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Teen Challenge welcomes new program director

: Bruce Purvis, Catherine Gilmer,  Ann Murray and Ken Schroeder are working on Teen Challenge’s annual banquet, which will be Nov. 6 at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center in Selma.

: Bruce Purvis, Catherine Gilmer, Ann Murray and Ken Schroeder are working on Teen Challenge’s annual banquet, which will be Nov. 6 at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center in Selma.

Many of the young men who enter the Teen Challenge doors in Selma have never been in a stable environment, and that’s one thing that the life coaches at the center strive to provide.

Teen Challenge in Selma is a 12-month disciple program set in place to help men overcome addictions and become hard-working, valuable members of the community.

“Something that I have seen as a volunteer is the importance of the atmosphere at the center,” said volunteer Ann Murray. “A lot of times people who have addictions come from broken families and broken settings, they’ve never had a family environment. [The staff creates] an environment out there where people feel accepted and loved, and for the most part, want to be there.”

The center has undergone a few changes in the last year. And with the transformations, they are looking forward to the continuing success of the program.

Joining the staff as the new program director is Bruce Purvis, a former student of the program.

“I’m very excited to be here,” Purvis said. “It’s neat to be a part of so many people that believe in an area.”

Purvis went through and graduated from the program almost 10 years ago, and he is excited to be on the other side of the program.

“I’m not only the director. I’m also a client,” Purvis said. “I went through the program myself. March will be 10 years I’ve been set free, clean. I’ve never compromised once. I’ve never gone back to drugs at all.”

Before he was introduced to the program, Purvis said he struggled with addiction and had in his mind that he would never overcome it.

“I was hopeless. I had decided in my mind, in my spirit, that I would always be hooked on drugs,” Purvis said.

He later had the opportunity to go through the program, and since then, decided to get his life on track. He eventually ended up back with the program that he said changed his life and says he is ready to help change others.

“We’re about seeing men set free,” Purvis said. “Our goal is to help equipped them before they reenter society, so they can be of value to their community and especially their church.”

Teen Challenge is different from most rehabilitation programs, in that they do not allow any detoxification medication, and they rely heavily on scripture and worship as a part of their program.

“Some of these guys have never been churched in their lives,” Purvis said. “Then they come in our program ,and all of the sudden they invite Jesus into their heart, and they get a hold of the spirit of God, and it completely releases them of that bondage.”

Purvis said that Teen Challenge has an 86 percent success rate, above that of secular organizations.

To continue the success, Teen Challenge in Selma is holding its annual banquet fundraiser Nov.6 at the Selma Convention Center.

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” Purvis said. “This community supports what we’re doing, and that’s what keeps it alive.”

The fundraiser is set in place to benefit the program and its students by raising money for the center.