Category Archives: Charity Design Project


By Ryan Naghi
workingtogether Since I started working here at Creative Matters, I’ve heard many people tell me that despite our cutting-edge work, we are at an inherent disadvantage as a nonprofit ad agency. There’s a reason why no place like us exists—nonprofit and ad agency just don’t go together. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are we surviving; we’re thriving. While bigger for profit companies like Fatburger and Wells Fargo are starting to put their brands in our hands, our work remains centered around other nonprofits. But why?

To understand this, I’ll put myself in the shoes of people who fund nonprofits, because they ultimately decide which missions to power. What do they want? They want to do as much good as efficiently as possible. And what does one nonprofit working with another such as ourselves do; more good per dollar spent. If a need is present, why not purchase it through another nonprofit’s earned income service? They will get the service they want, while allowing another organization to do what they specialize in, and the payments will go towards helping another cause. Working together gets better results, and makes both more worthy of support. As long as people know the extra good they are doing, funding will likely increase. But how you inform a support base is an art in itself, and smart non-profits hire outside support to maximize their impact.

That’s why Creative Matters makes the perfect fit. We are a nonprofit who provides marketing services to raise money for our mission. Since we are both the noteworthy partner and the marketers, our clients fully capitalize on the benefits of collaboration. Letting us manage their brand boosts their nonprofit’s credibility and appeal, because hiring us proves their commitment to bettering society. The beauty of this relationship is elegantly simple. They are more marketable by the very act of purchasing our marketing services, part of which goes towards promoting this new aspect of their brand to the public; it’s a perfect match!

And who exactly are they helping by hiring us? The same people designing the product, because our creative work not only funds our mission, it is our mission. Participating in the creative work itself helps people like me get the job skills, mentorship, and experience that make life exciting again, while making drugs now seem unappealing. Our innovative way of fighting addiction is proven to be 15 times more effective in maintaining sobriety than the dominant form of treatment. Our cause therefore, is one that spells out efficiency and societal impact as well as any, one that donors are more than happy to know they are supporting through our clients’ marketing needs.

Being a nonprofit gives us another advantage. It allows us to better understand their needs, goals, and values, giving the quality of our work a unique boost. For profit companies may still hold some advantages, but they can’t offer the symbiotic relationship that creates this kind of virtuous cycle we share with our clients.

So, here lies my answer to the people with doubts. We fill a tough niche, no doubt about that. It takes a lot for a place like this to exist. It takes persistence and outside support to start up, creativity and ingenuity to grow, and an intrinsic drive for meaning and purpose to manage. Above all else, it takes an understanding of the system at large and how we fit into it. That’s the reason we’re one of a kind. Since these things have all come together, our previous handicaps have transformed into competitive advantages that only we possess. The next step is to continue pointing this out to other nonprofits. It will take some great marketing on our part, but then again, great marketing is what we do.


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Filed under addiction, art, Beit T'Shuvah, BTS Communications, Charity Design Project, Community, Current Events, Dating, Education, Internet, Uncategorized

My 3 Weeks in Room 100

By Andie Miller
     I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the Design Project for Beit T’Shuvah.  It’s a designer’s dream, designing a room carte blanche.  Ideas and visions were flowing—I wasn’t sure where to start.  I found myself calling on Mark Haloossim, owner of Contempo Flooring.  After going through what was needed, a commercial grade carpet that could withstand a lot of foot traffic, and rifling through carpet choices, Mark said, “I have a rather large remnant from a previous job, would you like to see it?”  That carpet remnant became the inspiration for my room.  The first week of the project was spent clearing out the existing space, wiping the slate clean.   Russell and Lance, 2 amazing Beit T’Shuvah residents, removed out all the old furniture, existing carpet, baseboard, sink ,toilet, and mirror leaving only the shower/bath unit.  Rick Brown, a contractor that I use on all my jobs, and a few of his guys came next.  They floated out the ceiling, replaced and installed a bathroom door and jam, gutted the closet, replaced electrical fixtrures, and began patching and painting the walls and ceiling.  The following week Rick and Will helped me install a new closet system, bathroom flooring, headboard, and chair rail a new door jam and door for the bathroom, a much needed addition since the existing door swung outward into the entry hallway making it impossible to enter the room if the door of the bathroom was open.  Crown and base molding in the main room followed, along with installing the new bathroom fixturesJ.  Room 100 was beginning to look like what I had envisioned.
    Now that the room was coming together, I had to think about the furnishings.  The second inspiration I had was by chance.  I was at the Santa Monica Airport Flea Market, looking around, and came upon a beautiful crystal chandelier at Mickey Goldin’s booth. He is a regular vendor selling old and new chandeliers for over 10 years at this flea market.  After telling him what I was doing at Beit T’Shuvah he gave me a huge discount, as he learned it was going to such a good cause.  From that point forward, each piece that I found for the room found me.  Every piece of furnishing was by chance, everything falling into place so smoothly as if some greater force put each furnishing in my path.
    The best part of working on this project was the people. I became closer with people I had known for years and met new people with incredible stories. An inspiring conversation that leaves one feeling fulfilled is the greatest gift anyone could ask for and I found that and so much more working on room 100.
    Although frenetic at times, the atmosphere at Beit T’Shuvah was so incredibly supportive, uplifting and caring, more so than any other place I have ever been to or worked at. One can feel the power of healing by just being amongst the people there.
    For those that live in room 100, know that this room was put together by people who care and believe in you.  I do want to thank Mark Haloossim, Contempo Flooring, for donating such beautiful and durable carpet for my room and the Women’s Lounge along with Rick Brown and Will for donating there countless hours spent helping rebuild the room.  They too are recovering addicts who have been clean for many years that wanted others to know that there is support wherever you may be. Those that reside in room 100, please know we believe you deserve a chance to rebuild your life and that the room is your haven for you to grow.  Lastly, a huge thank you to Craig Miller and Lance Wright, whose tireless help, work, and support will never go unnoticed and always be remembered.

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Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, Charity Design Project, Gratitude, Uncategorized

Passion Meets Creativity Meets The World of Beit T’Shuvah

By Julie Soter

Beit T’Shuvah strives to imbue each of us with passion, instructing us to use our passions to help the community. Two of my passions are creating beautiful environments and interacting with people.  When I first heard about the residence re-design project, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to participate, knowing that these two passions would be ignited.


Men’s Room #219 had a pleasant view of the courtyard, and that was about it.  We demolished the room down to its bare bones and started from scratch, adding much more than a fresh coat of paint.


Those Who Provided moral support, product donations, labor and financial contributions…Their generosity helped fund new bedding, closets, desks, chairs, an incredible wall with vibrant messages, and a functional and attractive bathroom with a pretty cool shower head.

My Brother-In-Law, the general contractor, who schlepped to Ikea, Home Depot and Beit T’Shuvah multiple times to provide his invaluable labor and expertise.

The Artist, a recovering addict who turned his passion for illegal graffiti into a lasting, legal, stunning and startling creation on a wall at Beit T’Shuvah.

The Newly Sober Young Man who I met in the hallway one day.  Still kicking, he was wearing dark sunglasses and a head covering to keep him warm.  I asked him to remove his sunglasses and I saw a beautiful soul behind the still pain-wracked body…please recover your passion and discover your purpose.

The Project Supervisor, two years sober, putting in 16-hour days, 7 days a week, overwhelmed with requests (demands???) from a bunch of perfectionistic designers, never losing his cool, always trying to accommodate everyone.

The Current Residents of Room 219, a lovely gentleman who has reconnected with his children and has been able to remain sober even through the loss of his father, who loves to journal every night before going to sleep; and the vulnerable, sweet once-a-day-cigar smoker, committed to leading a better life, wanting to catch a golf tournament on his unwieldy television during his down time.

My Son, who Beit T’Shuvah breathed life back into, slowly, one day at a time, who is approaching two years of sobriety.  He is the light of my life, and I am beyond grateful on a daily basis for the healing power of Beit T’Shuvah and the inner strength it has taken my magnificent boy to conquer his demons.


Today, I am fulfilled…my passions helped create a peaceful haven for the two continually rotating men who are being given the opportunity to regain their sobriety, dignity and productiveness through Beit T’Shuvah’s incredible life-saving and life-altering program.

May the current and future residents of Room 219 continue the healing process.

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Filed under addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Charity Design Project, Gratitude

2nd Mini Reveal: An Experiment In The Art Of Zen

We’ve hit another milestone in the journey that is Beit T’Shuvah’s Charity Design Project.  This past Sunday, a lot of words got thrown around—words like “thank you,” “I’m so happy,” and “this is amazing” came pouring from the lips of the astonished residents.  But the main word that could be taken from the day was “Zen.”  So many of the designers stated how they “were going for a feeling of Zen and tranquility,” and it’s safe to say they hit the nail on the head.

After weeks of hard work, it was a joyful and somewhat chaotic day.  Hoards of people crowded in Beit T’Shuvah’s hallways, all hoping to get the first glimpse at one of the rooms.  However, Heidi Bendetson and Rhonda Snyder, the two women coordinating the Charity Design Project, kept it all in order.  The most important thing was that the first people inside each room were the designers and the residents.

Below is a small sampling of pictures from the 2nd Charity Design Mini Reveal.


Zen Painting

Zen Graffiti in Room 219

Room 219

The Resident, The Painter, and The Designer

Room 215

The 3 Designers: Anat, Christina, and Debra with a grateful resident

The newly-designed room 215

Room 219

The resident of room 219 sits for a picture with his designer and Heidi and Rhonda

Room 108

The 'Charlie's Angels' Designers of room 108--Shelly, Debra, and Madeline

Room 108 Charity Design

The Tiffany Blue serenity of room 108


Room 211 offers a little piece of paradise.

For all of the photos from Sunday’s event, please visit Beit T’Shuvah’s Flickr page, and for before photos of all the rooms please visit the Designed From The Heart Facebook page.

Tell us what you thought about the rooms in the comments below.

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Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, Charity Design Project, Current Events

Schedule for 2nd Design Project Mini Reveal

The excitement is building as the week progresses toward the Mini Reveal on Sunday!  We can’t wait to see the design creations.  Once again, we want all the designers to know how much we appreciate their effort, time and big hearts.  There will only be 15 minutes between viewing the rooms so to all in attendance, please be ready so we can move smoothly through the process.  Here is the schedule for Sunday April 15, 2012……….
1:00 – Room # 211
1:15 – Room # 215
1:30 – Room # 217
1:45 – Room # 219
2:00 – Room # 108
2:15 – Room # 110
2:30 – Room # 114
If you can’t make it do this Mini Reveal, don’t worry.  The Grand Reveal Open House will be taking place July 12, 2012 where all will be welcome to come and see the rooms!

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Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, Charity Design Project, Current Events

First Round of Room Makeovers Go Off With A Bang….And a Few Tears

By Josh Silver

This past Saturday, March 24, 2012, marked the first round of room makeover reveals for Beit T’Shuvah’s Charity Design Project.  A small crowd of residents and designers gathered at the entrance to the first door.  It was a scene reminiscent of children about to open their holiday gifts.  A scene where the only people more excited than the residents are the designers who get to watch their recipients’ faces light up.  For the residents, it was the first time they were allowed to see their new rooms, after 3 weeks of displacement.  For the designers, it was a chance to see, first hand, how their creative contributions will change the lives of these residents.

Working for a charity like Beit T’Shuvah can be a truly unique experience and people seemed to come out of the woodwork (literally, even carpenters) to help with this project.  Silvia Lombardo and Gabriella Toro are two designers who joined creative forces on Room 205 of the male corridor.  For these two women, working with Beit T’Shuvah was a wholly new frontier.   Silvia and Gabriella are the owners of their own design firm, Cippananda Interior Design, where they specialize in high-end clientele. When they were asked to take on the Charity Design Project, “We just said yes without even thinking,” says Gabriella.  “We all have someone that we know with this problem [addiction]…,” says Silvia, “and so it was a rewarding experience.”  Their goal for the room was to create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere; a comfort zone where the residents could have everything they needed in a small space.  By all accounts, it was a smashing success.  The two men who received this gift ran around the room like kids in a toy store.  Trying out the beds, playing with the dimmer switch (something never seen in a primary care room before), and exploring the wondrous space of their new closets.  The room’s color scheme, black and neutrals, created a clearly masculine atmosphere.  This once dormish-looking room had been transformed into a haven of comfort and style.

Before and After PhotosAfter PhotosCindy Teitelbaum and Lauren Wolf are another dynamic duo.  Their firm, Pastiche Avenue, is more than a business venture—it’s a personal one.  As their website reads, “Large or small, our projects deliver on your vision.”  They have done just that here. “[The residents] need a place to unwind,” says Cindy.  They employed “soothing colors” and “sustainable items” to create a unique and resilient experience for each resident that will pass through these rooms. Pistachio green walls and dark wood furniture are the new rejuvenating yet utilitarian accents.  Not to mention a flat-screen television that will surely become the envy of the female hallways.

All of the residents who were recipients of the transformed living spaces reacted with stark amazement.  Many of them have never lived in a room with so much care and passion put into it.  There was laughter, tears, gasps of shock, and loud exclamations of joy from both the residents and the designers, who were overjoyed that so many of the residents appreciated their hard work.  Designers were flanked by family members who came to the Mini Reveal to observe their loved ones’ life-enhancing work.  With Heidi Bendetson, Founder of Designed from the Heart, and co-chair Rhonda Snyder working as sort of masters of ceremonies for the reveal, everything went off without a hitch.

It wasn’t just the residents and designers who were elated to see the unveiling of Beit T’Shuvah’s transformation.  Beit T’Shuvah staff members popped out of every corner, anxious to see the rooms.  Many of the staff members are former residents themselves.  “This isn’t the same ol’ Beit T’Shuvah,” says Inga, a Resident Intern at Beit T’Shuvah.  As Cantor Rachel Goldman Neubauer walked into a new room, she shed a few quiet tears of bliss and whispered, “I haven’t been in here since I was a resident…it looks amazing.”

Of course, this emotional day was only the beginning.  Work has already begun on the second block of bedrooms at Beit T’Shuvah with another Mini Reveal scheduled in just 3 weeks.  The work that these designers are doing has already made a lasting impact on all of Beit T’Shuvah.  On behalf of the Beit T’Shuvah community, we couldn’t be more grateful.

Stay tuned for more updates, as the heart-thumping, tear-jerking transformation of Beit T’Shuvah continues to take flight.


Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, Charity Design Project, Current Events, T'Shuvah

Beit T’Shuvah Charity Design Project

Designers Touring Beit T'Shuvah

As many people know, Beit T’Shuvah is always striving to give their residents the best care possible.  We are lucky enough to have found a group of volunteers who wish to be a part of that vision, spearheading a project new to the realm of treatment facilities.  Being a nonprofit facility that accepts over 70% of our residents without pay, the treatment has to come first, and unfortunately, aesthetics have always taken a back seat. Thanks to these volunteers, that won’t be the case anymore. Over the course of 3 months, a group of interior designers will take on the challenge of giving our primary care bedrooms a face lift- redesigning the 40 bedrooms from top to bottom.  Beit T’Shuvah and the designers involved hope that by transforming the rooms in which the residents live, they will learn that respect for the place they live in is key to transforming their lives.

This past Friday, the first crop of designers was escorted through the rooms for the first time. Many of the generous designers had volunteered their services before they even knew what Beit T’Shuvah was and whom they were helping.  Of course, once they found out they would be working on a residential addiction treatment facility with a group of people trying to change their lives, their interest was sparked.  Their Charity Design Project, Designed from the Heart, Beit T'Shuvaheagerness to craft comfort for people in times of turmoil is truly moving.  Many of them fired off question after question, not just about the rooms, but about the residents who live in them.  “How long do people live in these rooms?  What kinds of places do they come from?  How much closet space do they need?  Would people actually use a nightstand?”  The moment they discovered who they were doing this for, all the designers seemed greatly excited about the prospect of working on this project. They even jokingly referred to the men’s patio area as “our designer’s challenge.”

The interior designers, who are all donating their time and skills free of charge, were brought together by a new organization called Designed from the Heart.  Heidi Bendetson, the visionary and founder who is bringing all of the designers together, has been hard at work as her and her fellow designers spend the days leading up to March researching this project.  Rhonda Snyder, another pioneer of the design project, spoke to the designers about the direction they should go in with these rooms.  “We want to make these rooms a serene haven for the residents,” she says.

Everyone involved knows that there will be a lot of work to do.  Some of you may be wondering, “How are they going to redesign 40 rooms in just three months?”  Well, like most big undertakings, it can actually be broken down step by step. Four male rooms and four female rooms will be worked on simultaneously.  The residents who currently reside in them will be relocated for 3 weeks while the project is underway. Once complete, the design teams will move on to the next 8 rooms until all 40 are complete.  The project is planned to take place from March through June and will culminate with a Grand Reveal Open House this upcoming summer, showcasing the transformed bedrooms to the inner community, the press, and the general public.  Simple enough right?  And the hope is that these 40 rooms will just be the first phase of the project.  “We’d love to continue with the other rooms, as well as some of the common areas,” states one of the designers involved.  Of course, it’s going to take more than just designers to finish this project on schedule.  The Beit T’Shuvah Charity Design Project will be offering community service to local high school students as well as community volunteers for flooring, lighting, painting, and installing.

You can tell a lot about someone based on where they live.  We at Beit T’Shuvah are all hoping that this design project will give resident’s the opportunity to start respecting the area that they live in and will hopefully turn a treatment center into a home.

*For opportunities to get involved:

  • as a designer (whether you’re an interior designer or have incredible decorating panache)
  •  a sponsor of furniture or materials such as paint, flooring, carpeting, fabric, window treatments, etc),
  • a service provider (such as flooring, painting, lighting, etc)
  • or just a good ol’ volunteer
Please contact Heidi at or 310-702-2558 for details!

* Community Service Hours available and all Donations are Tax Deductible.


Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, BTS Communications, Charity Design Project, Current Events, Gratitude, T'Shuvah, Uncategorized