Champion’s Night is one of the highlights in the Teen Challenge calendar as we honour our graduates for the year who have successfully completed our program to overcome physical, mental and emotional struggles as a result of life-controlling addictions.
This year’s event was held as a special celebration showcasing the 20 th anniversary since the first rehabilitation home
started in Queensland. Nick Burns, a man who started this home with his family attended the event and shared the story of
the miraculous launch of the home in Charters Towers within the Phoenix hotel and his journey during that time.
Mark Lester, one of the first graduates from Teen Challenge QLD’s Charters Towers home facility operated by Nick Burns
shared his personal story of transformation. Mark entered the program reluctantly at the age of 17 with several years of
alcohol and drug abuse. Mark spoke about how Teen Challenge was a major turning point in his life. After graduating the
program, he miraculously received a grant to attend YWAM (by the Sultan of Brunei no less) and he then continued on to
Bible College, Teacher’s College and now teaches at the Sunshine Coast having a fully changed life and purpose.
Two of our graduating students shared their personal testimonies of how they became overcomers with lives filled with
new purpose and direction since being a part of Teen Challenge QLD.
Chris Stuart shared his testimony coming from a disadvantaged home. He stated he never planned on becoming a drug
addict, but found himself in a couple of tough seasons which drastically affected his health and body, which brought him
entering Teen Challenge QLD weighing in at just 52kgs. During his time in the program he was encouraged to believe he
deserved a good life, and he then found hope and purpose. Today, Chris is reconnected to his son rebuilding family
relationships and stepping up as a dad, he has been employed and working in a job he loves and looking forward to his
Georgia McNaughton shared her story of her struggle with severe anorexia which lead her to be hospitalised and near
death upon her arrival entering Teen Challenge’s program. She began her recovery upon arrival in Toowoomba and
spending time in the hospital. Georgia shared one of her first memories was her first meeting with Teen Challenge QLD
staff was a feeling she recalls being overcome with the love and warmth of the workers toward her. She stated:
“While I was in hospital, I received a lot of love from the staff, volunteers and all those connected to Teen
Challenge QLD that I had never experienced before. These people did not know me at all and yet they gave me
so much love and encouragement. This had a huge impact on me.”
Georgia was at a point she had to choose life and her life choice has changed and transformed her entire life. She has
now stayed on with Teen Challenge QLD doing an internship program as she wants to give back and help those who enter
the program who are struggling with the same life-controlling issues helping them overcome the mental battles she has
had to overcome and done it successfully. She is also undergoing studies in youth work for accreditation while at Teen
Another one of our awesome graduates an indigenous man with a huge heart, David Simpson who graduated from our New Hope House program and had a vision to minister to young people in the outback. He has now taken that vision and has moved forward recently successfully organising his first outreach mission trip to Cherbourg, Australia where he will give back and mentor others to help them change their life as he has changed his.
The evening event is also a chance for us to be able to acknowledge and celebrate our treasured and valuable volunteers
to thank them for their continued service for their gift to us of their time, talents and love.
Joanne Hobbs, our Executive Director gave a passionate message of why we do what we do. She quoted the recent
statistics and delivered a message of hope for a solution. Her key message was that ordinary people are able to achieve
extraordinary things. Just as Dave Wilkerson went to New York City as a young country pastor with the call to do
something to help the young people in the depths of addiction, so too can we make a difference to the lives of so many
through our commitment to supporting young people in their journey to becoming well and fulfilling their purpose with a
productive life. Joanne encouraged the new graduates to ‘stay the course’ as the evening ended acknowledging each of
Staff 5 years
Staff 10 years
Volunteers 5 years
Pauline Peake- volunteer at women’s Centre
Dave Peake – responsible for cattle and ongoing vet services
Donna Symonds- ROW- Pauline to send you some further info
John Lawson- ROW- Pauline to send you some further Info
Volunteer 10 years
Pete Westaway- Helping with our personal studies and providing mateship
Simon Eldridge- Massive advocate for TC, starting when he owned the Engine Room café and he would train students in Hospitality ,organizes donations, awesome handy man around the Centre.
Frank Earley- Teaches music to our students
Volunteer 20 years