TROSA was founded in 1994 with President and CEO Kevin McDonald at the helm and just $18,000 in the bank. Durham County Commissioners showed their support by voting unanimously to lease the Old North Durham Elementary School to TROSA for $1 per year and the Durham Chamber of Commerce provided a grant. In order to provide vocational training and generate additional revenue, Kevin began a potato peeling business and later a moving company.
During the next decade, TROSA grew by every measure: the number of residents, facilities, programs, staff, and business success. The facilities expanded to include dedicated spaces for commercial operations and, with the purchase of a 13 acre site (now our central campus), for administrative, medical, and intake offices. (This site also included housing for over 250 residents.)
By 2005, TROSA had become one of the region’s most successful drug rehabilitation centers and an early social enterprise. TROSA Moving was, and is, the largest independent mover in the Triangle region, routinely being recognized by citizens as the area’s “Best.” TROSA Lawn Care established itself as our second largest company - run and developed by a TROSA graduate - and also voted the "Best" in the region.
Since our founding, we’ve continued to improve our programming and remain aligned with best practices. We received our license from the state as a therapeutic community, and by collaborating with Duke University Medical Center began accepting residents with some mental illness diagnoses in addition to their substance abuse disorder. We’ve added more specialized programs such as therapies for women and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as aftercare services for graduates including relapse prevention groups; transportation to/from work or school; and safe, sober housing at reduced rent.
In the past several years, TROSA has continued to expand in a number of important areas. Again, by collaborating with Duke University as well as the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation we have added an onsite nurse practitioner. In 2010 we completed construction of our new Community Center/Gymnasium. This 12,500 sq. ft. facility provides additional classroom and recreation space, exercise equipment and room for all residents to gather for community events like quarterly graduation and holiday parties.
TROSA has two important future goals. First, are our efforts to develop a more consolidated and integrated campus. In 2012, we completed construction of two 75 person dormitories on our main campus. This means that now the majority of residents will live in one location which will provide both logistical and therapeutic benefits. Our final phase of this plan calls for adding educational classrooms and a larger food storage facility.
Having a centralized campus will move us toward our second goal: becoming a model long-term therapeutic community. Throughout NC and the broader US there is an increasing need for effective, affordable treatment for substance abuse. With expanded and centralized facilities, we can train others in our unique model.