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We Have a New Name!

Cincinnati Teen Challenge is now Cincinnati Challenge Ranch! In the letter below, our Executive Director, George Martin explains:

 

To: Friends and Family of Teen Challenge Cincinnati
Fr: George Martin
Re: ministry rebranding

You may have already been made aware or are surprised to see by now that we have rebranded. The idea of rebranding TCC has been kicked around for the past six years.  Primarily, if not exclusively, for the need to resolve the confusion between the word “teen” and operationally being an adult center ages 18 and up. Those ‘legacy’ supporters, such as myself, both identify with and endear the David Wilkerson Teen Challenge name!  No confusion to us – we grew up reading The Cross and the Switchblade!

But the seasons and times change and along with it the need to remain relevant to the population we are called to reach.  So, on one hand – 50 years positive, name brand association with David Wilkerson and an established national association (recently rebranded to “Adult and Teen Challenge”).  Contrary to this, is the near constant confusion and sometimes viewed as, deceptive implication we are serving youth.  This happens regularly, in the court system, in fundraising and most importantly the refusal of a potential intake saying they are not going to a place called “Teen…”!

At the Fall 2021 board meeting, I recommitted that I would establish a
committee and refocus on the rebranding issue. We also put together a
survey to help guide our creative and decision making process. At the
following February 28, 2022 board meeting, we presented a new branding
solution addressing the following:

    • Remove brand-actual operations confusion.
    • Maintain continuity with roots of where we came from and who we are.
    • Remain an accredited affiliation with Adult and Teen Challenge USA.
    • Leverage established “Cincinnati” home base.
    • Umbrella name so as to combine Men’s & Women’s ministry.
    • Create Fresh Look enhancing operational identity.
    • Provide an opportunity to reconnect and have a farther reach than our existing donor base and potential intake resources and candidates.

I hope it is clear.  We are not launching a new ministry, but simply a new look.  Same walk with a new set of clothes.  Ever true to our roots.  

In His service,

George Martin
Executive Director
Cincinnati Challenge Ranch

Stephanie Wood’s Story

Stephanie Wood delivered this story at Women of Excellence Brunch – November 2021

My name is Stephanie. I graduated from Teen Challenge in April of 2017, and I’d like to share my journey with you all in order to show the way God has used Teen Challenge to save my life.

I was raised in church, but came from a broken home abandoned by my father. I felt unloved, unwanted and unlikable. I wasn’t sure of much except that I wasn’t enough. 

I had a very painful health condition and was prescribed copious amounts of narcotic pain medicine starting at age 14. When I took them, I didn’t feel any of my insecurities. I felt confident enough to speak to people and believe they wanted to talk to me too. I didn’t feel bothered that I’d been letting men use me so I could feel accepted. I could be the person I really wanted to be.

The cycle continued into my 2s as abusive relationships and more experiences of rejection reinforced my belief that I needed drugs to function and be happy. The hold it had on me was so strong that not even becoming a mother to a beautiful son could break it. In fact, Children’s Services became involved, and I lost custody of my child; the court had deemed me unfit to be a mother. My own mother had to put a restraining order on me because of how violent I’d become when confronted about my addiction. I was homeless and had nothing left. After several failed attempts at recovery through traditional rehabs and 12 step programs, I’d finally become so weary of crying myself to sleep every night unable to bear the pain of being away from my child that I was ready to die. I was too ashamed to turn to God, as I knew I was such a disappointment and burden to him. I cried out to God only to ask him to take my life as I knew that would be best for my son. 

God heard me, and He absolutely took my life, but not in the way I’d asked. 

Psalm 18:16-19 reads, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

The Pink House was that spacious place for me. When I first arrived, I felt like I was in jail with warmer toilet seats and better food. Of course, I believed Marty was the warden. As time went on,I realized that being ‘stuck’ at Teen Challenge was God’s way of helping me find freedom that could not be confined by bars. I could slow down and not have to worry about when I’d eat again or if I’d have somewhere to sleep. I wasn’t searching for my next fix. I could let the amazing women there love me and lead me with GREAT patience. Most importantly, I could hear God’s voice. I could see evidence of his working in everything. God used my time at the Pink House to expose the lies of self-hatred and condemnation and replace them with truth. I learned that he was not ashamed of nor disappointed in me, but that he was there through all of my mess the whole time. He never turned away from me – he was always there shining upon me, pursuing me, loving me – I’m the one who had turned from him out of shame, the same shame Jesus despised as he moved toward the cross. And because he did, I no longer have to be ashamed. I got to know God and what a good, kind, gracious and loving Father he is to us. He WANTS to be with us and to bless us. I also learned that Marty didn’t expect so much from us because she didn’t think we as students were enough – it was because she KNEW that we were. 

I can’t say that life got easier after leaving Teen Challenge; In fact, it got much more difficult. However, because of the foundational relationship I was able to build with Jesus while at the Pink House, I’ve been able to overcome abuse, rejection and abandonment without turning to illicit drugs or to men. I have been far from perfect, but now I run TO God when I’m in trouble, rather than from him. I’ve learned that in the deepest of sorrows, when everything is shaken up, we realize our faith is genuine and we really believe in the One we say we believe in – the Lord shows us  that He is unshakable within us. I have partnered with God in walking as the mother he called me to be. He has helped me earn my bachelors degree in Criminal Justice with a 4.0 and without any financial debt. I had been employed by the same court that told me I was unfit to mother my child for 4 years. I now work as a child welfare caseworker for Montgomery County Children’s Services alongside the caseworker who held me accountable when I was at my worst. I have full custody of my son and we live in our own home. We belong to a beautiful community of believers who show us continually what it means to love like Jesus. I praise God for how majestically he has orchestrated our story and I’m still in awe of his goodness and power to save. 

Jimmy Alexander’s Story

Hi, my name is Jimmy Alexander.

I graduated from the Ranch June of 2014. Before coming to the Ranch, at the age of 21, I was in an extremely dark place in my life. I was numb, callous, tormented and suicidal. I knew for some time I needed help but was bound in my own cocoon of addiction. Thankfully my parents gave me the option of the street or the Ranch.
The path that led me down this terrible path was believing and living out the lies of
my culture and desires. Even as a believing Christian, I felt like I could find fulfillment as a pleasure seeker.  

When I showed up to the Ranch, I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t work, there is no hope for me.”
After about the first week, one evening, I went into the prayer room and that is where God truly
moved upon me. Encompassing God’s love and forgiveness recentered my life.  

After that, life finally made sense to me and I was able to apply the studies and counseling to my benefit. My most difficult impediment to personal growth was my own self forgiveness.  

Some of my fondest memories include the relational aspect of Christian brotherhood
and a much needed disciplined schedule and work ethic I sorely needed in my life.

I am abundantly blessed to be married these past four years with one child and
one on the way. I have been making a living as a carpenter and have founded
Lazarus Life Ministries, an adult residential recovery house located in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Shane Lambert’s Story

My name is Shane Lambert and I came to Teen Challenge Cincinnati from Sidney, Ohio. When I arrived, I was self-serving and had issues of self-control.

My inwardly fixated life led me to a reckless lifestyle of drug use, lack of discipline
and self-awareness. The Men’s Ranch gave me the chance to evaluate my life
and gain new perspective of my identity. Moreover, it changed my life’s trajectory.

Funny how life’s events can make or break a person. I was working in the shop by
myself on a weed trimmer and noticed a bird trapped in the eaves.

I climbed up there to get the bird out to safety, later realizing what I had done was not just reckless but dangerous. “That’s when I had the revelation that moved my internal
compass – God’s love is reckless.”

Learning and practicing self-control was much more than staying clean. It is in
every way being obedient to God and His will for my life. I traded a lack of discipline for the discipline of prayer, Bible study and serving others. Consistently applying self-control and other great tools I learned at Teen Challenge Cincinnati was necessary for the success of my future. 

For me it involved going back to work right away, saving and climbing out of debt while continuing to look for ways to serve others.

I’m back in Sidney, working and in the process of getting my real estate license. My beautiful bride, Audrey, works as an educator at St. Mary’s High School. I will always be connected to the community at the Men’s Ranch and the staff and mentors that helped change my life. I will endeavor to carry it forward.

James Brooks Story

I was the fourth child out of six and was born and raised in Covington, KY, just across the river from Cincinnati. My dad was hurt in the military and we had to survive on a fixed income, so if I wanted something, I had to find a way on my own to get it. From an early age I started selling drugs and worked as much as I could. 

I always thought if I could just get enough money or stuff, people would like me, and I would be loved. All this did was leave me empty inside and always looking for what would fix me.

With enough hard work and knowledge, I was able to start my own company, so to the world I was successful – but I was still missing something. I swapped addictions until God was the only thing I hadn’t tried. 

My whole life I loved a challenge, so when my pastor pointed this place out, I agreed. 

Then we called Jeremy Long and he told me that Cincinnati Teen Challenge Men’s Ranch makes warriors for Christ and that it was not a rehab, I was in! When I got to the Men’s Ranch it was a culture shock. The love that was shown to me and the way they lived life was unlike anything I had ever seen. They loved me in spite of my wrong doings and of what I could do. This is what really challenged me to change. The times I thought I should get punished, we prayed. I realize now that the true heart of a warrior is made from the inside out. 

Life changing. On top of that I completed my GED there proving I can now do hard things in Christ. 
Lord, help me to show this kind of love to everyone I come in contact with!