Opioids. A word that 40 years ago may have been unknown to many Americans is now a household term. Opioid misuse is considered an epidemic and those who struggle with substance use disorders are often heavily stigmatized. There are those who judge and there are those who help. TJ Ward, a 1992 TCA Alum, is among those who have dedicated their careers to helping those in need.
TJ is the North Florida Director of Advocacy for Project Opioid, a state-wide collaborative focused on gathering top leaders across various communities to confront the overdose crisis. His work focuses on saving and transforming the greatest number of lives possible through implementing a regional overdose initiative, inclusive of education and awareness, coordinating collaborations, and conducting high level advocacy for populations at risk for substance use disorders. When reflecting on what he is most grateful and proud of with his career so far, he stated “helping [to] bring awareness to the overdose crisis on a large scale”.
Over the past 25 years of his professional life, TJ has worked in the nonprofit sector growing two large organizations from the ground up. Within those 25 years he spent 10 in educational leadership, and another 13 years as a faith leader. A student at TCA since age 3, TJ acknowledged Coach Dorminey with impacting his spiritual walk. “[He] taught me you can have a relationship with God and still enjoy life,” he said. TJ’s favorite memory during his time at TCA was winning the state championship in basketball his senior year. TJ also credits the school with preparing him for his current career. “I specifically remember being grateful for the English class I had my senior year. It prepared me for the extensive amount of writing I had to do in college and graduate school,” said TJ. “[The] same goes for my career, I write well today because of the skills I learned at Trinity.”
TJ holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts from Maranatha Baptist University and a Master of Science degree in Management and Administration from Nova Southeastern University. In his career, he attributes much of his success to genuinely caring for people and learning to communicate effectively with others while pointing them to a preferred future. TJ cherishes his time at TCA and hopes that anyone looking to attend TCA remembers to have compassion and see everyone through a human lens.
To learn more about TCA and how it is empowering others, like TJ, to discover and live out their God-given purpose, visit https://tcajax.org/.