Teen Challenge gives help, hope to youth *with addictions

Published 8:33 am Monday, December 1, 2014

In modern society, perhaps more than any other time in history, the availability of illegal and prescription drugs is mind-boggling. Most people have at least one friend or family member who struggles now or who has fought the battle with addiction. It is heartbreaking to see a family torn apart by the drug abuse of a parent or child. Horrifically, it is sometimes parents who introduce their children to drug use.

Young people should be enjoying life and preparing to become productive, independent adults. Instead some fall into the ravages of drug addiction. Whether through giving in to peer pressure or the curiosity to try something new, the devastating results are the same. Sunken eyes, trembling hands, rotten teeth and a soul damaged by evil are too high a price for anyone to pay for some illusive escape from reality.

David Wilkerson, author of “The Cross and the Switchblade,” founded Teen Challenge in 1958 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a young pastor from Pennsylvania with a vision. What began as one man’s desire to help the hurting and lead them to the healer, Jesus Christ, has multiplied many times over. The program Wilkerson founded has made a positive difference in the lives of many individuals and their families. Teen Challenge is now a very successful 12-month residential program and has grown into one of the largest in the world. No prospective student is turned away because of his or her inability to pay.

Thanks to the program there is help for young people and families dealing with drug and alcohol abuse. There are people who have battled their demons and won. Many of these overcomers have made it part of their life mission to help others who have lost their way.

According to the Teen Challenge website, www.louisianateenchallenge.com, Jessica Jacobson entered the program in 2011 with a desire to deal with her addictions. While Jessica was at Teen Challenge something extraordinary and wonderful took place in her heart. According to Jacobson, she had a supernatural encounter with Jesus. Today Jessica is completely free from all her addictions and is giving her life away by working in the ministry to help other women find the same freedom she has found.

Louisiana Teen Challenge provides youth, adults, and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems. By applying biblical principles, Teen Challenge endeavors to help people become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well and spiritually alive. Through committed staff and effective programs, Teen Challenge seeks to produce graduates who function responsibly and productively in society and who have healthy relationships in the work place, family, church and community.

A lifestyle of sobriety and health is obtainable. Prospective students must be at least 17 years old and in relatively good physical health. New Orleans’ Teen Challenge men’s program may be reached at 504-947-7974. Minden Family Center’s women’s program may be reached at 318-382-0203.