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Minnesota Teen Challenge Alexandria banquet a success

More than 320 Alexandria area residents gathered together for the annual Minnesota Teen Challenge Alexandria banquet recently. The event was held at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria.

For several years, Minnesota Teen Challenge (MnTC) supporters have hosted this event to raise awareness concerning substance abuse issues in Minnesota while helping to support the work Teen Challenge is doing to combat these very real concerns.

Jean Ferguson, head of the local committee of volunteers who organized the event, said that the student testimonies were the highlight of her night.

"The reason that Tim [her husband] and I are so passionate about MnTC is because we can see and hear what a difference this program can make. This year was probably the most successful so far. We raised even more than last year."

Many present that evening would agree with Ferguson, the best part of the evening was when the students shared their stories. With tears in his eyes, Keegan, a current resident, told of how this program helped him escape his addiction.

"I was desperate and alone, but when my parents helped me find Teen Challenge, everything changed," he shared.

The evening included several resident stories, powerful choir anthems, and a special keynote message from Rich Scherber, president of MnTC. He shared the emotional story of how this remarkable program was started, and how he has seen it work in the lives of thousands of residents over the years.

MnTC events manager, Melissa Varriano, hopes that this event will continue to raise awareness for Minnesota Teen Challenge.

"We want everyone to know about what we do and how we serve our residents, so that when people are in need of help, for themselves or a loved one, they will call us."

MnTC currently houses more than 400 students in eight facilities including Minneapolis, Duluth and Brainerd.

"The work that we do in rehabilitating at-risk adolescents and adults is critical because it extends beyond the life of the individual resident. Each person is a member of society, a citizen, and in many cases a parent and model for the next generation." Scherber said.

Minnesota Teen Challenge serves teens and adults whose addiction problems run the full gamut to those that are so serious they can no longer function in social, family and work settings. For more than 25 years, Minnesota Teen Challenge has been helping addicted individuals find healing and hope.