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United Health Foundation makes donation to Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The successful work of a program that works with teens facing drug addiction has led the United Health Foundation to donate funds for a new facility.

Ted Lopez (left) presents the check to Mike Stewart, along with fellow board member Tom Gorrell
Ted Lopez (left) presents the check to Mike Stewart, along with fellow board member Tom Gorrell

On Tuesday, representatives with the foundation presented the North Appalachian Teen Challenge with $50,000 toward the first structure of its kind related to the program in the area.

“The whole area is just so affected by [drug addiction],” Ted Lopez, a board member with the foundation said. “For the United Health Foundation to be part of this is something we felt was very, very powerful.”

Construction on the 12,000 square ft. facility along Rt. 19 outside of Clarksburg began about a year ago and the director of the organization said they are close to opening the doors.

“We’ll be able to hold 22 kids,” Mike Stewart said. “It will have a chapel, cafeteria, classrooms, offices, recreation and we’re hoping, if all falls into place, maybe this fall, late fall-winter, we can open the doors.”

Leaders of Teen Challenge describe it as a “Christ-centered, faith-

Plans for the new Teen Challenge facility just outside of Clarksburg
Plans for the new Teen Challenge facility just outside of Clarksburg

based” solution for youth, adults and families who struggle with drug addiction.

The program for 12-17 years old are residential and last roughly 12 to 14 months and begin by catching participants up in their academic studies, while introducing Teen Challenge material that’s been developed over the program’s 50 years of existence.

“No matter what their home situation’s like or what they’ve faced in life, there’s hope and there’s a different way,” Stewart said. “By building a relationship with Christ, they can find that way and move forward and be productive in life instead of being in that situation.”

Stewart serves a success story for the program, having enrolled 16 years ago after suffering from the affects of drug and alcohol addiction.

Mike Stewart stands outside of the Teen Challenge facility under construction outside of Clarksburg
Mike Stewart stands outside of the Teen Challenge facility under construction outside of Clarksburg

After graduating the program, the Bridgeport native, remained sober, began a family and joined the ministry as director of the Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge in 2009.

Since Stewart began working in the area, members of the United Health Foundation have heard about it over time.

With the community dealing with the illness of addiction on the level that it has in recent years, the foundation felt that putting money into this organization was a worthwhile endeavor.

“This problem of addiction in the state of West Virginia, especially Harrison County is just out of control and we need help,” Lopez said. “Teen Challenge is just a powerful organization.”

More information on North Appalachian Teen Challenge can be found at wvteenchallenge.com or by calling 304-933-3209.





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