About us

Teen Challenge offers Christ-centered, faith-based solutions to youth who struggle with life-controlling problems.

Teen Challenge is a Christian faith-based recovery program aimed primarily at young adults and adults struggling with life-controlling issues, including drug and alcohol addiction. Founded in 1958 by Reverend David Wilkerson, it started as an effort to help gang members in New York City and has since evolved into one of the largest Christian recovery programs in the world.

Teen Challenge is a holistic therapeutic program – meaning that we are concerned with the body, mind, and spirit of those who come to us for help. We endeavor to help teens become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive. We offer a chance to start over, become a new person, live a godly life, and find freedom through a restored purpose and an eternal hope. We do this through classes, academics, individual study, personal mentoring, work ethics training, and involvement in the Christian community. Teen Challenge is a not-for-profit organization that provides cost-effective programs for teens. However, it is not free. Our services are far less expensive than for-profit boarding schools and therapeutic boarding schools.

Key features of Teen Challenge include:

  1. Faith-Based Approach: Teen Challenge emphasizes Christian teachings, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and Biblical principles as essential components for recovery and transformation.

  2. Residential Program: Many Teen Challenge centers offer long-term residential programs, usually ranging from 12 to 18 months. These programs provide a structured environment where participants engage in Bible studies, work assignments, and other therapeutic activities.

  3. Outreach to Various Ages: While the name “Teen Challenge” suggests a focus on teenagers, the program serves both teenagers and adults. There are Teen Challenge centers specifically for adolescents, men, women, and even entire families.

  4. Global Presence: From its beginnings in New York City, Teen Challenge has expanded to include hundreds of centers in the U.S. and around the world.

  5. Variety of Issues Addressed: While initially centered on gang intervention and substance abuse recovery, many Teen Challenge centers now address a broader range of life-controlling problems, from eating disorders to compulsive behaviors.

For individuals or families considering Teen Challenge or similar programs, it’s essential to visit specific centers, ask questions, and ensure the program aligns with the individual’s needs and beliefs.