JCF Cutting Edge Grant Elevates BTS Communications

By M. Alexander

BTS Communications has just been awarded the JCF Cutting Edge Grant, an ultra-competitive grant from The Jewish Community Foundation.  BTS Comm will receive $250,000 over the next three years to train 50 interns in the marketing and advertising fields—including internships in copywriting, social media, press relations, and video.

A year ago, I was one of the first interns in BTS Communications—the brainchild of recovering addict and criminal John Sullivan.  I started writing for BTS Closet Next to the Counseling Office when I had only a few months at Beit T’Shuvah.  And I’ve been working there ever since.  When talking with my friend last night, he asked me what about Beit T’Shuvah has kept me sober; why could I not get sober anywhere else, trying every other method—fancy treatment centers, posh sober livings, A.A, harm reduction, doctors— none of it worked.  Why did Beit T’Shuvah work for me? What does Beit T’Shuvah have that nothing else does?  Sure, it was a combination of timing, community, and willingness.  But the first thing that came to my mind, before everything else, was BTS Communications. Without John Sullivan and the chance he gave to me, I don’t know if I would be sober to this day.

One of my biggest struggles has always been finding my passion.  I have always had an overwhelming fear of the working world.  I couldn’t make a living trading basketball cards and I was no good at drug dealing.  I can’t work in retail and I hate insurance, equities, stocks, and science.  How could I stay sober if each week, 40 hours or more were written off as miserable time-consuming spiritual drainage?  I thought that I could never find happiness in work.  At previous treatment centers, their idea of career counseling was taking me to the mall so that I could fill out resumes at GameStop.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t like video games, I had just graduated college, and I had already expressed my distaste with retail sales.

Beit T’Shuvah noticed my passion for writing and my talent for it.  And they had this brand-new agency where I could hone my passion and develop a little bit of purpose.  Honestly, I think it may have saved my life.  This grant from JCF will ensure that 50 more interns will have the same opportunity that I had, that the closet next to the counseling office, which has moved to an office next to Independent Living, will continue to mature and grow.  And since I now know that I am not a terminally-unique tortured soul, I’m sure that other lives will be saved just as mine was.

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