Arizona Daily Sun, May 2012, by Larry Hendricks, News Team Leader

Ryan, 21, was forced into recovery. For his third rehab, he was sent to the Back2Basics treatment center for young adults in Flagstaff.

“It was my last strike,” he said, smiling, the smell of roasting coffee surrounding him.

When he completed the treatment program to help him kick his addiction, he moved into a place in Flagstaff with another Back2Basics graduate.

He still had some work to do. Ryan said he was like a spoiled child and did not have a work ethic to be successful in life.

So, he applied for and was accepted into an internship program with local business Late for the Train.

“The best thing I learned, for lack of a better term, was ‘work ethic,’” he said.

SUITED UP AND SHOWING UP

Back2Basics combined forces in April with Late for the Train to offer internships to addicts and alcoholics in recovery. The purpose, said Roy DuPrez, CEO and founder of Back2Basics, is to prepare the graduates of the center for the working world by helping them gain professional work experience.

“They’re suiting up and showing up for a responsibility,” DuPrez said, adding that the program is trying to teach the interns how to be self supporting once stabilized.

Back2Basics is a for-profit recovery center that focuses on hands-on activities to get young adults back on track in life. Residents participate in outdoor adventures, focus on a 12-step recovery process, and undergo group and individual therapy for “… the long-term transformation of our residents into a self-sustaining and sober adult.”

David Dobrick, owner and founder of Late for the Train, said the interns are learning roasting, tasting, inventory, ordering, shipping, fixing espresso machines, customer service and all facets of the industry.

“Inclusion is key,” Dobrick said, adding that it’s not just about punching in on the clock and pushing a broom.

“It helps them see what the bigger picture is about,” Dobrick said. “We get them to a point where they can be hired.”

And those character traits and skill sets learned during the internship will follow the interns when they move onto the work force, DuPrez added.

DuPrez also said that some graduates work on-site in other programs in the hotel and restaurant management field. Some graduates return to Back2Basics to work in the center’s outdoor adventure program.

Dobrick said that several of the interns have ended up working for Late for the Train — either in one of the coffee houses or in the warehouse. He said he couldn’t be happier with their performance.

“It’s another opportunity to try to help with somebody’s sobriety,” Dobrick said.

BEYOND GRUNT WORK

Ryan said that, at first during his internship, he was assigned the “grunt work.” But over time, he was taught to identify the subtleties in taste to the various coffees and roasts, and has learned skills on the computer to track inventory. He also has been briefed on the amounts sent to the various cafes and how much to roast in a given week.

He added that he will soon be learning the roasting process from a friend of his, who is also a graduate of Back2Basics.

“I’m really anxious to learn,” Ryan said. “But I’m kind of nervous.”