For the first time in Samoa, there is now an organisation that deals specifically with substance abuse among young people.
Teen Challenge Samoa (T.C.S.) is a non-government organisation which uses a faith-based approach to help teenagers and young adults deal with the problems associated with life controlling substances such as alcohol and drugs, as well as related issues such as depression, violence, sexual problems, peer pressure and others.
“Young people are most vulnerable to these substances, and the effects also affect them more. It is imperative that a body exists, whose work is geared specifically towards this area. That’s where Teen Challenge comes in,” said Reverend Fa’afetai Fata, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Teen Challenge Samoa.
T.C.S. currently operates out of the Apia Harvest Centre Church premises at Togafu’afu’a, by providing counselling and rehabilitation programmes aimed at giving hope to young people that they can get back on track and reclaim their lives.
It has as its patron Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure.
The organisation is marking its official launch on Tuesday this week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) with the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration whereby both parties will work together to counsel and rehabilitate young offenders who are on probation.
Similar M.O.U.s with other relevant government Ministries are also being secured at the moment.
“We are very excited to be part of this and to finally see the realization of a long time vision of the Executive Committee of the Assemblies of God in Samoa through the setting up of Teen Challenge Samoa,” said Rev. Fa’afetai.
“Any programme that builds up or restores the life of young people should be encouraged and supported as our youth are precious and deserve every chance they can get to live a full life, free from addiction of any kind.”
Throughout the week, a series of workshops will be carried out for pastors and those in leadership positions; young offenders who are currently on probation; as well as a youth rally at the Apia Harvest Centre Church, to mark Teen Challenge Samoa’s beginning.
Funded by the U.N.D.P./Global Fund Programme, these workshops will be facilitated by Reverend James Lowans, who is here from the U.S.A with his wife Kathie, and is the current Global Teen Challenge Director for the Asia Pacific Region.
Teen Challenge has more than 1,100 rehabilitation centres in 120 countries around the world. It has trained counsellors who follow a set programme of rehabilitation and recovery.
Its main mission is to “provide youth, adults and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling problems, such as substance abuse, in order to become productive members of society. By applying biblical principles, Teen Challenge endeavours to help people become mentally-sound, emotionally-balanced, socially-adjusted, physically-well, and spiritually-alive.”
As the programme is in its infancy stage here, it will be rolled out first within the Apia area, where it is believed that the problem is more prevalent. But the organization aims to reach the entire nation as it continues to grow.
Its daily operations will be managed by the Executive Director, Eric Poe, who urges anyone who is in need of this service to contact him on telephone number 25051 during working hours, or mobile number 7695683, or email email@example.com.