Mission & History


Our Mission Statement

To provide individuals with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems in order to become productive members of society.
By applying Biblical principles, Teen Challenge endeavors to help people become mentally-sound, emotionally-balanced, socially-adjusted, physically-well, and spiritually-alive.

Teen Challenge History

Teen Challenge began in Brooklyn, New York in 1958 by Rev. David Wilkerson. Wilkerson was a young country preacher, pastoring a church in eastern Pennsylvania. One February afternoon, Wilkerson read an article in LIFE magazine about seven teenagers who were on trial for murder. During a gang fight in Manhattan, these teens beat a young man to death. Troubled by what he read in the article, and sensing God wanted him to do something for the teens, Wilkerson made a trip from his hometown in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania to the urban area of New York City. Not long after this, Rev. Wilkerson resigned his church in Pennsylvania and moved to the New York City area to work full-time with teenage gang members. This new work was eventually called “Teen Challenge.” Soon, Teen Challenge began to also offer help to those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

During these early years, a large home was obtained on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn. A year-long residential discipleship program was started in this facility. This Teen Challenge program is still helping people change their lives today! Due to its success, residential Teen Challenge centers began cropping up in cities all across America.

Most of the centers offer a 12-18 month residential program for men, women, boys, or girls. These centers are designed to help individuals learn how to live drug-free lives. The programs are discipline-oriented and offer a balance of Bible classes, work assignments, and recreation. There are presently over 200 Teen Challenge programs in the United States and hundreds in other countries around the world.

Teen Challenge of Fredericksburg was established in 2002 by Rev. Michael Zello and his wife, Cindy. Together, with their children, they answered the call of God on their lives to move from the Washington, DC area, after 19 years of service to Teen Challenge, to pioneer this much needed work. Teen Challenge of Fredericksburg is a place of hope, healing, and transformation.

Teen Challenge has grown into one of the largest
and most successful programs of its kind in the world.