Imagine living without simple items such as a bed or a dresser. While basic furniture may be something most people take for granted, for individuals living at Teen Challenge's Alum Rock Women and Children's Center in San Jose, they make all the difference. With many of the center's adults coming from a background of drugs, alcohol, abuse or neglect, a place to sleep and store precious belongings helps piece lives back together one difficult step at a time.
This past September, South Bay Teen Challenge requested funding from the Sharks Foundation to replace the Alum Rock Women and Children's Center's bed bug infested mattresses and broken furniture. As a result, solid bunk beds, colorful bedding and clean dressers now greet new residents as they take their initial steps toward rehabilitation.
Sharks Foundation staff and board members recently visited the Alum Rock location to observe the new updates and meet with the organization's staff and clients. After perusing several of the newly remodeled rooms and hearing personal success stories from previous and current clients, it was clear that the new furniture wasn't the only vibrant aspect of the center. Each person living at the house was working toward creating a bright future for themselves and their children.
The Sharks Foundation was touched to hear the story volunteered by a young married couple. Once addicted to drugs, the programming provided by Teen Challenge enabled them to transform their lives and become strong, functional parents for their child. As Executive Director Dana Rowe explained, "If the residents are committed to changing their lives, we have the tools and support. By going through the program and the follow-up intern program, the chances of success are astounding."
The NorWestCal Nevada division of Teen Challenge has a total of seven centers that offer a stable environment to recovering individuals. Although it costs almost $10,000 per month to support each client, donations and dedicated volunteers ensure that no one is denied housing due to inability to help offset the expenses. Instead, residents contribute by cooking, cleaning, helping with childcare and participating in fundraising efforts.
Tiffany Clark, a former Teen Challenge client who left a lucrative job to return to Alum Rock as the Program Director, summed the organization up well by stating, "Teen Challenge is just that, it is a challenge. We make you work hard to get your life back together. These residents don't just sit around; they contribute to everyone's success."
Visit www.teenchallenge.net for more information on Teen Challenge.