Biking for a good cause

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SELMA — After riding 40 miles from Pelham to here, about 20 men from 2009 Bike Tour for Teen Challenge stopped for a lasagna dinner at First Presbyterian Church.

“Teen Challenge is a discipleship program,” said Susan Hunter, volunteer and mother of a graduate of the program. “They believe that they are a new creation in Christ and that the true cure from addiction is Christ.”

Men from the program visited here because Selma has one of the three centers in the state. The Men’s Induction Center in Selma is part of the first four months of the year-long program, along with Bay Minette. After either of those centers, students in the program move to the training center in Lincoln.

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“We bring them in straight off addiction, straight off the streets,” said Jason Easter, program director and graduate of the program five years ago.

The program helped change his life, so he wanted to get back into the program and full-time ministry to help others.

“Once you see people’s lives change, it’s very addictive,” Easter said.

Brad Jones, a current student in the program in this eleventh month, felt that he hit rock bottom before entering into Teen Challenge. After his shoulder surgery, he started to become addicted to Lortab, which then led to other drugs.

Once he realized he needed to change, he tried many different rehabilitation programs.

“I tried anything you do think of,” Jones said. “I tried all other rehab and 12-step programs. That didn’t work for me.”

The strict program guidelines helped Jones stick with the curriculum. “When you come here, you have to let go of all the things you do. Even little bitty things like dipping, cussing or smoking.”

Near the end of his time with the program, Jones was asked to go back to the centers that house the beginning students to be a senior student and mentor.

“They surround you with such godly people, you can’t help but want to be like them,” Jones said.

Corey Ashcraft, a student in the program in his fourth month, has become physically and spiritually stronger from the bike tour.

“But, I feel like my legs feel like they are about to fall off,” Ashcraft said. “There was this hill that was ridiculous. There were about five people that made it up on their bike. Everybody else walked their bike or rode in the van.”

Ending at Gulf Shores for a weekend at the beach, men on the tour will bike a total of 300 miles in a five-day span. The event has raised $22,000 total for the program, $14,000 from the center here.

Teen Challenge is an international program located in 93 countries.