Each and every day men and women of faith positively impact our community. These individuals are paying it forward, or more appropriately, are collaborating with a larger network of doers to “Faith it Forward.” The Minden Teen Challenge is one such faith-based organization.
Located in my hometown, Minden Teen Challenge offers hope to teens, pregnant women, and women with young children whose lives are spiraling downward from drug and alcohol addiction and abuse. Director Reverend Andy Jenkins follows the tenants of his Christian faith, believing that the Bible instructs the center to “help the helpless, give hope to the hopeless and rest to the weary, restoration to the broken and Salvation to the lost.” Substance abuse affects every community, and Minden Teen Challenge has responded to the call for help, aiding individuals struggling with addiction and showing them a better life.
While Minden Teen Challenge welcomes teenagers into their programs, they also assist adults and families too. The center’s holistic approach to family invites young mothers and their children into the program. In fact, the current facility can house up to 38 students plus an additional 33 children.
Drug and alcohol addictions continue to be the most common reason for individuals seeking help from the center, although Minden Teen Challenge also provides assistance for other harmful and risky behaviors such as eating disorders, self-inflicted wounds, and sexual promiscuity. The facility offers Teen Challenge students with a safe and controlled environment, separate from the habits and lifestyles of the past. Students also participate in work programs designed to teach a healthy work ethic, responsibility, and self-respect for a job well done. Most important to the center, however, are the religious and faith growth classes where students are taught about spiritual rest, hope, and a renewed life.
The Minden Teen Challenge is unique to Minden and yet part of a web of Teen Challenge Centers throughout Louisiana, around the nation, and even worldwide. I am grateful for the life changing impact the Center is having on each and every student, and commend the center’s faith-founded mission to “Faith it Forward.”
Dr. John Fleming is Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He is a physician and small business owner and represents the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana.