Program Builds More Than New Lives

The Teen Challenge facility in Dublin, GA, is well-known and respected within the community as a place where young men who suffer from life-controlling problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse, can come to heal spiritually and emotionally, plus gain the vocational and academic training required to overcome the problems that led to their addictions.

The facility is one of more than 300 centers worldwide, and one of 160 facilities in the United States. Nationally, Teen Challenge maintains more than 3,000 beds, and each year it provides residential and non-residential counseling to 87,000 men, women and children.

While Teen Challenge is typically the one to offer assistance, last year the roles were reversed and the facility was in need of help after discovering the septic system at the Dublin facility was failing. The problem needed to be fixed immediately, at an estimated cost of $150,000, or the whole center would be shut down.

That’s when Mitch Melton, executive director for the Middle Georgia Teen Challenge, and the Middle Georgia staff team took charge. They know all too well the devastating effects of life-controlling addictions since many of them are graduates of various programs across the country. And they knew a void would be created for those in need if the Dublin center were to close.

"We just didn’t have the kind of money needed to make the repairs," Melton says. "So we started making phone calls and knocking on doors to ask for support."

Bryan Sorrells, development coordinator for Teen Challenge, also obtained his Georgia commercial contractor license. This allowed him to coordinate and oversee the project as general contractor and save the center thousands of dollars.

In the end, the community responded and several businesses provided everything from financial support and advertising to concrete and construction equipment. In total, the center was able to save more than $80,000 with donations of time, equipment and money.

The local CNH America plant provided a tractor equipped with a bucket for moving dirt. "We saw this as an opportunity to give back to an organization that has served this community well," says Barry Ruffalo, plant manager. "We had no hesitation about giving at a time when Teen Challenge needed help."

Graham Construction, a local contractor, provided several trucks and tractor-trailers for moving dirt and rock. In all, it hauled more than 1,500 tons of rock for the center over the course of a four-week period. "Teen Challenge is a great organization and we appreciate that they are helping to get people back on track and headed in the right direction," says James Deal, Graham Construction.

Greg Roche, Roche Inc., also got involved in dirt moving. He provided an excavator and dozer to dig the pit for the state-of-the-art septic system and clear parking areas. "I like to be involved in community projects," he relates. "I’m pretty community oriented, and I wanted to be able to help Teen Challenge. I had no hesitations about offering my equipment."

Today, the project is nearing completion. At 37,000 gal. of capacity and with drain fill that extends for more than a mile, it ranks as the largest septic system to ever be installed in a 10-county district in south central Georgia.

"In addition to gaining a new septic system, our residents have also gained construction knowledge," says Sorrells. "We hope that we will be considered for other waste water jobs in Georgia since it would help offset the program costs. And we thank the community for its support. Teen Challenge Middle is stronger today because of the support of our community. We are now ready to continue facilitating life transformation one person at a time."