Teen Challenge in Seaford receives national honor

By Carol Kinsley

Inspectors from the national office visited Delaware Teen Challenge in Seaford recently to go through files and check to see that the local affiliate meets all fire, OSHA, safety and food service codes. Delaware Teen Challenge passed with flying colors, reported Executive Director Bob Carey, who displayed a certificate stating the facility is in full compliance with Teen Challenge U.S.A. standards and is accredited with honors as a long-term residential center for three years. Carey said the facility scored 97 out of 100 possible points and is one of only a few facilities in the country to ever score that high within the first year of operation. Pastor Doug Lance, accreditation manager, wrote, "Your program, in achieving the Honors rating, is a symbol of excellence both in your community and in the broader community of Teen Challenges throughout the country." Quoting Second Corinthians 8:21, he added, "For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men." Carey explained that as an affiliate of Teen Challenge USA, the facility must meet certain criteria, follow standards of ethical practice and demonstrate integrity of files and fiscal management. All this, "as well as careful attention to our students' needs," he said. Carey attributed the high score to the fine staff and board of directors that surround him, and having gone through the program himself in 1992. "I learned the importance of doing things with excellence and learned, as a student of Teen Challenge, to give God the glory in everything we do," he said.

"My hope is that the people of the community and the state of Delaware will see a viable faith-based solution to help men with life-controlling issues." Sixteen men have graduated from the program since it opened in November 2008, taking over the facility of the former Seaford Mission. Fifteen are currently enrolled. The first two graduates will be returning from an additional year of training in Detroit at the end of October; Mark Geniese to pursue gainful employment and Tony Pate to enter the internship program at Delaware Teen Challenge. Carey noted that four crack houses in the neighborhood of Third and North Streets had been closed down in recent months. Delaware Teen Challenge plans to open an adult women's center on the site of the existing campus within the next two years. The Nehemiah House across the street, which will be finished by fall, will be used to house Delaware Teen Challenge graduates and disenfranchised families of local churches who need short-term housing. "We've also acquired land for a proposed education facility, cafeteria and chapel which will accommodate 200 to 300 people," Carey said. "We look forward to serving Seaford and the surrounding community with integrity and love." The facility is open for tours by individuals or groups on Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m. through the end of September. To arrange for the tour, hors d'oeuvres and a brief presentation, call Sue Bramble at 629-2559.

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