A sizable crowd attended the 9th Annual Business Breakfast held at Teen Challenge of the Four States, 18527 E. Highway 86, Neosho, on Tuesday morning.

A sizable crowd attended the 9th Annual Business Breakfast held at Teen Challenge of the Four States, 18527 E. Highway 86, Neosho, on Tuesday morning.
The breakfast was to honor the local business community, and also provided music and testimonials which were given by Teen Challenge students.
One of the students who provided a testimonial was Nick, 38.
"I have been in the program right now, this is my 10th month," he said. "I came here because I was in a situation where I was facing a lot of jail time, and I needed a different option for rehabilitation besides the regular system - prison and all of that."
Teen Challenge is a faith based, long term, residential substance abuse treatment center for men.
Nick was born in Hartford, Conn. and said he got into a lot of trouble growing up.
"My mother knew that if I stayed around there any longer, it would be the end of my life," he said. "So, she relocated out this way and I kind of followed behind her, not having anymore family back home. Coming out here, I still got in trouble - for a long time I did - but being back home, I would not have had a chance, at least out here, I would have had a chance."
At the age of 8, he started drinking alcohol. It then moved into marijuana and cocaine usage.
"I didn't know about methamphetamine until I moved here," said Nick. "When I moved here, I got into methamphetamine and that is where it went really bad. Meth is terrible. my sister, my family, looked up this program here and they gave me the option to come here. They are Christian and they know that (I) need a relationship with Jesus Christ and that is the huge thing, that what you get out here it is not rehabilitation, we don't come here to talk about our drugs, we come here and build our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a discipleship program and that is what is most important."
Nick said he did serve some time in the county jail and also in prison for three years. But without the Teen Challenge program, Nick said, "right now, I would be in prison for a long time. This program is really a huge thing."
What is next?
"I have a home church set up, I have a good job set up, I have a relationship with my family again, I have not had since I was a child," he said. "I have a church that I am involved with now back in Nixa, Mo. and that is where I am going. I plan on being involved with the youth ministry, anything that I can get my hands on. I plan on coming back here on the weekends, on Saturdays and help out here. I want to stay involved in this community and in this program."
He will graduate the program in late June, but also graduate with something else.
"I get to graduate in June from the high school program at Crowder," he said. "By June, I will get my GED and graduate from here, it is going to be a big month. It is going to be emotional for sure. This is my family here. all of my past is in my past, these guys I really care about and they really care about me. It is going to be a big deal."
Nick encourages others who are into drugs to give Teen Challenge a shot.
"Give it a shot, give it a try, if they are able to come here, regardless if they have prison time or anything, if they need a change in their life, then get involved with Teen Challenge," he said. "It is a discipleship program that builds your relationship with Christ... we all need a better relationship with Jesus Christ."