Teen Challenge is a Christian organization that offers a chance to those who are desperate to be freed from the life-controlling problem of substance abuse. We are here reaching out to men who are bound in pain and the hopelessness of addiction. It is here that there is help for those who are without the necessary support, knowledge and opportunities to live productively.
Just when you think all is lost and you’ve tried everything to be free and many times failed, comes a new approach, one that recognizes the power of God’s ability to change a persons heart and renew his mind. You can be free and you can have a future that is full of promise and unrealized dreams. Many have chosen this path and have experienced the life changing power of the Gospel.
From the beginning this unique program has operated under the concept that a person with life controlling problems must be transformed physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually.
Founded in Brooklyn, New York, by David Wilkerson, Teen Challenge gained international fame through Mr. Wilkerson’s first book, The Cross and the Switchblade, a recount of his personal encounter with addicted teens. What started out as an answer to gang violence and drug addiction in NYC in 1958 has come to be the hope and solution for thousands of men, women and families from all walks of life world wide.
Today’s culture is very different than it was when Teen Challenge first emerged in the 1950’s. Those teens who sparked the heart of David Wilkerson to start Teen Challenge were not typical teenagers, today however, that behavior has come to be accepted as the norm.
Gang and drug violence to a degree of ruthlessness plagues our cities and communities. What were once thought to be low income inner city problems have now become a part of daily suburban life and culture. Jails and prisons are filled with inmates, most of which will return because the cause of their actions are not being addressed. Rich or poor, illiterate or highly educated, inner city or suburbia, addiction leaves no stone unturned.
Society has many different perspectives on how to resolve the problems of addiction, from harsh jail sentences to the extreme idea of legalizing “so called safe” drugs such as marijuana, harm reduction programs such as methadone clinics and clean needle exchange programs.
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With the expectancy of complete recovery from addiction so low, society has simply resorted to sustaining the addicts addiction in a controlled manor, trying to prevent him/her from continuing in destructive and dangerous activities that over burden our social and judicial systems.
Many of the men who come to Teen Challenge have already experienced many of these types of treatment, some forced by their choices and others seeking to be freed from their addictions. Most, however, have not found the help and hope they were looking for.
Whether we realize it or not, all of us are affected by addiction. Our tax dollars are gobbled away by social programs dealing with health and behavior modification, jail systems and other services related to addictive practices. Children are left without parents, parents lose their children and families are torn apart leaving wounded confused and angry members. Addiction becomes rooted in families and neighborhoods and the behavior repeats its self in future generations.
The GOOD NEWS is, Teen Challenge provides a doorway to hope of recovery and the beginning of a new life. Many men and women have received this chance for change by addressing the whole man/woman, the physical body, physiological needs, social needs and spiritual needs. Teen Challenge has a proven track record and is known to be one of the most successful programs in the world with a high rate of recovery from substance abuse. It is our goal to see men and women return to their families, jobs, and communities as productive, participating members of society no longer controlled by substance abuse or the behaviors associated with it.
Since our inception in 1958, Teen Challenge has grown to include more than 200 centers in the United States and centers in 80 countries world wide. Thousands of lives are being touched daily by the Teen Challenge program.