2020 Annual Impact Report
Her background shook me to the core. At age seven, she had been raped and was drinking regularly. Both parents were severe addicts and the abuse continued to grow. She was raped again at age nine. Out of this childhood, she became an addict with heavy suicidal tendencies.
Then she met Jesus.
When she and I spoke, there was new life–a transformed woman is beginning to blossom. Jesus transformed her whole being and gave her hope that transcended all. She saw dignity and identity in Christ, not in anything else. Her road to complete healing will not be easy, but it will be filled with love and a peace that passes all understanding.
This story and thousands like it are why we do what we do. This past year, Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC) served over 11,000 people who came through our doors. Almost 3,000 fully graduated our long-term programs at 12-15 months long. Several thousand people suffering with addiction finished our short-term programs. In fall of 2019, Evangel University in Missouri completed a success rate study for ATC. After one-year from graduating our long-term programs, alumni have a 78% success rate in maintaining sobriety.
As a Christ-centered organization, we emphasize the power of relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ. We had over 9,000 people who made decisions to follow Jesus Christ. Recent research shows faith has a significant impact on addiction recovery. The research shows 73% of all substance treatment programs have a faith component and also shows that 84% of scientific studies in addiction show faith as a positive factor, with less than 2% shown as a risk to treatment and recovery. We believe in the power of God to change lives.
With 20.3 million self-reported Americans in addiction of some form, we must continue to accelerate our influence and progress. Our vision is freeing all people with life-controlling issues through the power of Jesus Christ. We have implemented a strategic plan with early focus on building sustainable growth through expanded services in residential, non-residential, outpatient and virtual care settings. Our plan also includes continued development of recovery curriculum adding online courses for family members and friends who are watching the ones they love suffer. Other strategic elements include leadership development innovation, technology enhancements, prevention, and scholarships.
We have so much to be thankful for. Our team members sacrifice countless hours every day. Our donors and partners give with willing and generous hearts month after month and year after year. What a blessing to be part of this tremendous work and see the life transformations happening each day in our centers. May the Lord continue to show us the way, give us wisdom to steward with excellence, and be our source of strength, peace and resilience as we serve the vulnerable and hurting.
President & CEO, Adult & Teen Challenge
Mission & Vision
Our mission is to provide teens & adults freedom from addiction and other life-controlling issues through Christ-centered solutions.
Our vision is freeing all people from life-controlling issues through the power of Jesus Christ!
With over 200 residential recovery programs in North America, we have at least one program in every state. Our centers provide care for men, women, and adolescents. Use the link below to view an interactive map of all of our locations.
2019 Program Stats
As an organization, we must practice both wise stewardship and intentional development of financial resources available for ministry. Diversification of income streams will be a key factor in ensuring that we operate from a position of financial stability. We will particularly encourage development of social enterprises such as thrift shops, coffee houses, and cottage industries as a means to generate revenue and also reach those in need.
We are undertaking significant curriculum development with 8 series (48 books in total) being introduced for personal studies. Two of the series are complete, Intimacy with Purpose and Breaking Free. A new series is being researched at this time and writing will begin soon. Our general studies curriculum has received a face-lift for now, but will be enhanced in the future.
We are increasing our investment in the professional, personal, and spiritual development of each of our staff. We will soon unveil several online resources including certification tracks for managers. We are very close to having an MOU with two centers to become Innovation & Learning centers where we can test systems and processes to develop a new standard of Adult & Teen Challenge “best practices”. We are also close to launching a new Executive Development Program for training leaders to excel and be equipped to face the challenges they meet.
We are going to greatly increase our investment in technology to improve our inputs and outcomes. Tools such as the online learning management system as well as a comprehensive student management system will allow us to foster success as well as better measure our effectiveness.
Non-Residential Programming Strategy
By working with churches and partners like Living Free, we must expand the number of resources available to reach those with life-controlling issues. Many of those struggling with substance abuse are unable to enter residential programs, but still need support to break free from their addiction. We are committed to reach this segment of the population. New staff will come onboard to walk alongside churches and centers who want to start support groups. We are also looking at a national evangelism strategy for use across North America.
We received a gift to begin our national scholarship fund. Proceeds will be used to provide for students who could not otherwise afford to attend Adult & Teen Challenge. In the future we want to expand this fund to allow resources for graduates to pursue academic degrees or certification programs.
We will be looking at revamping our prevention strategies through programs like Stay Sharp and others. Adult & Teen Challenge must become a larger presence in the area of prevention.
Live Staff Training
Four Regional Conferences provided the opportunity for Adult & Teen Challenge staff to hear first-hand about the latest student curriculum and its implementation. Leaders from the National Office shared the vision for the future including leadership development and staff training.
These conferences were a powerful time of spiritual renewal and leadership development. Staff members were able to connect with people from all across the country and network together.
Six classes in the life-changing Breaking Free series were launched this past year. This is our first curriculum that focuses on the nature of addiction through a biblical worldview. The student feedback has been powerful!
A redesign of the original PSNL curriculum was completed, as well. Students will now enjoy a fresh approach to individualized learning. Twenty-five pieces have been edited and re-designed, three pieces completely redone, and one new packet developed.
Work has begun on the next PSNL curriculum series: Preparing for Success.
Online Staff Training
All existing online courses have been redesigned and migrated to our brand-new ATC Bridge online learning platform. New courses are being developed and implemented in the system each month. 147 courses have launched and are ready to equip ATC staff to better serve those in their care.
There are 65 stand alone courses and 18 multi-course programs in the ATC Bridge platform. Along with those brand new training pieces, 57 original courses and eight original programs have also been updated and are now available.
It’s exciting to see 1,068 learners have spent 24,368 hours in training between our old and new systems. All we do revolves around creating a better experience for the students. Equipping staff with new tools empowers staff, allowing them to more effectively encourage students in their new walk with Christ. The online training is moving at a fast pace to create a learning environment that will keep pace with ever-changing program needs.
Total Revenue: $1,808,604
Total Expenses: $1,601,940
Board of Directors
Gary Blackard, President & CEO
Adult & Teen Challenge
Dr. Ava Oleson, Chairperson
Marriage & Family Therapist
Dr. Sue Gengler, Vice Chairperson
Health Education, Retired
Daniel Ruiz, Secretary
Institute for Learning and Innovation
John Rossi, Treasurer
U.S. Army Officer, Retired
Assemblies of God, Executive Director of US Missions
Juan Cruz, Jr.
Senior Technology Manager – Clinical Engineering
Attorney – Wallace, Martin, Duke & Russell
Dr. Jerry Ireland
Professor of Theology, University of Valley Forge
Adjunct Professor of Business – Evangel University
CEO of Global Teen Challenge, Appointed
Chris Hodges, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Northwest region
Snow Peabody, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Southwest region
Eric Vagle, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, North Central region
George Thomas, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, South Central region
Dave Rose, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Great Lakes region
Gary Bentley, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Gulf region
Mike Zello, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Northeast region
Brice Maddock, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Southeast region
Steve Paulson, Regional Rep
Adult & Teen Challenge, Canada region
“My name is Annabelle. I am nine years old. I like playing outdoors and with my family. I also enjoy drawing, coloring and imagining.
I was talking with my Dad while doing my schoolwork and telling him about how I wanted to help homeless people. I envisioned the same thing Adult & Teen Challenge is already doing today! My Dad told me about Adult & Teen Challenge and I wanted to donate. I used some of my savings to help Adult & Teen Challenge. I wanted to help people who are homeless get jobs and have a place to live.
Even though I am young I want to help as many people as I can!”
Searching for Acceptance
For a teenager to be so unbearably unhappy that he would choose to kill himself is something that’s almost too painful for a parent to think about. But with the increasing prevalence of teen suicide, no parent can afford to ignore the possibility. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death for high school students.
Kids look at this world as being more and more hopeless. They have no answer for their pain and despair, so many are choosing suicide as their solution.
At least, that’s what Gabe thought. During his freshman year of high school, Gabe ended up moving across the world to Indonesia. When he got there, he didn’t know the language nor have any friends. It was like starting life over again.
“I was searching for acceptance,” Gabe reflects. “I put so much trust in people that loved me and I felt like they were letting me down.”
Then he found a friend. One that he came to trust and call his “best friend”. Gabe’s world began to make sense again as feelings of acceptance boosted his spirits.
Then it happened.
Pain once again entered Gabe’s life with the realization that his best friend had just committed suicide. “I remember sitting in my room,” says Gabe, “with the lights off for hours. Trying to forget about this world.”
Despair, hopelessness, and anger took over. If his best friend could end the pain of this world then so could he. Suicide felt like the best answer, so that’s exactly what Gabe tried to – end it all.
God had a different plan.
A month later, Gabe entered the Teen Challenge program. The suicide attempt had failed and now he was in a new place, again, with no friends and no purpose in life.
“When I came to Teen Challenge I was hurting a lot and didn’t think this was the right place for me,” says Gabe. “I never did drugs or drank alcohol so I felt entitled to be at home with my family.”
The truth is, Gabe was mad, hurt, and hopeless when he walked through the doors of Teen Challenge. But now, he has joy in his life.
“I can’t do this on my own but with God I know I can,” says Gabe. “I’m learning how to work through my problems instead of keeping them buried inside until I explode.”
Steven & Sophia
Throwing in the Towel
Do half of all marriages really end in divorce? It’s probably the most often quoted statistic about modern love. It’s basically in line with saying that half of all new shoes will give you hammertoes or that 50% of babies will grow up to be ugly. While a large percentage of couples still call it quits despite their vows of “for better or worse”, the fact is the divorce rate in the United States is actually on the decline—about 40%.”
Why is that? What is it that makes couples throw in the towel and call it quits? Steven and Sophia had two very good reasons—infidelity and addiction. On the surface, this was a family that looked like they had everything going for them. Their family portrait could have been chosen for the cover of the March Issue of Parenting Magazine. Behind closed doors, it was quite a different story. The smiles faded, the voices elevated, and the knot that got tied at the marriage ceremony was working its way loose.
Steven’s upbringing was what you might call uneventful. Hard-working parents who provided for their children. There were alcoholic beverages in the kitchen cabinet but they sat right next to the soda pop and Steven never gave it a second thought. Sure, he had tasted alcohol when he was 13, but it wasn’t until his freshman year that he’d felt he crossed the line. “I took a hit of marijuana and got hooked immediately,” Steven remembers. “I quickly became more interested in getting high then doing my school work so I dropped out.”
Steven moved to Texas to get away from the “pot heads” but turned to alcohol to make up for the loss of weed. “At the age of 19,” Steven recalls, “I had already received two DUIs, neither of which slowed down my drinking.” That’s when he met the love of his life, Sophia.
They were a match made in heaven, or so they thought. Little did Sophia know, Steven was a ticking time bomb—ready to go off at a moment’s notice. His drinking increased, but it was all behind the scenes. Sophia had no idea how bad it was getting—until she got the phone calls. The hospitals and police kept calling. He’d been found once again, passed-out—drunk.
The elephant in the room was clearly visible. It was time to do something. They both decided that marriage counseling and a 30-day rehab program for Steven was a good start. They had no idea at the time, but they had just released the floodgates of hell. That wedge in their marriage was about to split them right in half. The 30 days in rehab was about as long as Steven could last without a drink. He fell right off the wagon that took him out of rehab and dropped him on his head. If that wasn’t bad enough, the marriage counseling took a turn for the worse. There was intimacy on an emotional level, but it wasn’t between Steven and Sophia. Sophia was now embarking on an emotional affair with their counselor.
“I thought I could handle this emotional affair I had begun with our counselor,” says Sophia, “I figured that after a while I would feel normal and my conscious would die—but it didn’t.” When Sophia was with her children, there were flashes of hope, but the reality of the situation would rear its ugly head and thoughts of suicide entered the equation. “I literally had to kneel down, look my children in their eyes, and recognize that I was fulfilling my own needs instead of theirs,” Sophia explains.
Their marriage was unraveling at a rapid pace and their children were hanging in the balance. Sophia broke it off with the counselor and turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Now they were both drinking away their marriage—and at an alarming rate. By the grace of God, they tumbled upon some information about the Teen Challenge family center.
When they arrived at Teen Challenge, Sophia recalls, “I wondered where I was and how I got there.” It was as if they were awaking from a coma. Steven goes on to say, “Honestly, my plan was to come here for 6 months, or until I got back on my feet, and then we’d move on.” Steven doesn’t stop there, “I had no hope for real change, but God had other plans for me and my family.”
How to Help
James 5:16 assures us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. We know and understand the supernatural power of prayer – in fact, we depend upon it! Please commit to join us in prayer for our vision to help end addiction and for the staff working hard to achieve these audacious objectives.
Even Mother Teresa acknowledged the need for resources to fund the work she did. “To keep a lamp burning, you have to keep putting oil into it.” Our work cannot succeed without the monthly support of many friends, donors and partners like you. Your monthly gift to our general fund will allow us to utilize resources in the areas of greatest need.
Share the Teen Challenge story with your circle of influence. While history confirms that our ministry has impacted millions of lives since our founding in 1958, we remain a “best kept secret” among those outside the addiction space. We must greatly increase awareness of our programs. In a country in crisis, where thousands are desperate for help, there should be no “empty beds” at any of our program centers!