Alabama Teen Challenge will have a yard sale Saturday. Proceeds go to help six Alabama Teen Challenge participants take a mission trip to Peru. Program director Jason Easter said Alabama Teen Challenge is one of the most successful programs available for drug and alcohol addiction. -- Alison McFerrin

Yard sale planned for Teen Challenge

Published 8:51pm Friday, July 15, 2011

By Alison McFerrin

The Selma Times-Journal

Six Alabama Teen Challenge participants are on their way to Portugal, but they need your help to make it all the way.

“We’re going to get together with the Portugal Teen Challenge students and go out and do street ministry, coffee house ministry and homeless ministry and some light construction work too,” program director Jason Easter said.

Teen Challenge began in 1958 in Brooklyn, N.Y., with David Wilkerson.

“He went out to go minister to some gang members — he read where’d they’d gotten in trouble in Life magazine,” Easter said. “He was a youth pastor and went out ministered to them, and he started the very first Teen Challenge.”

Teen Challenge is a recovery center for people with addictions.

“It has to be a life-controlling addiction,” Easter said. “So it’s either drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexual addiction — primarily it’s drug and alcohol addiction.”

There are now 1100 locations worldwide, with 250 in the U.S. The Alabama state office is in the Lincoln/Oxford, Ala. area, and the Selma location opened in 2009.

“I think if everybody got honest, everybody knows somebody that’s affected by drug addiction or alcohol addiction,” Easter said. “When somebody gets ready to get help — you can’t make somebody get help, …but when that person does get ready for help — it’s great to have a ministry like Teen Challenge as a resource.”

The Selma branch of Alabama Teen Challenge has space for 28 participants. Those who sign up for the program (about 50 percent of whom volunteer to go under court order) commit to four months at the Selma location and then another eight months in the training program at the state office.

“We just take the Christ approach,” Easter said. “We don’t do any kind of 12 steps, we don’t do any kind of drug therapy … we use pastoral counseling, and we teach them how to deal with temptations.”

Six students who have made progress in the program and are currently at the state office will be making the trip to Portugal on Sept. 8, but Alabama Teen Challenge needs help raising their airfare.

To that end, the program will be having a yard sale at the old National Guard Armory Saturday, July 16, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. The group needs $2,700 to reach their goal.

Easter said although the program was begun for teenagers, it is now open to anyone (in Alabama, 18 years or older).

“It’s by far the most successful program — or right at the most successful level — that there is for any kind of addiction treatment,” Easter said, adding that he is a program graduate himself.

The latest study shows a 65-72 percent success rate.

For more information or to fill out an application for the program, visit

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