My name is Jessica Emfinger. It seems like only yesterday that I was a student at The Pink House. In 2010, I traveled to Ohio from Tennessee. I was pregnant with my daughter, Anna. 

The biggest challenge I had before entering the program was I was childish and I didn’t care where I was going in life. I had no sense of responsibility. I am an outgoing person naturally, but I had taken my life to a dangerous extreme. I was making bad choices, experimenting with drugs, and getting into trouble.As far as I could tell, I didn’t have anything positive going for me. I was on the verge of emotionally killing my mother. 

Teen Challenge was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I learned valuable life tools. I met amazing people that helped me to become the person that I am today. I learned who God is and because of that, I learned how to love myself. I was greatly impacted by the teachers that I made relationships with while I was in the program. They showed me self-control and patience. They taught me that my relationship with Jesus comes first. I still practice this truth, daily. 

What impacted my life the most was the discipline. There was an abundance of “Tough love.” The drive of the determined staff helped me to improve and to get on the right path. I learned new ways to handle difficult situations. I learned how to listen. I learned that having someone there to help you to make the right decisions is a valuable asset. Failure stopped being an option. The overpowering love I received made me love these ladies back and keep them close to my heart, forever. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, nor would I change my past because I am not defined by it. I don’t have to be ashamed anymore. My relationship with my family is strong. They are proud of me and proud of everything that I am doing. Anna (my daughter) is eight years old and she is a beautiful, smart, and well-behaved little girl. We go to church every Wednesday and Sunday. 

My life is different than before. I love life and I am truly happy. I am doing really well. I have a good car that is paid for and my credit is getting better (taking time but getting better). I got my record completely expunged for free (thanks to God and some help from the judge). I got a job as a front desk agent at a hotel and made it all the way to the General Manager. I have been able to travel some over the past six months: a life long dream of mine. I am interested in looking for work doing something like the women do at Teen Challenge, because I want to help others, and with love and patience I believe I can help change someone’s life too.