Delmarva Teen Challenge Moves Forward with Women's Center - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Teen Challenge Moves Forward with Women's Center

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Home of Hope (Photo: WBOC) Home of Hope (Photo: WBOC)
 SEAFORD, Del. (WBOC)- The heroin epidemic and drug addiction problems continue throughout Delaware and Sussex County. Now, a long-term residential treatment center for women is just around the corner.

For six years, Delmarva Teen Challenge has had a men's center in Seaford. In that time, more than 150 men have graduated.

"Most of our guys were on heroin. If they hadn't been here, they probably would be dead," said Bob Carey, Executive Director of Delmarva Teen Challenge.

Delmarva Teen Challenge's website lists its purpose as "restoring broken lives of men who have been affected by issues like anger, rebellion, depression, drug/alcohol abuse and other life controlling problems. We believe that wholeness comes by having your heart and mind renewed with the truth. We believe in God's ability to change a person's life."

Bradley Clark, 24, of Ocean View has been a student for three months.

"I grew up in a good home. I was a firefighter. I started drinking and smoking pot when I was 18. I started going to the clubs in Baltimore and that's where I got introduced to cocaine and ecstacy, which is MDMA," said Clark. "Then it started to downward spiral and I got hooked on heroin towards the end. One of my best friends died of a heroin overdose the first time he tried it. That's what brought me here."

Clark credits the program with saving his life.

"It's done more than just give me a way out of the streets, um It's changed my whole thinking process," said Clark. "I became a Christian while I was here, and gave my heart over to God, it's just really changing my life."

Until now, there was no long-term faith-based program like it for women on the peninsula.

"The women are dying," said Program Director Saint Clair Sterling. "It was about a year ago I woke up to a crime scene where I believe a woman was struck by a car right over here and I found out later that she had a drug problem. The fact that God is really making this women's center a reality just to help those are hurting, I'm excited, I'm elated."

Sterling himself is a graduate of Teen Challenge Jamaica and has been with Delmarva Teen Challenge for three years.

In Bridgeville, 90 acres that were once home to the Cedar Point Academy will now be the Teen Challenge women's facility, or "home of hope."
Two dormitories will be able to house about 40 women and their young children.

"As the mother addresses her addiction issues, there's child care for the young children," Carey said. "The children sleep with their mother, eat with their mother. We believe it's all about restoration of the family through Christ."

An office and learning building will provide education and care for young children under the age of 6, while their mothers go through faith-based treatment programs.

Diane Pentoney's son is a graduate of Teen Challenge. She now works at the Seaford facility as the administrative bookkeeper. She said the program is much needed in the community.

"We see it. It's right here on the streets. It's the women that are prostituting themselves, being dropped off. Just last week a woman was dropped off and she just sat on the curb, and looked so forlorn," said Pentoney.

All of the construction work is done by volunteers and the project relies heavily on donations. Bob Carey hopes to have the facility up and running in about eight to 10 months.

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