Frequently Asked Questions

No.  Teen Challenge began as an outreach for troubled teenaged gang members over 50 years ago in New York City, but has expanded over the years to include men and women of all ages.  The name “Teen Challenge” has remained and become synonymous with Christ-centered help. While there are Teen Challenge programs just for teenagers, the average age for most adult Teen Challenge programs is in the upper 20s.
Teen Challenge is a program for people with life controlling problems such as drug or alcohol addictions. 
No, Teen Challenge is a long term, live in recovery support and Christian discipleship program. Unlike a traditional medical model rehab, TFOTF does NOT offer medications nor does it have a medical staff.
We believe that most addictions are only the symptom of a root cause that is often spiritual in nature. We believe that the life changing power of a relationship with Jesus Christ will fill the spiritual void that may not be addressed in other substance abuse programs.  We do not use 12 step programs, medications, psychological methods, etc.  Instead, we use Biblical instruction, prayer, worship, pastoral counseling, and practical application. Many other valid methods of assisting people with addictions exits, however, we find that they cannot compare to the effectiveness of a relationship with God.
No.  We understand that people come from all types of backgrounds and beliefs.  It is important that you understand that TFOTF is a Christian faith based discipleship program and you will be required to read the Bible, attend church services, pray and receive Christian instruction throughout your time at TFOTF.  We only ask, if you decide to come to Teen Challenge, that you are open to God and what He wants to do in your life.  Give Him a chance to show you that He is real and that He loves you no matter what you have done.
Rev. David Wilkerson, an Assemblies of God minister, founded Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge of the Firelands is an transdenominational ministry. We partner with and receive support from individuals, churches, and other ministries across denominational lines to offer Hope in Christ. Our mission is not to convert anyone to another denomination.  Our purpose is to help people find the freedom and deliverance from life controlling problems through the power of Jesus Christ.
TFOTF is a non-profit ministry funded through financial contributions, donations, grants, student tuition and fundraising events. We also conduct work experience programs, which help raise operating dollars. TCOTF is not a state or government licensed or funded program, and is not covered by private insurance.
The TFOTF women’s program is a minimum of 12 months. Overcoming life-controlling behaviors doesn’t happen overnight. Change requires repeated exposure to disciplined life skills, and spiritual truths. Each student is evaluated during the program. An unmotivated student’s program may be extended longer than 12 months, due to his own actions or unwillingness to change.
Teen Challenge has a set curriculum, similar to that of a school, that all students are required to complete on a set timetable.  Therefore, all students are required to complete the entire program regardless of the nature of their life controlling problems. No prospective student should apply for the program unless he is committed to remaining until he has successfully completed.
Lifeline Connection supports groups are available at various locations for individuals who cannot commit to a full year, or do not need a residential program.
Due to the great need for available beds, the Teen Challenge of the Firelands program must be reserved only for those who recognize they have a life-controlling problem.  We recommend programs such as Master’s Commission or Youth with a Mission for those looking for a good Christian discipleship program.
Prospective students may enter the program with court dates pending. We do take into consideration the severity and nature of the crime to determine eligibility. Some applicants may not be appropriate for our program and denied admission. Residents admitted to the program with pending court dates must provide their own transportation to court outside of the Huron County Area.
Yes, many participants enrolled in the TFOTF program are at Teen Challenge as a condition of their probation or parole. Applicants need to take care of any outstanding warrants or legal proceedings before entry. Supervision appointments and reporting will be conducted as part of the participant’s case management. Contact the admissions office for further details.
We do accept court ordered students into our program who have a sincere desire to change and are willing to work the program. Students unwilling to change or adhere to the rules will not be allowed to continue. The proper authorities will be notified of the student’s uncooperativeness and appropriate action will be taken.
There are a number of different ways this could happen based on the court system and the nature of your case.  Generally, after you are sure you want to go to Teen Challenge, you should contact your lawyer or public defender and inform him of your desire.  Share your applications, brochures, and the TFOTF web site with your attorney so that he can be informed that Teen Challenge is a reasonable alternative to jail or prison.  He will need this information to convince the court.  If you, in fact, committed the crime you have been charged with, discuss with your attorney the possibility of pleading guilty with the agreement that the court would consider sending you to Teen Challenge.  It is at your sentencing hearing that Teen Challenge of the Firelands will be considered by the court as an alternative.  Send or bring a copy of the plea agreement to TFOTF. 
The plea agreement must include a statement saying that you agree to successfully complete the entire program.  You will not be accepted if your plea agreement states you will be here a certain amount of time (30, 60, 90 days, etc).  If your plea agreement does not include a statement requiring successful completion, you will not be accepted. 
If you are not guilty of the crime you are charged with and plead not guilty, you must be completed with all your court hearings and a verdict must be made before you can enter the program.  If you are already sentenced to jail or prison, usually there is nothing that can be done to get into Teen Challenge until you have completed your sentence or are approved for parole.  Since there are many questions regarding Teen Challenge and the courts, it is best to call Teen Challenge to discuss your individual case. We are willing to help your case by making monthly reports, allowing regular phone calls or visits from your PO, etc. If you are applying to enter Teen Challenge of the Firelands, please have your probation or parole officer contact us for any information they might need. You may also want to refer your probation officer to this website.
Teen Challenge of the Firelands staff are not licensed counselors or therapists. Upon entry into the program, each student is assigned staff mentor to provide individual one-on-one guidance and mentoring determined by that students’ particular needs. Many are Teen Challenge graduates, or people from a variety of backgrounds who have a heart to help hurting people. Out of their struggles and victories, they offer hope. The proven cure for life-controlling problems is based on an individual embracing Biblical principles to spiritually improve the quality of his character.
All contact must be with approved individuals only. Approved Individuals include immediate family members (parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, and children) and your Pastor. Contact with old friends, including boyfriends is not allowed. Students may send or receive mail from day one. Our staff monitors all incoming and outgoing mail. After two weeks, a student may receive one fifteen-minute phone call per week during designated times. Students may receive weekly visits after 30 days in the program during designated times. Passes (12hr, 24hr, and 3-day) are given at various times during the year. All phone calls, visits, and passes are subject to program schedule and staff approval.
No, due to the nature and schedule of our program, residents are not able to work, seek employment, or enroll in school through the duration of their program.
Yes, you will be given opportunity to study for and receive your GED during the second half of your year. Your advisor will assist you in taking this important step. There is an additional fee for your GED test.
In most cases, you will be welcome if you seek proper treatment and you can fully participate with all aspects of the program (including work experience) without requiring an excessive amount of medical treatment. You will be responsible for all your medication and other medical expenses. 
Nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug.  Its use is in itself an addictive behavior that can lead back to other addictive behaviors you want to conquer.  Most students find that our tobacco free environment aids greatly in withdrawal from nicotine. Nicotine patches are allowed for the first 30 days in the program, to aid in withdrawal.
TFOTF is NOT a medical detox center. Prayer, rest, fluids, and some over the counter medication is all that we can offer to help you. Most applicants try to avoid use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco while waiting to be accepted. They usually do well once they are in the drug-free environment of Teen Challenge. 
If you believe you will have a serious problem with withdrawal without medical assistance we encourage you to go to a detoxification facility before entering Teen Challenge of the Firelands.
Only non-addictive medications prescribed for an actual medical illness with a low risk for abuse are allowed. Opiate-derived pain medications, anti-anxiety drugs, and any mind- or mood-altering drug with a potential for misuse are strictly prohibited. If such drugs are medically necessary, participants must wait until they complete their treatment on the medication before entering TFOTF. Contact the Intake Coordinator for further details.
As a rule, TFOTF does not accept students with diagnosed mental illnesses. Teen Challenge is not intended to be everything to everyone. The reality is that there are some situations we’re not equipped for, and in those cases, we endeavor to refer people to other local agencies for help.
Our facility is handicap accessible. We are open to making reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities to help them complete the required classroom and physical work. Discuss these limitations with the Intake Coordinator.
The following situations may make you ineligible:
If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest
Not legally in the United States
Have been accused, charged, or convicted of a crime of a sexual nature
A prospective student should make every attempt to come up with his own intake fee. However, if all attempts have failed, or if you cannot raise the full amount, contact the Intake Coordinator. Each situation will be considered on a case to case basis.
Students in the Teen Challenge program receive housing, meals, curriculum and ministry. Work experience is part of the program structure, and income raised allows us to continue offering ministry at such a low price, and even to those who can’t pay anything.
Each student is assigned an advisor upon entering the program. Her advisor or a designated Staff representative will handle all inquiries relating to the student. When inquiries are made and the assigned counselor is not on duty, any message(s) will be forwarded to the student’s advisor, and the Staff on duty will address your concerns. Do to HIPPAA confidentiality laws, information will be released only to those individuals that the student has given TFOTF written permission to communicate with.
No. The $1000 intake fee is a non-refundable fee regardless of the length of time a student remains in the program.
Yes we are the women’s program for the Ohio Valley Teen Challenge network. Our men’s center is located in Youngstown, Ohio. Ohio Valley Teen Challenge / PO Box 807 / Youngstown, OH 44515 / Phone: 330-743-9030