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Spotlight: Adult and Teen Challenge provides step in path of recovery

Adult and Teen Challenge of Central Canada opened a community office in Thunder Bay last year, which will provide help for individuals and families struggling with addiction and avail the support they need to overcome this addiction. 

One day, a young boy from Manitoba, Justin, woke up in a hospital bed after overdosing, nearly losing his life. He knew at that point that he needed a change.

For months preceding this incident, Justin’s parents — Matt and Sharon — were constantly seeking help and support through the Adult and Teen Challenge of Central Canada trying to talk to Justin about seeking self-help, but Justin had always tuned them out.

But this time, it was different. Justin’s parents got a breakthrough with the newly introduced “Ready Now Recovery” program by the Adult and Teen Challenge of Central Canada, a community-based outpatient program that supports people impacted by addiction.

As opposed to the more largely known live-in long-term core program that provides support to individuals struggling with life-controlling addictions, this Ready Now Recovery program also provides outpatient support groups, for those struggling with a life-controlling addiction, and programming for loved ones who walk along alongside them, which makes a whole lot of difference in the path of recovery.

After attending nine weeks of meetings in the “Concerned Person” group, Matt and Sharon were met with excitement and newfound hope just as their son was falling deeper into addiction.

But this time with the wisdom and support received through the program, they were eager to start implementing their newfound coping skills. Matt and Sharon spoke to Justin about all the things that they'd learned and were able to get Justin the timely help that he needed.

Justin’s story is not unique. Numerous people and families in the country struggle with addiction, hence the program was created free of cost for anyone who needs help, said Amy Marasco, Director of Community Office at Adult and Teen Challenge.

“We want these meetings to be open to anyone who needs help,” added Marasco. “Our mission is to provide communities, families and individuals freedom from the impact of life-controlling addictions.”

These meetings use Biblically-based material and scriptures in most of the groups. However, Marasco insisted that people can come from any faith to access these groups.

As a non-Christian struggling with addiction for a lot of her life, she said that this is something she knows first-hand, as she too began her journey with Adult and Teen Challenge when her life was controlled by addiction.

“I was not a Christian, but I struggled for a lot of my life with addiction, and I was ready to do whatever it took to change my life,” she remembered. “I eventually got to the point where I needed to do something drastic to change, otherwise, I was going to die.”

In Thunder Bay, their community office had a grand opening in November at 107 Johnson Avenue to provide help for individuals and families struggling with addiction and avail the support they need to overcome this addiction. 

Marasco has observed that the community office will allow Ready Now Recovery group to have their own space to grow and develop and facilitate a change in society as these offices are the first point of contact during an extreme crisis.

Marasco wants to emphasize that the Adult and Teen Challenge is designed to not just help those requiring long-term support but also help a broad spectrum of people with a wide range of issues of addiction issues.

For Justin, the Ready Now Recovery program has allowed him to make progress and overcome his addictions, one step at a time.

Individuals requiring support via Adult & Teen Challenge, either for themselves or loved ones, can reach out to a local community office in person or over the phone (807-345-2277) or by visiting their website at

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