Teen Challenge is a worldwide organization that began over 50 years ago by Pastor David Wilkerson. Since then Teen Challenge has grown to about 250 locations in the United States, including the Connecticut chapter, located in New Haven. This facility, which is a part of the Teen Challenge of New England and New Jersey sector, has provided men who are 18 years of age and older residential substance abuse treatment based in Christian values since 1996.
Accommodations and Food
The Connecticut facility is a two story, brick Colonial style house that was built in 1900. There are five shared bedrooms that are double occupancy, and two bathrooms, one with a shower. There is a large kitchen, living and dining room as well as meeting areas where clients meet with counselors. The house is on a quiet residential street close to the local library and downtown. There are laundry facilities on-site and bedding and cleaning products are provided, but personal items, like shampoo and toothpaste, are not.
All food is included during the clients and usually funded by either state programs or by private sponsorship stay and there are staff members who prepare meals for them. There is no particular style menu on any given night, but the facility does aim to keep the meals healthy.
Treatment and Staff
The Teen Challenge programs are heavily based in Christian values and beliefs, and though there is not a requirement for incoming clientele to be Christian prior to moving into the residence, there is an expectation for an open mind and to participate in all programming.
An average day at the facility would include an early morning wake up followed by breakfast and house chores. Treatment is based in behavior modification philosophy and implemented in a four-part phase system. The first phase requires clients to accept their addiction and the root of where the problem began, and the following phases include mending past relationships and rebuilding self-esteem and worth. There is daily participation in church services as well as singing in the Teen Challenge choir, a requirement for all clients. The men in the program also work at the foundations thrift store, and volunteer at the local food banks. The programs are designed to last between 15 and 21 months, though the longer stays are usually for those who return to treatment or have concerns about relapse. There are required house meetings and private sessions with staff counselors who address coping skills and relapse prevention methods.
There are about 20 staff members who work at this facility that are available 24 hours a day. The counseling staff are not formally trained in addiction, but rather are spiritual counselors though the church, and others that are former clients themselves who can provide first-hand insight and guidance.
There are vocational training services included in the Teen Challenge program, as well as educational opportunities offered for clients who wish to finish their GED.
During treatment clients develop an aftercare plan that may include finding a sober living facility or training to become a staff member with Teen Challenge. The facility also orchestrates a school outreach program called Making Good Decisions, which is intended to educate children about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
Though the Teen Challenge treatment isn’t clinical in any way, they do incorporate a value system into their programs that holds the client accountable for their actions. A heavily faith based program is certainly not for everyone, but for those who have succeeded in the treatment the success rates are high.
Connecticut Teen Challenge
86 Spring St
New Haven, CT 06519
Connecticut Teen Challenge Cost: $500-$3,000 (30 days), though clients are usually privately sponsored. Reach Connecticut Teen Challenge by phone at 203-789-6172. Find Connecticut Teen Challenge on Facebook
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