Jackie Elkins was hesitant about this Spotlight. “Everyone must be tired of us by now,” she said. Indeed, the Elkins family has gotten a great deal of press recently. The reason for this is simple, according to Cheryl Wolf. “They are involved in the Beit T’Shuvah community in so many different ways. And they are all participating in the marathon!”
Beit T’Shuvah’s Running4Recovery marathon team offers residents, staff and community members the opportunity to work toward a healthy goal and is one of BTS’s biggest sources of funds. For the Elkins family, it is also an opportunity to connect with one another in addition to the larger community. Jackie, Keith, Bradley and Sophie plan to walk the second half of the marathon, a 13.3-mile span from Hollywood to Santa Monica. They expect their effort to take between two and one-half to three hours.
Although Jackie thinks readers must be bored with the Elkins’ story, we don’t agree.
Bradley Elkins’ substance abuse problem wasn’t the first time the disease had touched the Elkins family. About fifteen years ago, Jackie’s brother was jailed as a result of his drug abuse. Shortly thereafter, Jackie heard Carrie Newman, the head of Beit T’Shuvah’s Alternative Sentencing department, speaking at a Jewish Federation event, and Jackie found a ray of hope. Carrie visited Jackie’s brother in jail and arranged for him to come to BTS. Thus began the Elkins family’s long history with Beit T’Shuvah. Since then, Jackie’s nephew has come through the program, and toward the end of 2016, Jackie and Keith’s son Bradley became a BTS resident.
Bradley immersed himself in the program, and in late 2017, was hired as a P.F. While he is no pushover, Bradley brings a positive and calming influence to the job and is a favorite of both residents and staff. “Bradley has found a passion,” say his parnets. He communicates effectively and with the community at large. Recently, he went with the Prevention department to speak at a high school.
The family continues to support Beit T’Shuvah financially and bring their talents into the mix. Keith, an attorney, is working with the board on specific grant proposals to bring funding into BTS. In early Spring 2017, Jackie taught interested residents how to make challah, and Baked T’Shuvah was born. Sophie, a college sophomore, joins her family in supporting Beit T’Shuvah. “Beit T’Shuvah has been there for us, and we will always be here for BTS,” says Keith.
The Elkins look forward to the marathon as a great bonding experience. And they are a friendly bunch. If you see them on marathon day, you would do well to say hello.