We had the good fortune of connecting with Rose Castro and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rose, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I lost my 26 year-old son, Jeremy, to a fentanyl overdose in 2017. He had struggled with heroin addiction for several years prior to his passing. He died in his bedroom at home (my house) and I found his body that Wednesday morning. This description is not meant for pity, but to describe the depths of pain caused by drug addiction.

It was the loss of my son hat drove me to action. Although I felt helpless to combat the enormity of the opioid epidemic, I knew I had to do something. After much pondering, and while walking Jeremy’s dog, a voice in my head proclaimed, “You are not helpless”. It was in that moment that I thought about starting a non-profit organization, aimed at helping people recover from drug addiction.

I didn’t know anything about starting or running a non-profit, how to fund raise, how to allocate funds, how we would actually help people, or even if I should pursue this idea. All I knew is that I wanted to help prevent another mom from losing her child to an overdose. So, I let myself be guided by my heart and passion, which motivated me to work hard and learn what I needed to know. Of course, I am still learning, but there is no doubt in my mind, that starting this foundation, was a risk well worth taking.

Image Credit: Emily Elizabeth Photography

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work as the president of the Jeremy Castro Foundation, a non-profit organization which we started in response to the death of my son, Jeremy, from a fentanyl overdose in 2017. It was our hope that we could prevent even one more fatal overdose in our community, by offering help to those suffering from heroin/drug addiction. We do this by sponsoring them in reputable sober-living facilities in Ventura County. We also educate high-school students about the reality of drug use/abuse, and work to end the stigma of addiction.

We are the only non-profit in our area that actually provides financial assistance to those seeking recovery. Often, an addict does not have the means to afford a sober-living home, which is where we come in. We provide the money for people who could, otherwise, not afford it.

We rely upon direct public donations and grants to fund our cause. Fund raising is the most challenging part of my job, and I’m always looking for new avenues, including spreading the word of our mission…like this Questionnaire!

While this work keeps the memory of Jeremy’s passing fresh in my mind, I am motivated to continue, when I see the fruits of our labor. There is nothing more gratifying than to see an addict reclaim his/her life and regain their dignity, self-respect, and gratitude for their life. It’s a beautiful thing!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day 1: The first day, we would hang by my pool and jacuzzi (with cocktails) in the evening so she could unwind from her trip.

Day 2-3: Go up to Santa Barbara, and see the Butterfly Preserve, shop on State Street, have dinner at the Sand Bar and spend the night.

Day 4: The next day, we’d return to Thousand Oaks and hit Stone Haus in Westlake, with some of my friends, and have dinner at Mediterranean.

Day 5: Visit the Reagan Library and have cocktails/dinner at Mastros

Day 6: Go to Channel Islands and kayak in the harbor and/or rent a Duffy boat and cruise the harbor, with food and drinks on the boat.

Day 7: Leisurely breakfast at Side Street Cafe and say our good-byes!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to recognize all addicts who are courageous enough to try to get sober, who dare to believe that they can get sober and take a risk on themselves.

I also want to recognize my daughter, Rebecca Castro, who co-founded JCF with me, shares my passion for our mission, and continues to be my rock.

Website: www.jeremycastrofoundation.org

Instagram: jc.foundation

Facebook: JC Foundation

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.