The History of Adult & Teen Challenge
Originally founded in Brooklyn, New York by Rev. David Wilkerson in 1958, Teen Challenge has helped many young adults struggling with drug addiction and gang affiliation find hope in Christ and transform their lives.
Along the way, we’ve found growth in Christ, as well. Today, we provide over 110 recovery centers across the United States and over 1,400 in 135 countries – making us the largest faith-based rehabilitation network in the world.
Adult & Teen Challenge’s Milwaukee Roots
Sensing a need in the Midwest community, the founders of our Adult & Teen Challenge drug rehab and alcohol recovery programs began meeting in 1983. Led by the Holy Spirit, a faithful group of business leaders and ministers started our first adult residential program in 1989.
Over the next five years, we raised enough funds to purchase an old nursing home facility – which became our Men’s Center of Hope. This residential facility became a significant building block for the growth of our low-cost drug rehab programs.
In 2002, Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge obtained the used car lot next door to our Men’s Center. With this new addition, we began our Vehicle Donation Program, allowing our men the chance to learn marketable job skills. Car donations continue to help us raise operational income on a more consistent basis today.
Great Lakes Women’s Rehab Program
Our Adult & Teen Challenge Women’s substance abuse treatment program began in 1999 with the repurposing of the former New Life for Girls Home located in Waukesha, WI. In 2001, a charitable donation by The Fleck Foundation provided us with a new building to house up to 30 women, giving us more space to grow. This new facility was named the Robby Dawson Home for Women.
God’s plan is clear, and we continue to find ways to add bed space to our growing women’s ministry.
Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge Today
Shortly after celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2003, Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge worked with ministry development experts, BBS & Associates, to help guide our efforts and direct the long-term goals the Holy Spirit has placed on our hearts.
Our staff moved swiftly into action, improving all aspects of our adult residential Christian drug rehab and alcohol recovery programs over the next 10 years. Now nearing our 35th anniversary, we’ve received overwhelming support through financial gifts, donations–and most importantly prayer–which allowed us to open our Super Thrift Store in 2017. With this addition, we can provide work therapy training and skill development to our substance abuse treatment program participants.
Prayers for the Future
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.”
– Jeremiah 29:12
Throughout the years, we’ve been tremendously blessed to be able to work with men and women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. There’s still great work to be done, and many people to reach.
We ask that you please keep Great Lakes Adult & Teen Challenge in your prayers as the Holy Spirit directs our programs and ministries into the future. Your support means the world to us.