Teen Challenge of Southern California
Teen Challenge of Southern California was established in 1963 and includes nine regional facilities with seven strategically placed residential facilities throughout Southern California.
Teen Challenge -
Riverside CA "The Castle"
In 2003 Teen Challenge served over 200,000 men, women and children in Southern California through its resident and outreach programs.
Recent evaluations have shown that 86% of the Teen Challenge residential program graduates remain drug free even years after treatment, making Teen Challenge one of the largest and most effective substance abuse treatment and prevention programs of its kind.
Marty Angelo - Teen
Challenge - 1985-1986
Teen Challenge History
Teen Challenge was started 46 years ago by David Wilkerson. It was Feb. 28, 1958 when the 26-year-old Pentecostal preacher from rural Pennsylvania disrupted a highly publicized murder trial in New York City. David Wilkerson had made the eight-hour drive from his quiet mountain village to downtown Manhattan for a simple reason: to speak to the seven accused gang members about their salvation. In a grave attempt to share the love of God, Wilkerson had rushed to the front of the courtroom at the close of trial proceedings and pleaded publicly with the judge for permission to meet the teenage defendants. News media were everywhere, and Wilkerson unwittingly made himself the source of headline news throughout New York City.
The judge had been receiving death threats during the trial, and Wilkerson was almost arrested as a presumed assailant. The judge later refused Wilkerson's request to see the boys and ordered him never to return to his courtroom. Today the one-time rural preacher is known as the founder of a international drug rehabilitation program called Teen Challenge that has one of the highest success rates anywhere in the world.
Since its first center opened in New York in 1960, Teen Challenge has grown to over 170 centers across the nation and 250 centers worldwide. In Puerto Rico the organization is building an AIDS hospital, the first of its kind. Wilkerson also founded a global evangelistic ministry, World Challenge. Yet the Pentecostal preacher remains today what he was 45 years ago-a man dedicated to preaching the gospel in the heart of New York City. He pastors Times Square Church in Manhattan, which he founded in 1987. Wilkerson made more than the news back in 1958; five months after his discouraging day in court, his compassion for teen-age gangs and drug addicts began to make history.
Teen Challenge is the oldest, largest and most successful program of its kind in the world.