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TROSA: “Each One, Teach One”

Summary: 
Divya Kumaraiah, Policy Assistant to the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, explores TROSA, an innovative social enterpris that approaches drug rehabilitation in a unique way.

Founded in 1994, TROSA, or Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, Inc., is different than most other drug rehabilitation programs.  Located in Durham, North Carolina, TROSA offers a comprehensive, two year, individualized, residential substance abuse recovery program, during which residents receive support and employment.  By the time they graduate from the program, residents have a personal savings account, a donated and refurbished car, transitional housing, and marketable job skills.

TROSA accepts substance abusers into their program under one condition: they must want to change their lives.  The philosophy is based on empowerment and self-help.  The program aligns with four principles: a strong work ethic; a good education; strong communication skills; and physical and mental well-being.

TROSA illustrates the impact of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise by bringing together business ideas and skills with a social outcome.  Businesses gain skilled employees from TROSA, ultimately benefitting both the business and the individual.  TROSA’s commitment to personal success and change does not end when a participant finds employment; rather, TROSA provides a transition program that helps former clients as they leave the program. 

TROSA’s motto “Each One, Teach One” turns learning and leadership into skills that are a part of everyday life.  TROSA is an example of a community solution that is successfully changing the lives of many people in their community.

Divya Kumaraiah is Policy Assistant to the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation