous life. Bill turned to TROSA’s two-year recovery program, graduated, and is now a role model for many at TROSA. As he neared graduation, Bill successfully applied for the competitive position of Staff-in-Training (SIT), which means he now serves in a leadership role at TROSA while receiving one-on-one mentorship to build the skills necessary to become part of the TROSA staff. He credits earning his GED as a major life accomplishment.
Thanks to Margaret, and others like her – those who recognize that individuals can achieve great things when given the opportunity – Bill was given the chance to realize his true, full potential and lead a healthy, happy, and productive life.
Throughout her life, Margaret remained committed to helping others, to making the world a better place. She will be remembered for her commitment to community and for her ever-present smile and warm greeting for all whom she met. She was a TROSA annual fund donor for many years, and this steadfast commitment to her community carries on through her planned gift. We are very grateful for the support of Margaret, Genrik, and their daughter, Barbara. Their generosity will impact the lives of many.
Photo of Margaret’s daughter, Barbara Sirvis; Kevin McDonald, TROSA Founder, President and CEO; and Bill, a proud TROSA graduate
Leave Your Own Legacy
If you are thinking of making a legacy gift to TROSA – thank you. There are many ways to leave a legacy of support, and naming TROSA as a beneficiary in your will is one common way to make a lasting impact. Please click here to learn more about this and other ways to support TROSA. If you have any questions, please contact Janice Kalin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-419-1059 ext. 1600.
Thank you for thinking generously about TROSA!