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“I can wait,” says Kali (‘Kay-lee”) Arvidson, Creative Matters’ new Graphic Designer. We are standing in front of the cash register area at our favorite lunch spot, which, sadly, never has our orders ready at the same time. Kali, who isn’t feeling well, has ordered two pieces of toast. First two of us got our sandwiches. Then two more (who were pleasantly surprised to find the first two had waited before wolfing down their second halves).
That was when we discovered that along with an amiable disposition, Kali has patience – possibly more than all of her colleagues combined. When asked about her toast, Kali noted that there seemed to be a glut of online orders, but that she expected it soon. And soon, she had it.
In many ways Kali’s background is not that of the typical Beit T’Shuvah employee. Although neither she nor the members of her immediate family are addicts, she was taught from her earliest childhood days about the deleterious effects of substance use. As she grew, she has seen these effects come to life. Her paternal grandfather, an alcoholic drinker, suffered serious illness as a result. Additionally, her father is a Marriage and Family Therapist, and he told Kali and her sister of many drug users he saw in his work. Meth was the prevalent drug in Grass Valley, the town in Central California in which Kali grew up; his stories conveyed the tragic insanity of addiction. According to Kali, “these were a very effective deterrent.”
But BTS has changed Kali’s view of addiction from this faceless danger. “Even in the short time I have been here, my experience at Beit T’Shuvah has absolutely changed my perception of addiction. I didn’t think anything especially negative before, but I didn’t realize just how close it is to home. It could literally be literally anyone, including me. I can picture myself struggling with it if I had chosen a different form of relief from negative feelings,” Kali says.
Kali also grew up in a loving Christian environment, one which emphasized religion and integrity. Says Kali, “I did go to public school through high school, though, rather than religious school. I am very glad to have been able to build friendships with all kinds of people.” Kali returned to Christian schooling and receiving her undergraduate degree in studio art and design from Azusa Christian University.
As for art and design, “I was born a ‘maker’!” Kali says with a laugh. “Even as a kid I was always doing something crafty. I had a little corner to work in – and there was always a trail, sometimes of glitter, going to and from it. I never got bored with creating things. When it came time for higher education, there was no question what I would study.”