Meet the Students of CGS: Helping to Sustain Recovery
Almost one in five unemployed people use illicit drugs. But do people lose their jobs because they are addicted to drugs, or do they become addicted to drugs when they face the stress of unemployment? The evidence suggests unemployment is a risk factor for drug abuse, so workforce development is a key part of helping people recover from substance abuse. Raymond Rosenbloom (CGS’16, SAR’18) helped recovering substance users through his work with the Gavin Foundation, a drug rehabilitation program in Boston.
Rosenbloom worked with the Gavin Foundation from his sophomore year through his senior year via Project Hope, a public health program of the Boston University Community Service Center. During his junior year, he became program manager of Project Hope and worked with another student, Katie Mossburg (ENG’20), to write a proposal to receive funding through the Santander Urban Impact Microgrant Program. Zachary Hobbs, director of the BU Community Service Center, said the program “supported students intellectually and financially as they explored more deeply a community partner, a social justice challenge, or an opportunity for connection between BU and our Boston neighbors.”
Hobbs said, “The Santander Urban Impact Microgrant offered Raymond the chance to partner more closely with Gavin Foundation, developing his skills as a civic leader and agent of change while providing a critical, unmet resource to the organization and its clients.” Rosenbloom worked with Rodney Dailey of the Gavin Foundation to support its workforce
development program. The program provided USB flash drives with job search and interview tips, and TJX giftcards so participants could buy appropriate interview attire. Rosenbloom and other volunteers helped write three to six resumes a week for the program participants.
Rosenbloom said, “Working with clients at the Gavin Foundation has highlighted how important economic and employment status are in the recovery process. I have been inspired by the perseverance and myriad of skills/talents that many of the folks we help write resumes for have, and frustrated by the degree to which substance use disorders are seen as a law enforcement issue rather than as a public health issue, particularly for minorities. It has also been a great privilege to work with Rodney Dailey and see his passion and skills in creating and managing an efficient and organized workforce development program.”
Although he graduated in May 2018, Rosenbloom is still involved in with the Gavin Foundation. He’s planning an event to recognize the workforce development program’s partnerships with employers who have hired many of the folks who have graduated the program. In the fall of 2018, he plans to begin a master of medical science before applying to medical school in 2019 and beginning his career in primary care. The Santander Urban Impact Microgrant program has been discontinued, but students can still turn to the Community Service Center for resources and support to meaningfully strengthen their community engagement.