My name is Dylan and I’m from Appleton, Wisconsin. At the age of thirteen I first started using marijuana; it was the gateway drug that later led to heavier narcotic use and other destructive behavior. Before long, my life became out of control—I started breaking into cars, stealing from family members, and even faced up to six years in prison.

It wasn’t until I entered Rawhide Boys Ranch, an intensive residential treatment facility for at-risk teen boys, that I relinquished all determination to manipulate my recovery programs. It was here that I turned my life around.After my time at Rawhide, I enrolled at Teen Challenge to grow my relationship with the Lord. At age 19, I successfully graduated the one year program.

Since graduating from Teen Challenge, I have achieved much. I completed two years of school at two different institutions – Nicolet Bible Institute and Crown College. I’ve taught a bible study at the jail, joined a Homeless Ministry and Hmong Fellowship, and completed a Pastoral Internship in Canada.

Before leaving for my collegiate career I began dating Lauryn. We were engaged throughout my time at Bible School and married on August 3, 2013. Lauryn and I celebrated our fourth anniversary this summer. It has been a new chapter in our lives, and our relationship grows with each day.

Currently, I am a Professional Youth Care Worker at Rawhide Boys Ranch, where my job is to minister to the students. I have come to recognize the parallels of being a Pastor and Police Officer, and because of this, obtained my Criminal Justice degree from Fox Valley Technical College and enrolled in online studies to finish my undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Crown College. I recently accepted a job for the Waupaca County Sheriff’s office as a part time Reserve Deputy working patrol.

In October of 2016, Lauryn and I switched to a smaller church with about 50 people in the congregation, it was one of the best moves for us. We both have created stronger relationships with others there than we ever had previously done at a larger church. We have been active in weekly bible study and corporate prayer at church. Our Pastor is a Rawhide Alumnus as well which is really awesome.

 We discovered Lauryn was pregnant in April! On our four year anniversary we found out we were having a baby girl. Our best gift arrived on December 6, 2017 when our baby girl, Madelyn Elizabeth Young, was born. We look forward to 2018 with seeing our daughter grow, our spiritual growth at Refuge, my advancement in Law Enforcement and our love for one another continue to grow.

I chose the career path that I did because my family has not had the best history of following the law, and a great desire of mine is to show my children and relatives that a better future is possible. Not only do I wish to make the community a safe environment, but to leave a future legacy for my family. God used Teen Challenge to get me to where I am today.

Congratulations Dylan on your new job and baby girl!