Louisiana Teen Challenge offers treatment facilities for alcohol, drug or other life-controlling problems

Posted: April 20th, 2015 | Filed under: News Releases

Rev. Greg Dill, executive director of Louisiana Teen Challenge.

Rev. Greg Dill, executive director of Louisiana Teen Challenge.

It is called Louisiana Teen Challenge but the group mostly isn’t about teen-agers.

Its a non-profit, faith-based treatment program providing residential care to men and women with alcohol, drug or other life-controlling problems.

The minimum age for acceptance into the program is 17 but the average person in treatment is in their late 20s or early 30s, said the Rev. Greg Dill, executive director of Louisiana Teen Challenge. Dill spoke recently to the St. Bernard Anti-Drug Coalition board about his group’s program and its availability for people throughout Louisiana.

The group‘s mission statement is to provide youth, adults and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems in order to become productive members of society.
Teen Challenge has been in Louisiana for more than 30 years.

The group has a local induction center at 1905 Franklin Ave., New Orleans, and its phone number is 504-947-7949. The group can be found on the Internet at www.louisianateenchallenge.com.
The length of its residential program is 12 months, Dill said.

The program operates in two phases, Dill said, with a 4-month stay in an induction center and then an eight-month stay in a training phase.

These centers serve as a “front door” for all new or prospective students. Upon entering the Training Phase, students will be relocated to the Mt. Grace Training Center in Dodson, La. Here students will complete the residential phase of the program over an 8 month period, bringing their total stay at Teen Challenge to 12 months.
Upon completion of the residential program, students may choose to stay on with the ministry in a 6 month internship or become active in a church congregation local to their home.

Through committed staff and effective programs, Teen Challenge seeks to produce graduates who function responsibly and productively in society, and who have healthy relationships in the work place, family, church and community, Dill said.

He said the induction phase has a high turnover rate as many find they aren’t committed to the goals of Teen Challenge.”If they make it to the second phase, there is a 72-75 percent success rate,’’ Dill said.
There is no monthly cost to the students, Dill said.

There is a $750 induction fee that Teen Challenge asks of students, Dill said, “but we don’t let a lack of money keep people out’’ who are indigent.

The group relies on fundraising for support, as well as light industry that helps train students and helps fund the program, Dill said. Individuals, churches, businesses, and civic organizations also contribute. Teen Challenge does not receive any type of local, state or federal government funding.

Every applicant must have the desire to both change and be a part of the Teen Challenge program, Dill said.
“We won’t let ourselves be used by people who are just trying to escape going to jail,’’ said Dill, who acknowledged he was a prisoner in jail when he had what he called a “moment of clarity’’ that there had to be a better life for him.
Louisiana Teen Challenge’s minimum age requirement for entry is 17. Anyone younger than that will have to be considered on an individual case basis for entry, Dill said.

Teen Challenge is having a series of fundraisers, including one in Metairie on April 30, with a 7 p.m. dinner at the Landmark Hotel, 2601 Severn Ave. Contact New Orleans Teen Challenge at 504-947-7949 for more information.
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann said he supports the work of Teen Challenge and encourages parish residents to consider contributing to the group if possible.