David Wilkerson founded the first Teen Challenge Center in New York City in 1958. The Minnesota Teen Challenge was created in 1983, with adult services adding to what are now 10 campuses across the state. The Christian faith-based and licensed chemical dependency programs consist of both long- and short-term residential treatment and outpatient programs for teens and adults. Since 2014, Lakeside Academy in Buffalo Minnesota, 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis, provides long-term residential treatment for boys between 14 and 18 struggling with behavioral and substance abuse.
Accommodations and Food
Lakeside Academy is situated on 48 sprawling acres alongside two pristine lakes, providing a serene location for treatment. Sixty boys are housed in large, newly built cabins that include shared rooms with privacy walls, desks, closets and twin beds. Classrooms, computer and study stations, meeting rooms and lounges are comfortable with new furnishings.
Snacks and certain items can be purchased from the store, with meals eaten communally in the cafeteria. Staff prepares nutritionally dense and tasty food.
Treatment and Staff
Lakeside treats boys with behavioral and emotional issues that have led to failing classes, suspension from school and damaged relationships. Some are addicted to substances, while others find their emotional issues arise from having been adopted. Boys may have a co-occurring disorder or primary mental health diagnosis such as ADHD, oppositional defiance disorder, bipolar, OCD or reactive attachment disorder, among others. Medication management is provided in certain cases. Registered sex offenders, arsonists and boys with severe disabilities or who are prone to violent outbursts are not admitted to the program.
The six-month program is highly structured, with boys supervised around the clock. Discipline is never based on punishment as mutual understanding and respect is encouraged. A LADC is assigned to each client and serves as the main point of contact with the family. The LADC also conducts individual counseling sessions that focus on individual needs. Clients also participate in regular group therapy where they share experiences, concerns and learn new coping skills. Experiential therapy incorporates adventure activities, tending to farm animals, role-playing and modeling appropriate behavior, with staff offering continuous encouragement and assistance.
Boys must attend a weekly Church service, as well as daily prayer and devotion. Bible study groups along with reading and writing assignments must be completed. Those that haven’t graduated high school participate in an academic curriculum provided through Excel High School. This program delivers courses through an online learning management system, which are accessible at any time. The courses are challenging but flexible and staff offers guidance during structured school hours. Boys must also complete daily chores.
Parents or guardians must be available for family counseling either on-site or via phone or Skype. They must also attend several family transformation weekends to re-establish a healthy relationship with their son.
Boys can relax indoors playing ping-pong, air hockey and pool, in front of the giant fireplace or at the well-equipped gym. Outdoor activities are incorporated into programming and make use of the barns, orchard and lakes.
A six-month aftercare program is provided at no additional cost and consists of check-ups and training in life skills like money management, budgeting, resume writing and further education planning.
Lakeside Academy provides comprehensive and structured treatment for boys struggling with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues. The Christian component is combined with evidence-based treatment and plenty of outdoor adventure, meaning boys receive well-rounded care.
Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge Lakeside Academy
1619 Portland Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge Lakeside Academy Cost: Insurance (30 days). Reach Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge Lakeside Academy by phone at (844) 768-8336 or by email. Find Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge Lakeside Academy on Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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