My name is Grace and I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in the south side of Chicago. My parents got divorced when I was 12 years old and it really affected me. I was very upset and sad that I had to be in the middle of my parent’s separation. As I got older I continued to carry this anger and darkness that followed me.
I started using marijuana during high school to ease my pain. After graduating high school I started college and began living the party life. I met a group of new friends who introduced me to Xanax and it completely took over my life. It was a high that I enjoyed. My life started slipping and in November of 2011 I found out I was pregnant. I was so afraid because I knew I was bringing a baby into a relationship that was dead.
On July 23, 2012 I had my son, Matthew. I was filled with joy and happiness but I was overwhelmed with the many issues I was going to have to face. When Matthew was 6 months old I was served court papers and my world came crashing down. It was such a difficult battle and I felt powerless when I got granted joint custody. I was disappointed in myself and felt like I failed as a mother. I didn’t know who I was anymore and in all honestly I didn’t care to live. In January of 2016 I was introduced to heroin. I overdosed many times and remember waking up in the hospital ashamed of being alive.
My mother found out about Teen Challenge through a friend and told me that I needed to go in order for me to have a relationship with my son. In February I decided to come to Teen Challenge hoping to change my life. I came in with a mind set of doing the program for only 6 months and I did. During my time here I was very quiet about my issues. I was embarrassed of opening up and having to face my problems sober.
In July I left the program determined to be a mother to my son. Within 2 weeks I relapsed and lost my family and most importantly, I lost my relationship with Jesus. I couldn’t believe I failed as a mother again. This was my lowest point in life.
I was on my own and it hurt to know that my family no longer supported me or even wanted a relationship with me. I fell to my knees and asked the Lord to help me. I knew I could no longer live this life. When I walked back in through the doors of Teen challenge, I knew this is where the Lord wanted me to be.
My journey here has been difficult but one of the best things I have ever done. He’s give me the freedom and the endurance to persevere. I am so grateful to know that I am a child of God. Jesus has restored me and renewed my mind. I’m very excited to see what the Lord has planned for me and I’m open to receive his promises.
“Thank you for ministering the gifts of mercy and servanthood at our service last Sunday. Teen Challenge is truly a Good Samaritan’ ministry and very close to my – and Parklawn Assembly of God’s – heart and vision.”
“If you’re thinking that it’s not worth it – yeah, it is – when you buy it from Teen Challenge! If you don’t want it, buy it, and bring it again next year. Listening to statistics about Teen Challenge graduates, you don’t find that after six months they are out there doing the same old thing again.”
“With the deterioration of society, Teen Challenge has become one of the most important arms of the church to this generation.”
“I’ve believed in this ministry since it’s very beginning, and I continue to support it. I consider it a real privilege to endorse this work. Thank God for Teen Challenge!”
“When all is lost, there’s still one thing left, and that’s Teen Challenge…that’s why I’ve been committed to the program. I don’t think all hope is lost in life as long as people are willing to get together and do what it takes to do the right thing…”
“To change people who have addictions like this, you cannot just do it by walking them through a program. You ultimately have to change what is in their heart to change what other actions they do. This is a program that has shown great success.”
“Teen Challenge is the oldest one of the most effective ongoing programs of its kind in America. Not only does Teen Challenge help our young people deal with substance abuse, but it also gives our kids something to live for, a relationship with God, a healthy self-esteem – direction in their lives that finally leads somewhere.”
“What a joy it was for me to be with you in Milwaukee. I appreciate all of your hard work. I want to tell you that I appreciate you being a man of God and a man of integrity. I work with many organizations all over the world (and many Teen Challenges), and it is refreshing to me to work with someone like you who has a heart for ministry and is a person who has learned to give to others.”
“When I founded Teen Challenge 40 years ago, I had no idea that God would multiply this movement around the world! From the beginning, my vision has been to introduce troubled young people to Jesus Christ, and then get them back on the streets witnessing for the Lord. Today, God is raising up a mighty army of Spirit-filled soul-winners and evangelists – out of former drug addicts and gang members! But we must have help to continue. The problems we see today are much worse than what I encountered in New York in 1958. I pray you will stand with us in prayer and support.”